The shape of domestic travel in Australia has changed since the Coronavirus era and you can expect that your flying experience will be quite different from 2019.
Its important to research border restrictions before you book as several Australian states and territories still have a degree of border restrictions in place. It can be confusing as each state has different laws and restrictions. NSW, Victoria and ACT remain open while some other states will impose a mandatory 14 day quarantine. QLD and WA will only let residents and essential travelers pass the border unless you have special exemption. You can apply on line for a Queensland Entry Pass while WA has the G2G Pass. Depending on your purpose of travel the 14 day quarantine requirement may still apply. That’s why its important to consult with the Department of Health which provides the latest information.
Booking your flight after you are up to date on border rules might be easier said than done. The flights have been trimmed to a skeleton schedule. Some Cities have no direct flights and the capital cities, while they have direct flights they are not as frequent as they used to be. If you wanted to fly between Brisbane and Perth because of the border closure both Qantas and Virgin only have direct flights in Mid June at the earliest. So you need to go through Sydney or Melbourne at the moment.
It’s a good idea before you fly to download the COVIDSafe app as it uses Bluetooth to note when you come into contact with other users of the app and if an app user tests positive for coronavirus then it will be easier for health authorities to inform you so you can stay safe.
Once you have your flight booked, which may have cost you double or triple what you paid 6 months ago you will be astounded at the airports and just how empty they are. It is not difficult to practice good social distancing. It is encouraged to book in online before you reach the airport and to use self-serve luggage drop facilities to minimize human interaction. All airport lounges are closed but you will find a couple of coffee shops open for takeaway only. We suggest if you want something during your flight that you BYO as options are limited both at the airport and during your flight.
Even though there are fewer people on flights it’s a good idea to get to the gate early as it takes longer to board because of social distancing. Passengers are not allowed to queue close together and usually they will call boarding sequentially. There are no inflight magazines and WiFi is discontinued for now so bring your own entertainment.
On the flight, there are masks and sanitising on request and you may find that some cabin crew will wear some form of personal protective equipment to reduce contact with passengers. In regards to seating, you will find that the middle seat will be kept empty. Family groups can request the middle seat if they want but otherwise, it will be blocked during check-in.
When you arrive at your destination you will find an increased police presence at most terminals. There will be border restrictions in Perth and Brisbane with checkpoints set up to go through before you leave the airport. An arrival form is required in Brisbane and some other states. Depending on the state you might need to go into quarantine for 14 days in which case you will be transferred to the government accommodation or directed to a room for further information regarding home quarantine. Make sure you check entry requirements before your return trip as border restrictions may change while you’re away.