Planning your Australia holiday: How to book your flights

OK… so if you’ve been following the ‘planning’ tips then so far you know WHEN you want to go to Australia on holiday and also what you need to do BEFORE you book your flights (get a visa!). Now… how to get there!

Technically you can overland most of the way to Australia (see Ozbus) and you can sail there (read to the end)… but most people tend to take a plane. Here’s how I go about booking my (cheap if I can help it!) flights to Australia.

So first off I work out who flies to where in Australia I want to go.

AND don’t forget you can usually fly in one place and out the other (known as “open jaw”) so you can save time and not back track while you are there (this can save time and money on internal travel).

You have a much bigger choice of airlines if you want to head to Sydney then you do if you want to head to, say, Cairns or Darwin. All of them are international airports but you often find most world airlines only fly into:

  • Perth
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Brisbane

Some even only fly to a couple of these.

Quite a few more fly into Adelaide, and only a couple into Cairns.

There is a very handy guide to who flies where in Australia (and where they stop) on the Travel Agents website TTG here (the guide is a PDF you have to download).

Here’s a summary of what airlines fly to different Australian cities and destinations:

  • Sydney: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Ethiad, Malaysia, Thai, Korean, China, Asiana, United, Air Canada, Air Mauritius, Singapore, BA
  • Perth: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia, Thai, Royal Brunei, Air Mauritius, Singapore
  • Adelaide: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia, Singapore
  • Melbourne: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Ethiad, Malaysia, Thai, Korean, China, United, Air Mauritius, Singapore
  • Brisbane: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Ethiad, Malaysia, Thai, Korean, Royal Brunei, Singapore
  • Cairns: Qantas, Cathay Pacific
  • Darwin: Qantas

One option for finding a cheap flight to Australia is to book direct with the airlines themselves – or at least look up their sites to see if they have any special offers. I also often use the airline sites to work out my preferred route and timing using their timetables and scheuldes before I lauch myself into price comparison. Can save a lot of time when you know EXACTLY the flights you want to be on.

Here’s all the links to the airlines that fly into and out of Australia (from the UK):

So once I’ve decided who I want to (or can!) fly with to where I want to go in Australia, then I work out the cheapest place to buy my ticket. More about that next time…

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