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9 Airlines Heading to Australia in 2020

With the new year here we can begin the countdown to some very exciting new routes – both locked in and being trialled – coming to Australia in 2020.

Cheap flights are the common side effect of new route announcements, as exiting airlines vye to continue to be the market leader, but also it gives us travellers opportunity to travel with greater ease if needing to make a stopover en-route to our dream vacation destination!

One thing I predict we are sure to see is that competition from Asian airlines continues to grow in Australia. I believe that north-east Asia will be the biggest winner in the region as popularity for visiting Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea continues to grow.

Vietnam is also going to win as tourism continues to surge to the Southeast Asian country fast becomes a favourite with Aussies seeking something different than the usual Bali or Phuket holidays. Two Vietnam airlines are tapped to begin flights to Australia in 2020: Vietjet and Bamboo Airways.

Finally, I believe Melbourne Avalon Airport is going to finally begin to boom. Previously offering only several domestic flights with Jetstar, this week the airport is celebrating its one year anniversary offering international services between Kuala Lumpur and Avalon. The roaring success has lead to several other low-cost carriers (LLC) seeking to base their Australian flights from here in a massive win for this airport near the Great Ocean Road.

Here are 9 airlines heading to Australia in 2020!

El Al: Tel Aviv (TLV) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)

El Al will be trialling three flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne in April and May 2020, as the Israeli carrier evaluates launching regular non-stop services between the destinations.

These flights will be the longest flights that El Al operate and will operated using their fresh Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The flight from Tel Aviv to Melbourne will be one of the longest flights in the world as flights are expected to be 16 hours and 15 minutes, with the return expected to take 17 hours and 45 minutes.

The route aids connections for Australia’s growing Jewish community, which is primarily found residing in Melbourne.

Citilink is now flying their Airbus A330neo to Perth and Melbourne, Australia

Citilink: Bali Denpasar (DPS) to Melbourne Avalon (AVV)

Located just a short drive from Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, it’s not surprising that you have not heard of Melbourne’s second airport. This little airport once serviced only Domestic routes, but a big change is occuring as it becomes a hub for low-cost international airlines wanting to service Melbourne.

After the successful launch of two daily flights from Melbourne Avalon to Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia in 2019, a new airline is joining the departure board beginning over the Australia Day long-weekend.

Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink will begin operating daily flights from Avalon Airport to Denpasar onboard their A330neo. Aussie tourists seeking a bargain priced flight to the popular holiday destination will be seated in the all-Economy configuration; if you feel like a little extra leg room you may want to sit in the first few rows called the ‘Green Zone’ for a few extra dollars.

This will be the second Austalian city which Citilink operate from after launching flights from Perth to Denpasar in late 2019.

Read next: How to get to Melbourne Avalon Airport

Vietjet A321XLR warp

Vietjet:  Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Brisbane (BNE) and Melbourne Avalon (AVV)

With the rise in popularity of Vietnam with Australians, it’s exciting to see Vietnamese low-cost carrier, Vietjet launching two routes to Australia in 2020!

The first will be to Brisbane International, originally slated to launch in late 2019. At the time of writing, it appears a launch date has not been made public. This service will also allow VietJet to offer flights to Brisbane from both Delhi International and Taipei Taoyuan, via Ho Chi Minh – two of the cities most important tourism markets.

Melbourne’s Avalon Airport will be the second destination to run services between Australia and the Vietnamese capital. Services are set to begin in the second half of 2020, subejct to regulatory approval.

According to Reuters, Vietjet plan to fly the Airbus A321XLR to both Australian destinations.

Phillipine Airlines: Manilla (MNL) to Perth (PER)

In an exciting win for Western Australians, Phillipine Airlines will launch a new four-times weekly non-stop service between Manila and Perth in March 2020.

The Phillipino national carrier will be operating the service on a narrowbody A321neo aircraft in a two-cabin configuration, providing Australian travellers with more options when holidaying.

The first flight is scheduled for March 30, 2020.

Perth Airport is rapidly expanding, having added 400,000 new seats of capacity in the past 12-months and being the hub for Qantas’ non-stop Perth to London services.

