The flying kangaroo is set to become the skiing and snowboarding kangaroo, at least for three months between July and September, with Qantas adding three new routes to Cooma and Albury, which serve as gateways to the snowfields in New South Wales and Victoria.
From 1 July to 26 September 2021, Qantas will run the following flights on its nimble if noisy all-economy QantasLink De Havilland 'Dash 8' Q400 turboprops:
- Sydney to Cooma: three days per week
- Brisbane to Cooma: two days per week
- Brisbane to Albury: three days per week
Cooma opens up the popular resorts of Perisher Valley, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass in New South Wales, with Albury providing access to the Falls Creek and Hotham resorts in Victoria.
Ski and snowboard equipment can be included as part of the airline's standard checked baggage allowance.
The seasonal flights will offer a domestic respite to skiers who'd usually escape to the prized powder of New Zealand, Japan or Canada, among others, if not for the international travel ban.
"We're expecting these flights will be popular with skiers and snowboarders who might not have been able to hit the slopes through COVID last season in Australia or overseas," suggests QantasLink CEO John Gissing.
"With international border closures meaning more Australians are planning their next holiday closer to home, we are creating more travel options where there is demand."
The flights from Sydney to Cooma will be timed to allow travellers to depart after work on a Thursday or Friday and return Sunday evening, which enables them to enjoy a long weekend of skiing without needing to drive.
The flights from Brisbane to Cooma and Albury will also offer Queenslanders the only direct airline connection to the snowfields this season.
One-way fares for flights between Sydney and Cooma start at $179, or 8,000 Qantas Points; Brisbane-Cooma and Brisbane-Albury begin at $239, or 12,000 Qantas Points.
Qantas' unlimited flight change rules will apply to all bookings made "until at least the end of April 2021" with alternative flights available " through to at least February 2022," the airline says – meaning there'll be no change fee for shifting to another date (although you have to keep the same route), although a difference against the fare itself may apply.