If you're booking flights for the future but worried border closures might affect your travel, Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar all have flexibility policies. Their various offers include things such as letting you change your travel dates or receiving a fare credit to be used at a later time. You can find a full list of airlines offering flexible flights here.
Which airlines allow free checked bags?
Qantas, Rex Airlines and Virgin Australia all allow up to 23kg of checked luggage per person with their standard economy class fare.
Which airline has the cheapest baggage fees?
Squeezing just a little too much into your bag at the last minute before you head to the airport? Don't.
Airlines have strict baggage weight limits and weigh every piece of checked luggage that boards the plane.
If you're flying domestically in Australia, you can expect to find the following excess baggage fees.
Excess baggage fees by domestic airline:
$45 for each piece over your allowance
$50 heavy charge for each piece over your allowance
$100 for each extra piece
$5.50 per kg over your allowance
$15 per kg over your allowance
Rex Airlines gives you the most wiggle room, penalising the least for excess weight.
If you want to avoid all the fuss and risk of extra charges at the airport, you can add additional baggage when you're booking or before you head to the airport.
Additional baggage price by domestic airline:
$45 per 23kg
$50 per 23kg
$10 per 5kg
$21* per 15kg
$23* per 20kg
*Prices vary by route.
How do I get a flight upgrade?
It's the dream to buy economy and get bumped up to first class absolutely free, but how do you make that dream a reality?
While there's no hard and fast rule on how to score this holy grail, there are a few ways you can increase your chances of nabbing that premium economy, business or first class upgrade.
1. Join the frequent flyer program: Many luxury airlines like Qantas let you trade in your hard earned frequent flyer points for upgrades. This option might not be free, but this way you are guaranteed to get that upgrade on your flight. Also, it doesn't hurt to be part of the frequent flyer program to show that you have loyalty to the airline itself.
2. Bid in a flight upgrade auction: Again, this option might not be a freebie, but it does increase your chances of getting an upgrade for cheap. Many major airlines including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and Etihad let you "bid" for a seat in a more premium class. You nominate how much you're willing to pay and if you're the highest bidder before a designated period, you could win that premium seat. You might also like to look into bidding upgrade sites like Optiontown, which let you bid on certain benefits such as extra baggage allowance, lounge access and flatbeds on airlines including AirAsia X, SAS and Vietnam Airlines.
3. Download upgrade apps: Get notified as soon as possible so you can nab the limited number of discounted upgrades available. Due to launch later this year, Seatfrog is designed to notify those who have registered their flight with the app when the airline is offering discounted upgrades prior to departure. Those looking to step up a class can name their price through the app.
4. Don't go for the special meal: It might seem like an odd tip, but if you can deal with the options on the onboard menu, opt out of having a special meal. These meals are linked to your seat number, so airlines generally don't upgrade anyone who has nominated one.
5. Fly during quieter periods: During peak times you'll find that business flyers will fill up the business and first class seats leaving nothing for eager upgraders. Fly during quieter periods and you've automatically increased your chances of snatching up one of the spare seats on board.
6. Timing is everything: Be early or be late, they both have their benefits. If you're early then you could be the first one to be offered an upgraded seat. If you're late and you haven't been assigned a seat yet, then there's a chance that the flight has been overbooked for your class and you could be bumped up. Of course, being late has its negatives too, including missing your flight, having the upgrades take by those who arrived early or being bumped to the next flight because your flight is full. That's the risk you have to take.
7. Make an impression. There's a lot of advice going out about complaining about something, playing to the emotional side of the person at the counter or just generally being nice and complimenting them. We're leaving it on this list because some say it has worked for them. Feel free to try one or the other, however there's no guarantee it'll work.
8. Bump yourself off the plane: If the plane has been overbooked and you can sacrifice the waiting time, nominate yourself to be bumped off the plane on the provision that you be upgraded on the next flight. If the airline can accommodate for this request, they might very well honour it.
9. Dress to impress: Some people swear by this one and it can't hurt to look like you belong in first class when at the airline counter.
10. Don't let a delay get the better of you: Every time I've been upgraded, a flight delay has played a part. I haven't complained about the delay, I've either just been automatically given an upgraded ticket at the counter, or been called to the counter at the gate to exchange my ticket for one with a better seat. Make of that what you will.
11. Use your status: People with titles like Dr or Judge can sometimes be upgraded purely because of their status in society. The same goes for those with diplomatic passports.
When will international flights resume?
We don't have a set date for when international flights will resume. The possibility remains that more travel bubbles like the trans-Tasman bubble with New Zealand could spring up in the meantime.
During the Federal budget, the government revised its anticipated timeline for reopening international borders to mid-2022.
In response, Virgin Australia announced it would defer short-haul international flights to Fiji and Indonesia until at least December 2021.
Qantas announced it would be contacting people booked on international flights between 31 October and 19 December to discuss options.
Before you book your next flight, read our latest guides
Jetstar sale: Australia-wide flights from $32 each way
Available on flights from April - September 2021 to Launceston, Gold Coast, Hobart, Adelaide, Whitsundays, Townsville, Hamilton Island, Darwin, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Adelaide. T&Cs apply.
Available on flights from April - September 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Launceston, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Broome, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on flights from 13 July 2021 - 31 March 2022 to Melbourne, Launceston, Gold Coast, Canberra, Darwin, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Newcastle, Hobart, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Ballina-Sydney. T&Cs apply.
Available on select travel dates until December 2022. Must be booked 7 days prior to departure. Destinations include Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Broome, Darwin and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select travel dates 30 September 2021 with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Rex and Fly Pelican. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Brome, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Launceston, Perth, Darwin and more. T&Cs apply.
Alex Keshen is Finder's global travel publisher. Working in the travel content and deals space for more than 10 years, she has appeared in Travel Weekly and the Huffington Post. After graduating from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada with a Bachelor of Journalism and settling into a career in travel publishing, Alex has become a master of maximising her annual leave and finding the best bargains around.
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