With the launch of the highly anticipated trans-Tasman bubble just hours away, airlines are ready to cross the ditch with regular flights between Australia and New Zealand. For most of us, this will be our first chance to take an overseas holiday following a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Here is what we know so far:
In this post:
- What is the trans-Tasman bubble?
- Do I need a vaccine to travel?
- Do I need to apply for a travel exemption?
- Can I travel to another country after New Zealand?
- What happens if there is a Covid outbreak?
- Entering the “Green Zone”
- Which airlines are crossing the ditch?
- Will Airlines Refund Cancelled Trans-Tasman Flights?
What is the trans-Tasman bubble?
The trans-Tasman bubble is set to open up at 11:59pm on April 18 2021, and will allow people to travel between New Zealand and Australia without having to quarantine at either end.
Do I need a vaccine to travel?
No, there is no vaccine requirement for passengers who wish to travel within the trans-Tasman bubble.
Do I need to apply for a travel exemption?
Travellers do not need an exemption to fly to New Zealand. You will need to complete the New Zealand Travel Declaration online before your flight. Before returning to Australia, travellers must complete the Australian Travel Declaration.
Can I travel to another country after New Zealand?
Kiwi authorities do not prevent Australian citizens from leaving New Zealand to travel to other countries. However, anyone arriving into Australia or New Zealand from any other country must enter into quarantine or mandatory isolation as directed.
Travellers who plan to transit in New Zealand are required to apply for an outward travel exemption.
What happens if there is a Covid outbreak?
During her announcement, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that travellers must be alert to the possibility of disruptions if an outbreak was to occur. If either Australia or New Zealand had future Covid-19 cases, the trans-Tasman bubble would be assessed if it should continue, pause or suspend the green travel zone.
While it is difficult to predict how or when a new case might appear, it is useful to have an idea of the ways this would affect travel within the trans-Tasman bubble. Below is a guide to what may happen in the event there are COVID-19 cases present when you travel.
Entering the “Green Zone”
Under the new travel bubble arrangement, you can fly from Australia to New Zealand on a Green Zone flight. Among others, be aware that travellers must:
- Meet immigration requirements
- Have spent 14 days prior to arrival in either Australia or New Zealand
- Have not returned a positive COVID-19 test result
- Not be exhibiting symptoms or awaiting test results
- Wear a mask during the flight
On arrival in New Zealand, passengers will be taken through Green Zone lanes to avoid contact with other international passengers
Which airlines are crossing the ditch?
Air New Zealand
- Auckland: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Hobart
- Wellington: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
- Christchurch: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast
- Queenstown: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
- Auckland: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast
- Wellington: Sydney and Melbourne
- Christchurch: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
- Queenstown: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
- Auckland: Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast
Virgin Australia has said they won’t be flying to New Zealand until October 31.
Will Airlines Refund Cancelled Trans-Tasman Flights?
Air New Zealand’s COVID-19 Change/Refund Policy
Air New Zealand will waive any change fees on international flights due to depart before 31 December 2021. This means you can change your flight without paying any fees, although the fare difference will apply if your new flight is more expensive. Alternatively, you can place the value of your booking into credit, which can then be used to book flights by 30 June 2022.
Travellers are not entitled to a refund unless Air New Zealand cancels the flight or you qualify for a compassionate refund.
Find out more on Air New Zealand’s Credit and refund information page.
Qantas’ COVID-19 Change/Refund Policy
Qantas is offering unlimited fee-free changes to trans-Tasman flights booked by 31 July 2021 for travel until 28 February 2022. You’ll need to select a new travel date within 12 months of your original booking date and cover any fare increase for your new flights.
If Qantas cancels your flight they will rebook you onto the next available flight at no cost. You can also request a flight credit or refund.
Find out more on Qantas’ Fly Flexible page.
Jetstar’s COVID-19 Change/Refund Policy
Jetstar customers are eligible for a credit voucher if their flight is cancelled or affected by border changes. Credit vouchers last for one year.
If you wish to change or cancel your flight for a reason Jetstar doesn’t consider “affected by border restrictions” you will only be entitled to a change or cancellation if the fare rules or bundle allow it.
Refunds are offered if Jetstar cancels your flight for a reason within its control.
Find out more on Jetstar’s COVID-19 changes and cancellations page.