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QANTAS: Sale fares to storm-devastated North Queensland. Commercial necessity dressed as compassion?

QANTAS: Sale fares to storm-devastated North Queensland. Commercial necessity dressed as compassion?

Qantas is selling sale fares over the next day and a half (closes 11:59 pm 6 January 2023) to destinations in Tropical North Queensland, where communities and businesses have been devastated by the effects of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jaspar. The Australian and Queensland Governments are supporting the sale.

a close up of a fan shaped leaf
Palm canopy in the Daintree rain forrest [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Sale Details

One-way fares start at AU$79 for Jetstar flights and AU$99 for Qantas Economy. You can access the sale here.

This is a short, sharp sale with up to 50% off fares, but with some important conditions across the Qantas Group, including on Qantas and Jetstar flights.

  • Economy domestic fares from most capital cities
  • Sale fares are one-way only
  • Flights to be taken from mid-January to the end of March 2024 only
  • Jetstar Sale fares are available for only 48 hours (Sale ends 11.59 pm AEDT Saturday 6 January 2024, (AEDT) unless sold out prior)
  • Qantas sale fares are available for four days (Sale ends 11.59 pm Tuesday, 9 January 2024 (AEDT), unless sold out
  • There are blackout dates, limited flights, and days for Qantas fares.

Here is a list of the city pairs for the one-way sale specials:

QANTAS Routes ON SALESale fare (one-way)
Brisbane – Proserpine$99
Brisbane – Mackay$109
Brisbane – Cairns$129
Sydney – Cairns$149
Brisbane – Townsville$159
Sydney – Townsville$159
Melbourne – Townsville$179
Bundaberg – Mackay$179
Melbourne – Cairns$199
Albury – Cairns$199
Adelaide – Hamilton Island$239
Adelaide – Cairns$269
List of destination pairs where sale fares are available from Qantas Media Release

… and further sale fares on Jetstar:

JETSTAR Routes ON SALESale fare (one-way)
Brisbane – Cairns$79
Gold Coast – Cairns$79
Sydney – Cairns$109
Melbourne – Cairns$119
Darwin – Cairns$135
Adelaide – Cairns$139
Perth – Cairns$149
a bird with a blue head and a black beak
The rainforest fruit eating and sometimes aggressive Cassowary [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

Many Australians have likely cancelled their holiday plans to popular tourist destinations in northern Queensland once they heard of the impending cyclone and its resulting damage. Such cancellations would be a major blow to the income generated for the tourist industry in these areas, and the Christmas holiday period is their big earner. So, these sale fares will undoubtedly help bring tourists back to the area.

On the other hand, with tourists cancelling their trips, Qantas and Jetstar effectively have an excess of perishable stock – airline seats – they they need to sell. Is this commercial reality dressed up as compassion?

I did a quick search of a weeks holiday in Cairns from Sydney for a week, 14 to 20 February. Here is a sample of fares – without stopovers:

a screenshot of a flight schedule
Screenshot of Qantas fares Sydney to Cairns on 14 February 2024 [Qantas/2PAXfly]

And here is the return leg:

a screenshot of a computer
The return leg, Cairns to Sydney on 20 February [Qantas/2PAXfly]

None of the AU$109 advertised one-way fares to Cairns are available on these days. Sale fares may have already been sold or never existed on these dates. It’s not like Qantas ever sold cancelled flights or anything.

Search other dates and destinations, and you may be luckier than me.

Some cynicism is justified.

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