This will be Philippine Airlines’ fourth destination in Australia, following Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Jetstar: Gold Coast Coolangatta (OOL) to Seoul (ICN)

With rich history, beautiful nature and vibrant food scene, a trip to South Korea is sure to jump to the top of many Australian’s bucketlists now that Jetstar has begun the first low cost connection to the Korean capital.

Flying between Gold Coast Coolongata (OOL) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) three-times per week onboard their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners; the service, which launched in December 2019, is already proving popular.

This service is a codeshare partnership with Jeju Air, Korea’s top low-cost carrier.

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787

Bamboo Airways: Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)

With the launch of Bamboo Airlines, Vietnam’s newest full-service airline, also comes exciting news for Australian travellers.

The ambitious airline wants to fly to Melbourne using their brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner by the second quarter of 2020.

The goal of the airline is to provide serivices connecting Australia with Europe via Vietnam. This would offer competition to more established airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Currently, state-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines flies one-flight daily between Ho Chi Minh and Melbourne Tullamarine onboard an Airbus A350-900.

Jetstar Australia also flies 3-weekly services between the Vietnamese capital and Melbourne Tullamarine on a Boeing 787-8.

Vietnamese low-cost carrier Vietjet have also announced their intention to begin flights to Melbourne Avalon in 2020.

Read next: Where to stay near Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Virgin Australia: Melbourne (MEL) to Bali Denpasar (DPS)

Australia’s who want to holiday in Indonesia’s holiday capital, Bali, now is the time to book a trip!

Virgin Australia are re-launching flights from Mebourne Tullamarine to Bali Denpasar on  2020.

Services will be operated on a Boeing 737 and operate five-time a week.

One thing travellers will enjoy is the choice of options Virgin Australia offer. While Virgin’s 737’s do operate in a two-class configuration, they also offer Economy X on this flight. Passengers who upgrade will receieve extra legroom, priority screening and boarding, and allocated overhead baggage storage.

Virgin Australia will be one of three full-service carriers on the route departing Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, including Indonesian Airline Garuda and Qantas.

The route is also served by two low-cost carriers, including Malaysia’s Malindo Air and Jetstar Australia.

Indonesian low-cost carrier CitiLink will be launching direct flights from Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, located 60-kilometres south-west of Tullamarine, in late January 2020.

Virgin Australia: Brisbane (BNE) to Tokyo Haneda (HND)

Australia’s appetite for Japan continues to grow! In order to meet the demand, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport granted Virgin Australia a slot, allowing it to launch daily services between Brisbane and Tokyo-Haneda in March.

Virgin Australia plans to fly their Airbus A330-200, with flights beginning 29 March, 2020.

Virgin Australia has also recently announced a new partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA). This allows travellers to earn frequent flyer points and codechare of select flights.

Tokyo-Haneda is one of the city’s two international airports but closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita Airport.

Qantas has also been allocated a slot for daily service from Tokyo-Haneda, however it is not yet clear how the airline will use this new slot. At the time of writing Qantas flies between Sydney and Haneda, but their Melbourne flights land at Narita airport, which is furhter from Tokyo’s city centre.
Qantas has a partership with OneWorld partner JAL for codeshare flights and its frequent flyer programs.

Fiji Airways Airbus A350-900

Fiji Airways: Nadi (NAN) to Sydney International (SYD) onboard the A350

I have not yet seen a nation as proud of an aircraft as Fijians are about their national carriers new A350-900s. While I was there last week, taxi drivers pointed out the signs to me, asking if I flew it and the crew were clearly happy to be working the sleek aircraft (the verbal confirmation by a team member I ask did confirm this!).

Fiji Airways new aircraft – one of two introduced to their fleet in late 2019 – is a big boost to tourism efforts for the tiny island nation. Capacity on the route increased by 15% per flight with the aircraft change, which one can assume means that demand to Fiji are increasing and that extra seats are needed to meet tdhe deman.

Fiji Airways aircraft are a huge step up from the A330s which were previously servicing the route. They operate a three-class configuration. With Business class, Bula space seats (Economy seats with extra leg room for an additional fee), and Economy, seas.

