I think it’s time for people to start placing bets on when and if I will get home to Sydney as I’m now playing the waiting game. After finally getting agreement from my employer, I switched my flight dates with Qatar Airways and everything was fine.
Until the final segment from Auckland to Sydney on LATAM was cancelled. This means the entire trip is all confirmed except the last piece. Perhaps I should canoe across the Tasman Sea?
What Is Happening?
Qatar Airways are not selling tickets to Australia between now and 17 December. You can happily purchase tickets for 18 December onwards, but nothing before that.
This is solely due to the Australian arrivals caps, which limit arrivals into the country to about 4,000 people per day. Sydney, for example, allows 350 arrivals per day across all airlines. This is “a lot” as other cities are limited to numbers such as 500 people per week. This means airlines can carry very few people per flight.
Flights are still operating though, with Qatar Airways operating two daily services to Sydney, plus services to other cities. As they are no longer on sale though, it is not possible for people with existing bookings to switch onto them.
Why The Waiting Game?
Many Australian citizens are now stranded overseas, with more than 25,000 people registering on a Government web site stating they are trying to get home. It’s a terrible set of circumstances all round, for some more than others.
There is gathering momentum to increase the arrivals caps so that more people can get home. The Government appears open to it and the media is reporting on it.
That means it is entirely possible and even probable that the existing services will go back on sale. Naturally if and when they do, I will need to switch my flights again. The waiting game is well and truly in session.
I’m happy to play the waiting game with Qatar Airways as my business class ticket is still there. I don’t want a voucher, and I don’t really want a refund (though I’d take that over a voucher!). I’d just like to fly to Sydney, please.
Many other people are in the same situation. Qatar Airways has been one of the few airlines to continue flying throughout the pandemic, so a lot of passengers made it back to Australia thanks to them and they should be commended.
Let’s hope that a) the arrivals caps are increased and b) that Qatar Airways finds they’ve been increased enough to put the flights back on sale. Time will tell what happens.
Are you also playing the waiting game with Qatar Airways or another airline when trying to get to Australia? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Sergey Korovkin 84 via Wikimedia Commons.