Air Fares Out Of Australia

Can anyone advise why is it that air fares, specifically Qantas, from Aust-UK/Europe are around $500 more return than UK/Europe-Aust return, using the same dates and flight numbers? My eldest daughter, who works in the UK, regularly gets flights from the UK return to Sydney for around $1300-$1500. Other airlines likewise have similar differences. The same applies if travelling Singapore-Sydney return as against Syd-Singapore return.

I have my own suspicions, but will keep them to myself for the moment, until other ideas or thoughts emerge.


It is what the specific markets will bear when competition, holidays, and so on are taken into account, with a touch of the remnants of the pre-internet closed market mentality that remains pervasive here.

Here is a bit from Traveller.


Ahhh @brett57 It has ever been that way, as long as I can remember.

All the seasoned travellers I know buy their tickets overseas if they can, or buy a one way from Australia, and buy the return ticket when over there.

Welcome to the Australia tax.

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Yes I am sure it always has been BUT , it shouldn’t be, merely because we are an island continent, and therefore have no choice, unlike UK/Europe or North America. I feel its just another example as you say of the Aust Tax, OR, profiteering, similar to the banking system, where the shareholders are looked after at the expense of the customer. Qantas’s recent mission statement “You’re the reason we fly” is a joke.


That is universal. Our uniqueness in how it operates is based on the reality we are only 25 million people who are expected to deliver the same profits as if we were 250 million.

It is as nice (and empty) a marketing phrase as ‘we still call Australia home’.


And competition as well.

There are also more airlines servicing England (and nearby Europe) than in Australia. Australia in the England/Europe has to also compete with many other popular destinations which are closer and far cheaper to reach.

In Australia, nearest destinations are some distance away and the cost to get there is substantially more. The relative price to say these nearest destinations (e.g. Asia) is closer than say for the English to travel to mainland Europe.

Low price can creates demand. High prices stifles demand. Where comparative prices are greater, the prices seem higher and airlines have to fight to harder to get bottoms on seats.


It’s not always the case, we recently flew return to the UK in suites class on Singapore Airlines and that worked out over $3,000 less per person than a return trip booked from the UK.


I have often seen fares from Australia to the UK for $1000 return even in school holidays (most recently with Air China on A350 -brand new planes). This is cheaper than you’d ever get in Uk because of Uk APD.

If you limit yourself to Qantas & Emirates (or other OneWorld) I think you will pay more because those are airlines that most Australians want to fly. Virgin regularly have $1000 fares to the UK and, if you fly as a family, you can pool status so achieve enough points for Gold with one trip.

I wrote a post on family pooling as part of a Virgin Competition Please ‘like’ it if you do like it to help me win. I obviously have a vested interest here but I’d like to think that my advice is unbiased.


This is a good point. The peak flying periods for Australia and Europe are different as the seasons are offset by six months. This is also reflected by the different school holiday periods which traditionally have been the most expensive time to fly due to increased demand on seats (Aussies families flying overseas during school holidays).


What can be said? We bought Lufthansa tickets two years running from Melbourne to Hong Kong last year, Singapore this year, Germany, the USA, and home, the flights were on Cathay Pacific (last year), Singapore (this year), Lufthansa and Qantas! QF pricing!!?


It is possible that they have booked their discounted seats and only have a few left on the flight. It could be a popular flight and they know that the last remaining seats will be filled.

We also find that some airlines also remove discounted tickets earlier than others…and it is best to shop around rather than sticking to a preferred/usual airline.

When we fly, we are overly precious about the airline we use and make decisions based on price, number of stops/layovers/legs and time and date of the flight/legs.

It is possible, but these are ticket sales for many flights over many months, and as I follow these fares, it is a fairly common differential.

The fares have a lot of latitude, limited mainly by having to land on 3 continents at the respective airlines serviced airport(s).

It is always fun to ponder ‘why’, but it not so rewarding when the reason is ‘because they can’ when it is a long term competitive sale. FWIW I find Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific PE superior to QF, but that might just be me.


CP Lounge facilities to the few I have been in are superior as well.