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Travel & Flights Update: Caps & Limited Flight Availability

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Every week we're going to check in with Travel Josh Engstrom, Travel Expert from Liberty Travel to get an update on flights between the United States and Australia. This is the update for the week of the 22nd of July, 2020.

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

Please note that all flights coming into Australia, have reciprocal flights leaving, so while the schedules will be different of course if you see an airline coming in – they will also be leaving to go back to point of origin.

As many countries enter phase one and two of lifting lockdowns and re-opening borders, it’s sometimes tough to work out whether you can fly into or transit different countries. Let me give you a great trusted link to get any info on entering countries:

This is IATA – the world body for all things air travel – a trusted source and they are updating regularly.

Waitlisting of flights required for departures within the next week or two

Due to the current limit of 4000 passengers a week entering Australia, availability is now super tight. Travel agents can priority waitlist seats on planes, even when there are no seats to purchase.

If you are a frequent flyer – this can help to clear you off the waitlist to a confirmed seat. Please let me know if you need urgent travel and can’t find any availability, I can help!

Caps on arrivals in Australia

Here's a quick summary of international passenger caps as they stand for arrivals into Australia.

National Cabinet will review arrangements before the end of July.

National Cabinet: Caps on International passenger flows into Australia

Hotel Quarantine

NSW/QLD/SA/WA and VIC charging travelers now for their quarantine

*NB The process for checking your purchase date for tickets is done at the hotel, please contact me for assistance on how to best plan for this.

Airlines Status

The below information is all subject to caps on arrivals into Australia.

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' departures. 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 from the 8th of September, this is a good sign that travel volume is expected to rise.

Daily service from San Francisco to Sydney through July/August – still have not had any problems with these flights. United have just posted their upcoming routes for August, great news, Sydney flights are still going to be running daily from SFO.

Delta (DL)

DELTA Air Lines has resumed its Australian operations, WED/FRI & SUN. There are flights from NYC to connect in LAX. The addition is part of a staged global resumption of operations adding 1,000 flights system-wide subject to demand and evolving COVID-19 restrictions. Pricing is good, and looks like there’s plenty of availability – please reach out to me if you’ve flown them in the last week and what your feedback is on their service!

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.


QF were expected to start their LAX-SYD route in August, this has now been canceled, and checking their schedule, I can’t see any flights until at least November – this is a very sad departure, with new updates to come as they are released.

Qantas has updated their refund policy – so that it is easier to understand and hopefully easier for those whose flights were canceled to get a refund.

Qantas (and Virgin Australia) this week, as expected, suspended all remaining international flights that were in operation in cooperation with the Australian Government (

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.

Air New Zealand (NZ)

Still operating services from NYC – SYD//BNE/ADL (via AKL) 2-3 times weekly

Singapore Airlines (SQ)

Changi Airport is going to open its airport soon to non-Singapore Nationals, this could also be a great option moving forward for non-Sydney residents who don’t want to do the Sydney quarantine Flights start from 17th July (i.e.ADL/PER/BNE residents) again

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

With Emirates you can now fly direct into PER/SYD/BNE via Dubai, great result here!!!

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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