The A350’s are solely running on Sydney to Nadi and Nadi to Los Angeles flights, though the airline has indicated they want to introduce more of the fuel-efficient variant into their fleet sooner rather than later.

It’s clear the airline has big ambitions in the Pacific market as Fiji Airways have been touting this flight as being Sydney to Los Angeles via Nadi. 

With Fiji Airways offering direct services from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, and competitive prices on seats to Los Angeles, a one-stop option may be favourable for some passengers should Fiji’s Nadi International Airport be able to perfect the transit experience.

Currently, both Auckland and Melbourne are far more transit friendly than Sydney and Honolulu, which may be appealing for travellers from Adelaide, Canberra and Perth who have no other option but to transit through one of these locations to reach Los Angeles.

Read next: Flight Review – Fiji Airways A350 Economy Review (Coming soon!)

Turkish Airlines Boeing B787-9

Other potential developments

Turkish Airlines: is 2020 the year they fly to Australia?

There has been talk for years that Turkish Airlines wants to launch flights to Australia, yet nothing has manifested yet. With the move to Istanbul New Airport complete and having now received their first bath of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, could 2020 be the year that the Istanbul-based carrier begins flights to Australia?

I believe that the biggest barrier to Turkish launching this sought after route – and providing Australians with a partner to connect to the Middle East and Europe – comes down to range. Istanbul to Sydney is roughly 14,950km. That’s 480km further than Qantas’ current Perth – London service, which takes almost 18 hours of flying time. It also means that the route lies beyond the range of the 787-9.

One option is that Turkish could fly to Sydney via an intermediate destination, operating a Fifth Freedom route.

Currently, Turkish Airlines relies on its Star Alliance partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to service Australia and New Zealand.

Hobart Airport to… the world?

It was announced in late 2019 that Hobart Airport is keen to improve the terminal and adding international flights to Australia’s ‘apple isle’.

As a booming tourism destination in its own right, Tasmania is a popular destination for Chinese and southeast Asian travellers. As the last capital city in Australia not offering international flights, it represents a great opportunity for the right carriers, particularly as an export destination with the island producing an abundance of crops and home to a large wine industry.

Currently, most travellers wishing to visit Tasmania travel via Melbourne before connecting onto a one-hour flight to Hobart Airport (HBT). It also competes with Launceston Airport (LST) located 177 kilometres away by road.

Qantas Planning on Flying Direct to India?

At Qantas‘ Investory Day Presentation it was announce that the airline is considering flights between Australia and India.

The growing middle class among its 1.37 billion population represents Australia’s fastest-frowing inbound market, and Qantas is keep for a slice of that pie.

At the Investors Day Presentation it was cited that the country still represents “low volumes, fragmented over many cities and low yield”. However, they did state that a “South East Asian hub[s] remain (the) best way to service demand”.

This potentially cites Qantas and/or Jetstar’s Singapore hub as a base for flights to key Indian cities “in the medium term.”

Further out, the airlines says, is “long term potential to operate direct services from east coast Australia.”

This would mean that customers living in Melbourne could be in India in as little as 14-hours. Flights from Melbourne to Singapore have a flight time of 7hrs 50minutes, and flights from Singapore to New Delhi have a flight time of 5hrs and 55minutes.

Currently Air India operates flight from Sydney and Melbourne to New Delhi, though Singapore Airlines carries many passengers to other parts of the country with one-stop in Singapore.

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How to Find Cheap Flights: 9 Ways to Save

It can be overwhelming when planning travel, but no more so than when booking flights.

We’ve all experienced the monotonous, repeated searching that comes when trying to book the cheapest flight possible. You may be like me and love the grind, but there comes a time when I hit a wall and pray to the airline Gods to just let me find what I’m looking for.

I’ve rounded up all my best tips that will save you time, frustration and most importantly money when booking you next flight. These are my best cheap flight hacks, including some tips on how to search for cheap flights anywhere.

Here are my best tips on how to find cheap flights!

