Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Virgin/Rex price war: $39 fares, what’s next?


The two major airlines are gearing up for battle on the Sydney to Melbourne route.

  • Travel dates run from now until 15 December 2021.
  • Seats at these prices won't last long. Take-off to Virgin Australia now to snag your fares.

A price war between Australia's heavy-hitters in the airline industry is driving down fares to new lows.

Today, Rex Airlines announced a $39 fare between Sydney and Melbourne.

That's a record low for full-service fares between the two major cities, which represent Australia's busiest airline route.

"Stakeholders in Melbourne and Sydney have provided extraordinary support to Rex when we launched our services and we hope that our initiative will be able to return the favour," Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said.

Not to be left behind, Virgin Australia announced it too would offer tickets from $39 one-way on the route.

"Virgin Australia is committed to providing travellers with some of the most competitive airfares in the market and our record low $39 flights between Sydney and Melbourne is just one example of how irresistible it is to fly with Virgin Australia," a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

Rex is offering these low fares between today and 28 August 2021 while Virgin is offering tickets at this price between today and 15 December 2021.

Pinch yourself, you're not dreaming. Head to Virgin Australia right now to book.

How good are these fares?

The competition between these two is fierce and represents some of the lowest fares ever seen on the route.

Whichever airline you choose to fly with, they both offer more value for money than Jetstar. Jetstar typically flies Sydney to Melbourne from $30 one way (as compared on KAYAK) but without checked baggage and other inclusions.

Rex fares include 23kg of checked baggage and refreshments. Virgin fares include 23kg of baggage, seat selection and frequent flyer points (as do the typically pricier seats on Qantas).

Virgin boasts in-flight entertainment, though that might not appeal to everyone on this short hour and 25-minute flight.

"Travellers with long memories might recall Tiger occasionally offering $9 or $19 fares on Sydney-Melbourne routes a few years back," said Finder's frequent flyer expert Angus Kidman. "But in 2021, $39 for a full-service fare is a very solid deal."

Government subsidies designed to boost regional travel mean Australians are becoming very accustomed to cheap fares, Kidman said. "Sydney-Melbourne isn't historically discounted as often as tourist-oriented routes, but patterns are changing. I'm looking forward to seeing if someone blinks and offers a $29 fare."

Key points about these fares

  • Flexibility: Great. Virgin Australia's Passenger Promise offers you free, unlimited date changes for travel up until 31 January 2022.
  • Airline: Good. While still offering checked luggage and entertainment in economy, be prepared to pay if you want to grab a bite to eat.
  • Frequent flyer points: Good. Earn 5 points for every $1 spent as a Velocity member. Earn from 195 points on the cheapest one-way leg of this Virgin sale.
  • Travel time: Great. Forget stress with direct flights.
  • Weather: Great. September to November is the best time to visit Sydney. Get to Sydney between the busiest and quietest periods of the year, and you'll find comfortable temperatures, manageable crowds and lower prices on accommodation and activities.

Never miss a flight deal! Check out our full list of all the latest flight sales.

Get more from Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and 6. Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site