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Perth, Brisbane, and Cairns! (Travel Josh’s Travel Advice)

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This week we speak to Travel Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel about flights into Perth, Brisbane, and Cairns, looking ahead into February 2021, and changes to Airline plans for the future.

Information is changing regularly so be sure to check back each week for updates.

Availability over the next period (31st Jan – 14th Feb)

As we move into Feb we see more and more options to get home. Giving people some more options is always a good thing. Prices are going to seem very reasonable after the heartache of the last two months, get in and snap them up if you are planning to go home that time NOW!

Why is it so hard to get to Perth?

Finally starting to see some flights into PER for NOV/DEC with Singapore Airlines. Great connections from NYC and LAX. Only Premium/Biz available – please reach out for help to book these.

We hope that pressure to continue to increase caps, letting anyone of us who wants to come home to be able to without all of the extra stress.

Why is it so hard to get into Brisbane/Cairns?

We are seeing options with Air NZ into BNE, this is great news that I would expect to continue to grow as an option for people. Flights are currently scattered through DEC, then more in JAN/FEB.

When can I fly into Melbourne again?

This is the Million Dollar Question.

I hope that they are taking flights again in December, let’s hope the viral count stays as low as possible to make this a reality.

Three-month outlook and holiday travel

Availability and Flights home at Xmas time is already incredibly tight. Decreased options, limited availability on those options, and general overall worldwide disruptions will make it very difficult to get home if you leave it too late.

Six-month flight outlook and travel

Let’s hope in the new year, we are better at living with the virus, are better at keeping virus caseloads down, and that the govt. takes strong action to allow its citizens to come home.

If you have the means to stay put into the new year, I expect with caps increasing or being cut altogether, we will be able to once again head home for whatever reason we like without severe financial and mental stress.

Where can you travel right now?

I get this question a lot and here are some options tailored to the US resident done by my work Liberty Travel – handy quick link to get started:

Australian flight and travel cap updates

Here’s an update about the increases to the caps being rolled out:

  • Care flights from the UK and India into Darwin have started now, this will take some of the pressure off the caps coming from the US into Australia – great news.
  • They have also increased the caps (only a small increase of 300 or so) so we hope that this increase continues.
  • Current increases have taken place in Sydney already, who’s cap has increased by 500 per week. We have then seen Delta increase it’s flights LAX – SYD to 6 days a week. Great news.
  • Brisbane has increased its cap by 500 per week, am starting to see Air NZ flying into Brisbane again (11 hr transit in AKL though so watch out), this is promising..
  • Perth caps have increased by 500 a week! I can finally see some options for flights into Perth in FEB/MAR – this is significant as I haven’t seen flights into PER for months now!

Pro Travel Tip

See flights with airlines that you haven’t heard recently as being our go-to airlines for getting us where we need to be? Unsure of whether to book them or not?

I advise anybody toying with the idea to book an airline that is outside of our go-to Airlines, to go to the arrival city airport webpage, click on their daily arrivals – and see if that airline is consistently and regularly flying into that airport.

If it is – this could be an option for you, if not – ditch this airline as an option.

Latest from individual airlines

Air New Zealand (NZ)

Starting to connect from the US again in December! Great news for adding their route back as a possible option for us all. Just connecting two days a week for now, but let’s hope this increases. I can see flights to Brisbane and Sydney for DEC/JAN/FEB – and I would suspect very soon MEL too! This would be a great development!

Air Canada (AC)

Not recommended to book ATM.

American Airlines (AA)

American Airlines Flights LAX – SYD to commence in November!

This is just the best news to find yesterday. More flights means it will be a tad easier to get home now!

Starting the 10th Nov – flights will depart Tues/Wed/Fri/Sun – BIZ/PREME/ECON available – email me to inquire/book.

United (UA)

Still the most reliable route to Australia for New York-based expats – Still only from SFO – SYD – Availability is very tight for the coming weeks departure. If you urgently need to get home, this is your safest bet. If you can’t find seats let me know as I can waitlist seats as above.

United is expanding to also offer LAX – SYD flights, flights will operate Tuesdays and some Thursdays in Sept. It’s almost too late to book any reasonably priced economy seats for September – but as we move into October, it looks like United is ramping up its LAX – SYD route, offering daily flights and decent priced economy flights after the 9th of October.

Delta (DL)

Flying 6 days a week (LAX-SYD) starting 1st November – MON/TUE/WED/FRI/SAT/SUN

Singapore Airlines (SQ) & Cathay Pacific (CX)

Starting to see flights with these two airlines into Perth, this is a great outcome for PER people!

Virgin Australia (VA)

Now that it looks clearer that this airline will remain in the longer term, a media release from the two new stakeholders state that Virgin Australia will honor the more the $100 million worth of tickets canceled due to COVID and the company going into bankruptcy, this is great news for Aussies in the US who had their original VA flights canceled. Unsure whether they will be able to get refunds still, but at least when they do start flying again, you will be able to use your existing credit.


Qantas and Virgin Australia have re-grounded their remaining international passenger operations after government funding for the handful of overseas routes they were flying came to an end.

Emirates (EK), Etihad (EY) and Qatar (QR)

Please note that all passengers transiting UAE will need to provide negative COVID tests – please check out info on the specific airline for more info.

With no official statement – these airlines anecdotally are bumping economy class passengers from their flights – this is a worrying development, as this really does put people in jeopardy if they can’t afford a biz class ticket. Please contact me before you book any of these airlines and we can look at these options together.

With Emirates, you can now fly direct into PER/SYD/BNE via Dubai.

NYC – BNE – Thursdays only

NYC – PER – Wednesday’s only; DXB – MEL – Tuesday’s, Thursday’s & Friday’s; DXB – SYD – Monday’s, Wednesday's & Saturday’s

ETIHAD – daily connections from NYC – SYD


Questions & Bookings

Do you have any questions? Do you need travel advice? Contact Josh by his email, [email protected]

Josh Engstrom Liberty Travel

Joshua Engstrom

Joshua Engstrom

I now work on Madison Avenue, in the Air Experts team for Flight Centre. We consolidate, group rate and manage the heck out of any and every kind of flight you could possibly think of. We solve problems and send off happy and sad people. We humanize what has become a very transactional process. To get in touch with Josh and ask a question, feel free to contact him via his email [email protected]View Author posts

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