1. Keep your cache clear and use ‘Incognito Mode’

Okay, I am a believer that if you search for flights incognito really does save you money. This conclusion was made after doing hours (seriously) of research for an article I was quoted in for the South China Morning Post and through booking my most recent flights to Africa.

During my process booking through an OTA (Online Travel Agency, like those that Skyscanner and Expedia link to) to find a great priced fare from Asia to Africa (via the Middle East) I found that each time I searched the price went up. Thinking it was just that the flights were full I didn’t think too much of it.

Once I made my decision on which flight to buy, I went back to the OTA to book. The flight displayed as $500AUD more expensive than the initial search.

Being a savvy traveller, I cleared my cache and tried again. Low and behold, the cheaper price showed up.

I chose to book direct with the airline (for $70AUD) more for two reasons:

  1. I think it’s cheeky that these OTA’s and aggregators do this to customers, many who don’t know.
  2. The OTA wanted to charge me, a passenger buying a business class ticket, to choose my seating and for a meal which would come standard on the airline I was flying.

Please don’t fall for their tricks and be a saavy traveller when booking your next trip.

2. Be flexible

When people book flights typically they decide on the destination first before checking what prices are available.

Instead, if booking cheap flights is your priority you will need to flip that approach. Check what prices are available via your favourite online travel agency, like Skyscanner, Momondo, or Google Flights to various destinations around the world. Decide which of those destinations appeal to you. Then, select the dates you like that have the cheapest airfares available.

If you have a pretty tight window in which you can travel consider some of these other tips to try and get the best deal.

Once you are in Asia or Europe, finding a cheap budget flight to get you to your final dream destination is easy!

3. Follow Flight Deal Websites

This is my ultimate tip for how to save money on flights. I have only seriously begun to follow flight deal websites for the past three months and I’ve already saved just over $14,000 on 3 Business Class flights. Whaaaat?!!

Gulf Air: Khartoum to Bahrain – AU$1,315
Gulf Air: Bahrain to London – AU$3,842
Air Canada: London to Toronto – AU$9,858
Total = AU$15,025
The price I paid = £544,80 (plus £76.27 fee to ensure my ticket was flexible.)

Total: £617,25/AU$999.85
Total saving = AU$14,025.15

I am kicking myself though because my friend Josh got his flights for even cheaper by booking a few days before me and on a German website!

As I live in Australia, I mainly look to Secret Flying. They showcase global deals. The others tend to focus on their home country (if US-based, they tend to focus on NYC or LA most heavily. Something I’ve never understood because some of the best deals I’ve found have originated in the Midwest.)

Personally, I’m still not sold if Dollar Flight Club or Jacks Flight Club offers great value for money (as they publish only a limited number of free offers to non-members) when many of these other sites will have the deal they listed.

4. Check the ITA Flight Matrix

The benefit of searching on the Matrix, as opposed to Google Flights or another OTA like Skyscanner and Expedia, is the ability to conduct more complicated searches. Searching for open-jaw flights and multi-city itineraries are a breeze with this tool.

There are two important things to know when using the ITA Flight Matrix:

  • The ITA Flight Matrix will show many but not all airlines, such as US carriers Southwest and Allegiant Air.
  • While you can’t book through the ITA Flight Matrix website, it will give you a good idea of which airline/s are offering the best deals. You can then purchase the flights yourself, go to a travel agent to finalise your booking or use bookwithmatrix.com to find where you can get the deals online.

If you want to learn more about using the ITA Matrix for booking cheap flights I highly recommend you read Johnny Jet’s article on it here which will also give you more tips for booking cheap flights.

The face you make when you realise you have landed at an airport closer to France than Belgium’s capital…

5. Consider flying out of different airports (or even different countries!)

No matter where you live in the world, you may be living just a short flight or train ride away from an airline offering super cheap deals.

Sometimes those lesser-known airports which are just a short train or car ride away from your dream holiday destination can offer you significant savings and are one of the most overlooked ways how to find cheap flights.

For example, on a recent trip to Amsterdam, KLM wanted me to pay €300+ to fly from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol when the train in the basement of the Airport would take me direct to Schiphol for less than €30.

