Qantas Airpass

Feb 7th, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3
Qantas Airpass

Hello all,

I'm going to Australia in April and was thinking of getting the Qantas Airpass. It'll be $1499 since it'll be the shoulder season and I'm planning to travel to Zone 2. Has anyone had any experience with this travel package? It seems like a great deal and wanted to know if I'm missing something in the fine print.

My itinerary is:

Leave LAX to Sydney.
5 days in Sydney/Blue Mts
4 days in Cairns
2 days at Uluru, Olgas
3 days in Melbourne
Return to Sydney and fly back to US. (Does the Airpass allow me to leave from Melbourne directly even though I flew into Sydney?)

Thanks for your help,
Sam
SamW is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hi, Sam!

As an Aussie, I am ineligible for the Qantas pass, so I am only repeating here what I have read in the past from other posters who've used it. It would seem that it has convenience going for it, but not much else. With Australian internal airfares at an all time low, it is not impossible to pick up flights from Sydney to Melbourne for $AUD39, and from Sydney to Cairns for $AUD69, so you can see you are paying quite a premium for your airpass (and I guess your quoted price is in US dollars, is that right?). However, it must be said that to get those cheap flights you have to be prepared to travel on virginblue or jetstar's designated flights, and there are some days of the week (and times of the year)that are rarely included in these "special deals". You might have to be a bit flexible, which isn't always the case for tourists.

However, apparently the Airpass isn't quite as straightforward as, say, the Greyhound Ameripass, where you just turn up, flash your pass, and on you go: there are still various exclusions and restrictions which I can't remember off-hand, but which will be in the fine print.

I can't answer your last question about leaving directly from Melbourne (I assume you're flying by Qantas on the international leg as well), but I would imagine that this wouldn't be part of the airpass at all, but would be written into the original international flight ticket. I can't imagine there's be a problem about that, however, as it would seem to be a reasonable request which Qantas would hear every day. I bet they've got the surcharge for this particular service all worked out.
Alan is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 02:07 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello SamW,

I've never used the Qantas AirPass, but have just looked at the AirPass website. Upon closer inspection, it doesn't look like as good a deal as first meets the eye.

Disadvantages that spring immediately to mind:

(1) All segments of the journey have to be booked at once. If you go for this Airpass -- which I think is a bit dubious -- PLEASE ensure that your itinerary is sound before you make that reservation.

(2) The ticket is non-refundable.

(3) You can fly only on SELECT Qantas flights. There are some built-in restrictions. For example, if I read the website correctly, you can only return from Melbourne on a Saturday. What's up with that?

(4) If you live in or near Los Angeles, the LAX departure and arrival may be fine. However, if you are counting on making separate flight reservations to and from LAX, don't expect one airline to accommodate you if the other airline is late in getting you to your connection point, as your flights will not be "linked" in the airlines' eyes.

(5) Watch out for surcharges and taxes. To quote, "Additional fuel surcharges of $8 per flight will apply to additional Australian domestic flights purchased. Prices do not include foreign airport fees, government taxes, September 11th Security fee and taxes of up to approximately $50 US, depending on destination, and arrival charges of up to approximately $71 US, depending on city of departure."

(6) They say it's your responsibility to ensure that you comply with all visa requirements. If you pay your airfare and if the Australian government for some reason doesn't grant you a visitor's visa (an admittedly unlikely event), I guess you'll be out of luck when it comes to a refund (if I've understood the small print correctly).

I would think twice about this AirPass if I were you.

The only thing that it seems to have going for it, to answer one of your questions, is that it appears to permit a return from Melbourne even if you fly into Sydney.

Some observations about your itinerary.

It looks fine if the number of days you've quoted in each place exclude flying time to and from the destinations. If that timetable includes flying days, I would suggest cutting out Melbourne.

Although you won't have a long trip, and in 2 weeks or so it might not make that much of a difference, it generally is considered to be better to move from south to north in the southern hemisphere autumn. If you are in fact going to be travelling then, you might consider going Melbourne - Uluru - Cairns - Sydney.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 02:26 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 130
I've also been planning a trip using the Airpass. I don't have experience, just doing research, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I'm going during low season ($999 in zone 1, $1199 in zone 2), so the $1000 fare is actually less than what the roundtrip to Sydney costs any other way. So that alone makes it worthwhile. I've looked at the budget carriers, and it's just not that cheap to fly to zone 2. I think I saw a fare from Sydney to Cairns in July for almost $200 AUD one way.

Yes, you can fly open-jaw (into and out of different airports); that's one of the advantages of the Airpass.

The restrictions are the thing you have to watch out for. Sydney has one flight everyday that you can take to/from LAX. Brisbane has only one flight each of these days: Sunday ,Wed ,Fri. Melbourne only one flight on Saturday. So if you are planning on ending your trip in Melbourne, it has to be a Saturday. Those are the only three gateway cities that are eligible for the Airpass.

Hope that helps! If you have any other research that you've done, I'd love to collaborate.


fakemark is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 11:39 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3
Hi,

Thanks for the responses. Like the previous poster pointed out, the roundtrip LAX-Sydney flight is quite expensive (it is $1110 while the Airpass is $1500, unless there are other charges as well). I'm going to call Qantas up and see what they say. I'll let you know what I find out.

Sam
SamW is offline  
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