800,000 half-price flights: Everything you need to know

The Federal Government's half-price flights are dropping in hours. (Source: Getty)
The Federal Government's half-price flights are dropping in hours. (Source: Getty)

Aussies keen for a cheap holiday should check their diaries and get their bank card ready: the Federal Government’s much-anticipated 800,000 half-price flights are dropping at midnight tonight (12am AEDT 1 April).

Around 46,000 of the discounted fares, announced as part of a $1.2 billion tourism rescue package, will be released every week across 13 tourism regions, with more destinations expected to be announced.

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan on Wednesday said it was Australians’ “patriotic duty” to take a holiday.

“I say to all Australians, do your patriotic duty, book a holiday and get out to support our tourism industry,” he told Sunrise.

Here’s everything you need to know about the flights and where to get them.

When can I book the tickets?

The tickets will drop at midnight on Thursday 1 April.

It’s understood that the tickets will be released every week in batches until 31 July, unless tickets are sold out prior to that date.

Which airlines are selling half-price tickets?

Qantas and its more affordable subsidiary, Jetstar, and Virgin have been named as key airlines that are servicing most of the flights. Regional airline Rex will also cover some of the routes.

Qantas has said it will “offer up to 32,000 fares per week”, which will be spread out across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar.

Virgin will offer 260,000 half-price economy seats across 25 destinations, it said in a statement.

Where and how do I book?

  • Qantas, Jetstar: A statement from the airline said: “Special fares will be available via and from 1 April 2021 for travel from 1 May 2021.” More details on Jetstar and Qantas’ routes and half-price fares are available here.

  • Virgin: “Specially marked fares will be available for booking at from 12:01am on Thursday 1 April 2021,” the airline stated. Yahoo Finance understands the sale will be available here.

More details from Rex are forthcoming.

It’s understood that the airlines will clearly mark on their website which flights and routes are part of the Government’s half-price sale, with the discount to be applied at checkout.

When can I travel?

The travel period for these fares will begin from 1 May and will continue through to 30 September this year.

The international travel ban, which was meant to lift on 17 March, has been extended and is now set to lift on 17 June this year.

Where can you go?

Key Aussie holiday destinations are on the list, such as the Gold Coast, Whitsundays and Hamilton Island, and Alice Springs.

But that doesn’t mean you can head to those destinations for half price from anywhere in Australia; only certain routes are covered as part of the scheme.

Here’s the whole list so far:

Kangaroo Island (South Australia)

Adelaide – Kingscote

Avalon (Victoria)

  • Gold Coast – Avalon

  • Sydney – Avalon

Merimbula (New South Wales)

  • Melbourne – Merimbula

Broome (Western Australia)

  • Darwin – Broome

  • Sydney – Broome

  • Melbourne – Broome

Lasseter and Alice Springs (Northern Territory)

  • Adelaide – Alice Springs

  • Sydney – Uluru

  • Brisbane – Alice Springs

  • Melbourne – Alice Springs

  • Perth – Alice Springs

  • Sydney – Alice Springs

  • Brisbane – Uluru

  • Melbourne – Uluru

Launceston, Devonport and Burnie (Tasmania)

  • Melbourne – Launceston

  • Sydney – Launceston

  • Brisbane – Launceston

  • Melbourne – Devonport

  • Melbourne – Burnie

Gold Coast (Queensland)

  • Adelaide – Gold Coast

  • Melbourne – Gold Coast

  • Sydney – Gold Coast

  • Canberra – Gold Coast

  • Avalon – Gold Coast

Tropical North Queensland (Queensland)

  • Melbourne – Cairns

  • Sydney – Cairns

  • Darwin – Cairns

Whitsundays and Mackay region (Queensland)

  • Sydney – Proserpine

  • Sydney – Hamilton Island

  • Sunshine Coast (Queensland)

  • Sydney – Maroochydore

  • Melbourne – Maroochydore

  • Adelaide – Maroochydore

And here’s a glimpse of some of the half-price fares available through Virgin:

(Source: Virgin/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Virgin/Yahoo Finance screenshot)

This list may grow as more destinations are announced.

Yahoo Finance has reached out to Rex Airlines for further comment.

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