With the array of low-cost carriers (LLCs) across Europe, there may be some great deals to cities just a short train, bus or drive away from your holiday destination.
Looking at Brussels again, I got a great deal flying from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), via Sofia (SOF) on Israir and Ryanair. Just don’t do what I did and realise you were flying to an obscure airport when you are already on the flight!

How to get cheap flights in Australia:

If you are in Australia, consider utilising other airports. While most travellers look to Sydney or Melbourne, Brisbane can be an affordable alternative.
The countries third-largest airport has a growing network of international flights, particularly to Asia. While you probably won’t be flying on an A380, there is a good chance you may be flying a B737-8 on Qantas routes to Hong Kong and LAX or a B787 on EVA Airways flights to Taiwan.

Flights to Brisbane from Australian capital cities are reasonably affordable, and if you can’t get a flight direct to Brisbane Airport, you can fly to Coolangatta, also known as the Gold Coast Airport. From there take Bus 777 to Broadbeach South Station and then take the AirTrain from the Gold Coast to Brisbane Airport for $35 one-way. (You save over $5 if you book online!)

On the other end of the scale, Darwin and Cairns often operate season flights with select airlines, including Chinese, South Korean and Chinese carriers.

Adelaide Airport has a growing network of international flights, including the recently added fifth freedom flight (more on what they are below) on the Adelaide – Bali route on Malaysian low-cost carrier Malindo Air.

Melbourne operates two airports: Melbourne Tullamarine – the main hub – but also Melbourne Avalon, conveniently located right next to the Great Ocean Road, for those wanting cheap flights around Australia with regular Domestic flights with Jetstar or cheap flights from Australia internationally with AirAsia twice a day.

Business class at bargain prices on Scoot! Perfect for a day flight.

6. Let budget airlines be your friend

While we all like to fly down the pointy end of the plane, it turns out that those holding an Economy ticket will also find their way to their final destination!

Budget airlines offer significantly cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts, and that comes with some compromises, but if saving money is your end goal then this is how to do it.

A few important tips to consider before booking with a budget airline:

  • Always read the fine print.
  • Double-check the airport location (I’ve ended up closer to France than Belgium by accident when I made this very silly mistake).
  • Book and pay for your luggage allowance before flying, if required. They will charge you extra if you pay for it at the airport. Oh, and be sure to follow the strict weight and size limits set by the airlines.
  • Print your boarding pass before you arrive at the airport. Some airlines will charge you at check-in to print your boarding pass.
  • Remember: the reason your seat is so cheap is that there are no-frills attached. You will need to buy or bring your own food, drinks, and comfort items. There’s also unlikely to be entertainment.

Below is a list of just some of the budget airlines around the world. Those with two asterisks next to them (**) are new airlines coming soon. Those in italic are my personal favourites!

Consider these budget carriers:

Australia & Oceania
Jetstar
– TigerAir

Europe
– AirBaltic (Latvia)
easyJet (UK)
– Eurowings (Germany)
– FlyBe (UK)
– French Bee (France)
– Jet2.com (UK)
– Lauda (Austria)
– Level (Spain)
Norwegian (Norway)
– Onur Air (Turkey)
– Pegasus Airlines (Turkey)
– Pobeda (Russia)
– Ryanair (Ireland)
– Transavia (Netherlands)
– Volotea (Spain)
Vueling (Spain)
Wizz Air (Hungary)

North America
AirCanada Rouge (Canada)
– Allegiant Air (US)
– Air Transat (Canada)
– Canada Jetlines (Canada) **
– Flair Airlines (Canada)
– Frontier Airlines (US)
– Intrejet (Mexico)
JetBlue (US)
– Southwest Airlines (US)
– Spirit Airlines (US)
– Sun Country Airlines (US)
– Sunwing Airlines (Canada)
– Swoop (Canada)
– VivaAerobús (Mexico)
– Volaris (Mexico)

