Qantas has today announced plans to increase prices to cover both rising fuel prices and the impact of the Australian carbon tax which comes into effect from July. How will that affect your ticket cost?
Picture by Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Qantas' changes fall into multiple categories, so we'll cover each one separately. All domestic increases include GST where applicable.
International increases due to rising fuel prices
For international tickets, Qantas has charged a fuel surcharge since April last year: it is increasing those surcharges from February 15. The one-way surcharge for flights to Asia and Hawaii will rise $20, from $145 to $165. For South America, it rises $40, from $200 to $240. For the US, it rises $60, from $250 to $310. For Europe, it also rises $60, from $290 to $350.
Domestic increases due to rising fuel prices
Qantas says local fares will rise from February 9. The exact amount varies, but the average is said to be 2.5 per cent. Examples given by Qantas include a typical Sydney-Melbourne sector rising from $117 to $122; Brisbane-Melbourne from $155 to $159; Melbourne-Perth from $229 to $235; and Sydney-Albury from $115 to $117. In the grand scheme of things, those differences aren't as big as those which are evident if, for instance, you choose to fly at a less popular time of day.
Passengers redeeming Classic award flights will also see an increase of $2 (from $10 to $12) in the surcharge for bookings. You can pay surcharges using points, though we usually advise against that.
International increases due to carbon tax
From February 15, Flights to London and Frankfurt will attract a $3.50 surcharge each way to cover allowances needed under EU carbon rules.
Domestic increases due to carbon tax
Qantas will begin applying a surcharge each way for domestic bookings made after February 15 for flights taken on or after July 1. The charge varies based on distance:
Jetstar will increase all domestic fares by $10 from February 15 for flights on or after July 1. No international policy has been announced for Jetstar yet.
Things to remember before you panic
It's always a shock to see how much of an airline ticket comprises fees and surcharges, but remember: the price you get quoted by any web site or travel agent will be the full price, including surcharges. It's illegal in Australia to promote a surcharge-free price without making the full price equally clear, and the ACCC is very happy to take on airlines that don't comply.
Our standard advice when seeking cheap tickets still applies: factor in all the costs for a fare and then pick the one that works. In many cases, you'll find a cheaper fare on Virgin, Jetstar or Tiger, but remember to factor in extra costs like baggage charges. If you were planning an overseas trip with Qantas soon, then booking before February 15 would make sense.