Now Boarding: US to Australia for $229??? (We love this economy!)

If Scrabble allowed you to use proper names, Qantas would be a great use for the letter Q without the U. And today, Qantas has found even more new uses for its name to splatter across headlines: Flights to Australia starting at $229 one way from the U.S.


Talk about some great promotional marketing. This is very much like the ploy of the Queensland Tourism Bureau for the Best Job In The World that even I fell for – draw billions of people to look at the Qantas site and just consider maybe, for a moment, of jetting off to visit some kangeroos and koalas. I am always skeptical of such deals, partly because they require you to depart on random days and random hours, which doesn’t matter much to unemployed me but more to working you. Also, you have to mentally tack on about $100 in taxes one-way, and then another $100 for flying from the east coast. So, in reality, these $229 tickets are really starting around $429. Under ordinary economic stances, you can’t ever get a flight to Australia for below $2,000 roundtrip. Not that I would even know, since I’ve never shopped for a flight to Australia.

However, I thought why not, this might be a good opportunity to visit my dear friend and former roommate Kit, a native Chicagoan who found himself writing for a magazine out in Sydney but may be departing on a tour of Asia before returning stateside this autumn. Flights are always more reasonable out of JFK, so I would have to drive up to my dad’s house and then wrangle a ride to the airport out of him. So I entered JFK to Sydney, flexible dates (because you can’t be picky when there’s a good deal). And while the flights appearing are not in the $200’s, as I suspected, they are incredibly low: $460 one-way from JFK to Sydney leaving on August 4, returning August 23 for $521.

Total = $968 roundtrip, including taxes and fees. If you’re a Californian, you might be able to score even lower. (You can’t just fly to Australia for the weekend, although I did meet a government contractor from New York on a plane once who was sent to Australia for two days to work on the electrical engineering of a military ship.) Now that is an incredible, incredible deal that you have to thank subprime mortgages for.

Note: it is “winter” over there but it is Australia. I’d be on a plane if 1. my sister wasn’t giving birth next month and 2. my friends weren’t getting married in Sweden. Sweden, Australia, baby niece/ nephew. Oh, priorities!


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