South America
– Azul Brazilian Airlines (Brazil)
– EasySky (Honduras)
– Flybondi (Argentina)
– Flycana (Dominican Republic)
– Gol Transportes Aéreos (Brazil)
– JetSmart
– Sky Airline (Chile)
– Venezolana (Venezuela)
– Viva Air (Colombia)
– Volaris Costa Rica (Cost Rica)
– Wingo (Colombia)

Asia
– AirAsia (Malaysia)
– AirBlue (Pakistan)
– AirIndia Express (India)
– Cebu Pacific (Philippines)
– CitiLink (Indonesia)
IndiGo (India)
– HK Express (Hong Kong)
– Jeju Air (S.Korea)
Jetstar Asia (Singapore)
– Jin Air (S.Korea)
– Lanmei Airlines (Cambodia)
– Lion Air (Indonesia)
– Lucky Air (China)
– Nok Air (Thailand)
– NokScoot (Thailand)
– Peach (Japan)
Scoot (Singapore)
– SpiceJet (India)
– Spring Airlines (China)
– Tigerair Taiwan (Taiwan)
– Vanilla Air (Japan)
– VietJet Air (Vietnam)
– West Air (China)
– Wings Air (Indonesia)
– ZIPAIR Tokyo (Japan) **
– 9 Air (China)

Middle East
– Air Arabia (UAE)
– flydubai (UAE)

Central Asia
– Air Manas (Kyrgyzstan)
– Buta Airways (Azerbaijan)
– FlyArystan (Kazakhstan)

Africa
– Air Cairo (Egypt)
– Fly540 (Kenya)
– Fastjet (South African owned)
– FlySafair (South Africa)
– Jambojet (Kenya)
– kulula.com (South Africa)
Mango (South Africa)


7. Pack carry-on only to take advantage of the best budget flights

If you want to take advantage of the cheapest seats possible, this is the way to do it.

It’s truly amazing how easy it is to pack carry-on only, even for week-long trips. And let’s face it, if you are like me, you’ll probably recycle the same outfit three times by adding a new necklace, scarf or different pair of pants. We won’t tell anyone your little secret!

8. Use Multi-Stop Tickets

Did you know some of the cheapest flights can be found by simply adding a stopover?

Two cities that I regularly find great deals departing from are Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB) and Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK).

Another factor which helps with the flight cost is that both of these countries exchange rates are often lower than my own (I usually pay in Australian Dollars or US Dollars). Be sure to compare prices because by booking your ticket through the OTA’s local website and paying in a different currency is one of the best travel hacks I can give you.

One thing to know is that for what you save in money with multi-stop tickets, you usually lose in time, whether it’s because of the detour to the hub airport of the airline you are flying versus a direct flight.

When booking be sure to investigate whether your airline has a stopover program. Some countries – like Singapore, Iceland, Dubai, and Bahrain – offer a select number of days stopover in their home country. For some of these, this includes free or reduced accommodation, vouchers, and some other benefits. It’s the perfect way to get a taste of a country you’d like to visit in the future!

9. Use the ‘Everywhere’ destination on Skyscanner

I have a love-hate relationship with Skyscanner but one feature I do love is their ‘Everywhere’ destination tool and is a great tricks to get cheap flights. Using this you can search the world to find the cheapest trips from your home airport (or perhaps one nearby!).

Most recently I found some great Business Class sale flights on Oman Air from Jakarta, Indonesia to London, UK via Muscat, Oman. All in all the flights would have saved me well over AU$6,000 one-way and cost me less than AU$800 return! Unfortunately, I made the rookie error of ‘thinking about it’ instead of booking and by the time I came back they were sold out. Drat!

Another tip to consider when using Skyscanner is by setting the destination as the country you want to travel to. For example, I would set my departure location as Melbourne (MEL) but put the arrival city in as ‘China’. This way Skyscanner will search all the Chinese airports and come back with the cheapest route for me.

It is important to consider the cost of repositioning yourself for the flight though. For example, it were to fly out of Jakarta instead of Melbourne (the city I live in), I would need to factor in the cost for a seat from Melbourne – Jakarta in order to reposition myself for the flight. Sometimes you’ll find that awesome deal you found isn’t so awesome when the repositioning flight is a few hundred dollars!