No more freebies as domestic airlines scrap pandemic rules

Australian airlines will bring back old rules on domestic flights from May 1, canning the current luxury of free flight credits and date changes introduced during the pandemic.

The extra protections were introduced by Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin as a result of the huge number of people missing flights due to COVID-19’s unpredictible spread during the last two years.

From Sunday, airlines will re-implement the old rules, meaning free credits and day changes on all flights will be gone.

From tomorrow, pandemic considerations will be dropped. (Supplied)

“It doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a flexible fare, it just means that those blanket rules that apply to any ticket purchase are now coming off,” Adelaide Airport managing director Brenton Cox said.

Cancellation fees will still remain waived for passengers struck down by COVID-19 or as a close contact.

For international flights the safety net still applies until June 30, for travel until the end of the year.

Ben Mead, a travel agent and managing director of Holidays of Australia & The World, said it was time for “buyers beware”, but said he was thankful for the pandemic considerations.

“Credit to the airlines, they’ve met market conditions and having that flexibility has been incredibly important for the recovery of tourism and getting people back on planes,” he said.

In another sign travel is well and truly back, airlines are beginning to resume their old routes. In Adelaide Jetstar will resume its service to Bali from Monday.

Mr Mead said the key for travellers was to do thorough research before booking, read the fine print and have travel insurance.

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