- Qantas bring forward its first flights from Sydney to London and LA
- All flights will be 'Points Planes' for the first week
- Passengers will need to be fully-vaccinated and do a pre-flight PCR test
Qantas is bringing forward the restart of its Sydney-London and Sydney-Los Angeles flights to November 14 following today's announcement that the international travel ban will be lifted next month.
The airline says those destinations were chosen due to being "the most searched" on the airline's website in recent weeks.
There'll be three weekly return flights for Sydney-London's QF1/QF2 – which will now stop over at Darwin instead of Singapore – and three weekly return flights for Sydney-Los Angeles' QF11/QF12, both featuring the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
As previously reported, Qantas has also changed the timing of the London-Sydney QF2 and Sydney-Los Angeles QF11 flights from their usual schedule so the Boeing 787s can spend less time on the ground and more time in the air.
QF2 will now leave London at 9.50am instead of the long-standing evening departure, to arrive into Sydney at 7.05pm, while QF11 will be wheels-up from Sydney at 10.25pm and reach LAX at 5pm.
The tweaked timetables contain both upsides and downsides for travellers, especially those making connecting flights at either end of the journey.
"We know Australians can't wait to travel overseas and be reunited with their loved ones, and literally thousands are waiting to come back home, so this faster restart is fantastic news" said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
"We'd already sold out some of our international flights for December and seen strong demand on flights to and from London and Los Angeles, so we're confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services."
However, while Joyce welcomed the move towards seven days home quarantine for fully-vaccinated Australians, he is eager to see "what is becoming standard in many countries overseas, which is a test and release program."
'Points Planes' take off
The Sydney-London and Sydney-Los Angeles flights can now be booked on the Qantas website by "Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and some visa holders" – pricing starts at$1662 return for Sydney-Los Angeles, and $1869 return for Sydney-London.
In addition, every seat on the first week's flights can also be booked using Qantas Points at the lowest Classic Award Flight rate instead of the variable and much higher Any Seat Award rates, which are tied to and reflect actual cash price for each seat.
Any Seat Award rates can easily be triple the number of Qantas Point for a Classic Flight Reward.
For a one-way flight between Sydney and London, all business class seats are now listed at 144,600 points (plus $466 in fees and taxes), with premium economy at 108,400 points + $346, and economy at 55,200 points + $256.
If you've got your sights set on a trip to LA, you can snare a business class seat for 108,400 points + $351; premium economy is going for 81,300 points + $306, and economy at 41,900 points + $226.
Pre-departure PCR tests
All travellers will need to be fully vaccinated, although the airline says it will make "exemptions for medical reasons and children."
In additional, every passenger will be required to return a negative PCR Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to the flight's scheduled departure.
On their return to Australia, passengers will be required to spend seven days in home quarantine, in accordance with requirements of the Federal and New South Wales governments.
At this stage, Qantas expects all other international routes to resume from 18 December 2021 as previously planned.
That said, the airline maintains it has the flexibility to activate "additional routes if other states and territories decide to open their borders earlier and reduce quarantine requirements to seven days at home, or less."