Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, the news is out: A quarantine free travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia will take off on April 18 at 11:59 PM. Qantas will offer “points planes” where every seat is bookable with points for the first 3 days (more on that here).
Qantas and Jetstar will ramp up flights to New Zealand to 122 per week and launch 2 brand new routes. The national carrier will also launch two new routes direct from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast, providing travellers with more options for holidays in Queensland and New Zealand.
From 19 April 2021, Qantas and Jetstar will initially operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman on 15 routes, offering more than 52,000 seats each week.
Note: Check out our guide on how to book Air New Zealand business class with points.
Qantas And Jetstar Schedules & Routes
Qantas’ schedule includes year-round direct flights to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown including direct flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Queenstown, routes which Qantas traditionally only operated seasonally for the ski season peak.
A new daily service from the Gold Coast to Auckland will commence when the bubble opens, marking Qantas’ first-ever international flights from Gold Coast Airport. The new Cairns-Auckland route will launch in early June, operating three days per week. Flights will initially operate for eight weeks until late July, and Qantas will look to add more flights beyond this period if there is demand.
Qantas will initially operate a mix of Boeing 737s as well as the wide-body Airbus A330. Customers onboard the A330 will be able to enjoy the fully flat beds (check out our Qantas A330 business review here).
Jetstar will initially operate to Auckland from Melbourne, Gold Coast and Sydney using its Airbus A320 aircraft, with schedules of both airlines connecting on to Jetstar’s New Zealand domestic network of more than 120 return flights per week to five destinations. Jetstar will resume flights on the remainder of its pre-COVID routes from the middle of the year.
Kiwis (and Aussies) Get A Fast Track To Qantas Gold Status
The fast track initiative allows individuals (who reside in New Zealand or Australia) who hold eligible loyalty status with another qualifying airline program (such as Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia Velocity) to fast track their frequent flyer status to Qantas’ Gold tier by earning 100 status credits before 30 July 2021.
In addition to expediting their standing in the program the offer also includes a more generous baggage allowance and 90 days of complimentary access to the airline’s network of Qantas Club lounges. You can apply for fast track here.
Where is Virgin Australia?
Unfortunately, Virgin Australia won’t be planning any flights to New Zealand until October/November 2021. Let’s hope they backflip on that as competition across the Tasman will be crucial to getting great flight deals.