Shocking cost of international flights


Thousands of passengers are still flying into Australia, despite our nation's border being closed. But for those Aussies itching to leave - or planning to book a holiday when overseas travel eventually resumes - the price is high.

While intrastate travel restrictions are starting to lift, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said yesterday overseas travel is off the table until next year.

Senator Birmingham told the Today show this morning international travel was "challenging" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"They are challenging times as everybody knows," he said, adding our international border restrictions were "the most important decision we took to keep Australia safe from COVID-19".

"And we are just going to have to live with those international border restrictions. Because that is a key to keeping us safe as we look at new outbreaks occurring in Beijing, and other problem patches around the world."

RELATED: Border likely to stay closed until 2021


Due to a dramatic reduction in flights, a limited number of airlines operating and airline bankruptcies - which could reduce both supply and competition - the cost of booking flights for an overseas trip is staggering.

Minimum costs for a return trip from Sydney to New York in July start at $2814 on Etihad Airways, $2837 with Qatar Airways, or - your only other option - $3552 if you fly with Cathay Pacific Airways.

The same trip, but taken in September with Qantas, could cost you $8055, with the airline announcing today they were cancelling international flights until late October.

Looking to fly to America's West Coast? Prices from Sydney to Los Angeles range from a more reasonable $1504 with United Airlines, to $3135 with Qatar Airways.

A return trip from Sydney to London next month would set you back as much as $5984 with Etihad Airways, or $2814 with United Airlines and $2620 with Qatar Airways.

And a visit to Tokyo will cost you a minimum of $4034 return with Qatar Airways - or an eye-watering $11,952 with United Airlines.

RELATED: Qantas axes international flights


The ban on international travel, administered by the Department of Home Affairs at the height of Australia's coronavirus crisis, remains in place.

At the moment, you're not allowed to leave the country unless you seek an exemption from Home Affairs - which you will only be given if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Your travel is part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid

• Your travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)

• You are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia

• You are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business

• You are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds

• Your travel is in the national interest.

RELATED: Queenslanders 'don't want borders opened'

For returned overseas travellers in Queensland, Victoria and NSW, their 14-day quarantine must be completed in a hotel. Picture: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
For returned overseas travellers in Queensland, Victoria and NSW, their 14-day quarantine must be completed in a hotel. Picture: AAP Image/Scott Barbour


Even if you get an exemption, you'll still have to comply with entry restrictions when you return to Australia, including 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

Each state and territory have different rules in place about how and where returned travellers are expected to quarantine.

States where it's mandatory for overseas travellers to complete their quarantine in a hotel are also making changes, with the Queensland Government announcing travellers will be charged for the 14-day stay from July 1.

Adults will be charged $2800, which includes $910 for food; couples will be charged $3710; and a family of four will pay $4620.

Other states including NSW and Victoria have said they will continue paying for hotel quarantine for their returned residents, but National Cabinet is considering whether overseas travellers should be charged.

Originally published as Shocking cost of international flights