Savings in international flight taxes from Australia
October 18, 2006 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Get me off this hemisphere! Help me find cheap(er) flights out of Australia to Europe. Price are reasonable until taxes come into play (+25%). Is there a way around this? Help me beat the taxes and get a better deal!

I'm trying to get return flights from ADL to somewhere in Western Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, London wherever). I can find reasonable prices for flights in April/May 2007. Cheapest is Singapore airlines $1650 ret. but the taxes are over $400 extra. That's an extra 25%. Is there a way around this? Some secret place/airline I should be using?

FYI. I generally check and STA travel as a baseline price and then direct with airlines to see if there's a better deal. Often bricks and motar travel agents have better prices still. It seems Australia's a bit behind the US when it comes to online travel. What's the secret?
posted by mule to Travel & Transportation around Australia (11 answers total)
Best price I got for Brisbane-Frankfurt return in July was using (the US site). Despite my living in Germany, the German site didn't accept my credit card, and the Australian sites I tried broke. Currently I can get a quote from them for Adelaide-Frankfurt single for 1144 USD, which is 1500 AUD.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 5:57 AM on October 18, 2006

(I should mention that the Expedia price includes taxes and charges.)
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 5:58 AM on October 18, 2006

Sorry mule, but as far as I know there is no way around the taxes. I'm currently trying to find something reasonable for Christmas (anywhere in Asia) and the taxes kill it every time. [I will be keeping an eye on this thread to see if an airliner insider comes up with some ingenious scheme though]
posted by tellurian at 6:14 AM on October 18, 2006

Yeah, the taxes are monstrous. However, you can avoid some or most of them by doing a little news-hunting; you might turn up an airport trying to attract new service that has lowered its landing fees to attract new customers. Also watch out for hidden "fuel surcharges" that might not turn up until the purchase confirmation page if you're buying online.

Ideas for saving money on this in general (kinda long, sorry):

- Tiger Airways is a low-cost airline out of Singapore that flies to Darwin. Perhaps fly to Darwin, Darwin to Singapore on Tiger, and any random carrier to Europe.

- There's way more competition out of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, right? Can you fly to one of those cities and then fly from there?

Furthermore (and forgive me if this sounds totally condescending):

- Think outside of this round-trip, all-the-same-airline model. While one-way tickets might seem to be heaps more expensive, perhaps a one-way on one airline to one European city combined with another one-way on an airline back, from your final city in Europe, might be cheaper. Look on airline websites.

- It's totally kosher to buy a ticket on airline W that's really flown on airline X "metal" (ie, W sells seats on X's plane - it's called a "codeshare") on airline Y's website, using an travel website based in country Z.

- Kind of open secret: Taiwanese and Korean airlines are often cheaper for people trying to connect through their bases. China Airlines and EVA Air are both based in Taiwan and their websites have yielded me various cheap fares from Los Angeles to Asia over the last few years (once to India, another time to Indonesia).

- Get creative with your routings. Fly LAN from Sydney to Santiago, then on to Buenos Aires and Europe, Air New Zealand via Los Angeles to London, Air Mauritius from Perth, Melbourne, or Sydney to Europe, South African to London via Johannesburg or Cape Town.

- Jetstar will fly to Osaka and Ho Chi Minh City starting later this year and early in 2007, so perhaps there will be cheap deals opening those routes, from which you could connect to some other airline over to Europe.

- Maybe a simple round-the-world ticket would suit you? You'd get to see more on the way, as well. Airtreks has a neat online thingy that lets you build sample itineraries and see prices.

Finally, here's a thread I posted about using low-cost airlines to get from Indonesia to America - perhaps some places for you to look.

Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 6:43 AM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

What's the secret?

These people.
posted by mdonley at 6:45 AM on October 18, 2006

For all practical purposes, you can't get around the taxes. The taxes will vary depending on the countries you are flying through and to, and generally the more connections you have, the higher the taxes. Keep in mind that fares change on a seasonal basis—I wouldn't be surprised if you could get cheaper tickets in February (in the trans-Atlantic market, that is considered low season, while April/May is "shoulder season" but I don't know if the same applies in your market).

I say for all practical purposes, because in the U.S., if you buy a flight wholly with transportation vouchers the airline gives you e.g. for oversale-related denied boarding, you can escape some of the taxes. I don't know if this is true in Australia, but it doesn't matter since you'll have a hard time getting ahold of thousands of dollars in vouchers.
posted by grouse at 7:56 AM on October 18, 2006 usually has some of the best deals, hands down.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:19 AM on October 18, 2006

A new budget airline is flying London-Hong Kong "from only £75" - maybe you could combine something like this with a cheap flight to HK?
posted by Flashman at 8:23 AM on October 18, 2006

I feel your pain. I flew from Sydney to Vancouver via Honolulu recently. The return version of the trip was only a few hundred dollars more than the one-way.

Qantas have crazy deals to Australia at the moment (Cad$1600 from Toronto - about half of the price if you did the same trip in reverse) so maybe theres some merit in looking at overseas based travel sites.

Octopus Travel usually has better deals than Kayak.

You can minimise the taxes by reducing the number of stopovers that you have. Less fun, but less expensive. I'm usually happy to pay a little more for a better airline if I'm going to do this.

While I remember, does Emirates still depart from Perth? They have been the best Airline I've been on, had a good price and Dubai is an absolute blast! Dubai is a great stop-over destination.

I have a good Travel Agent in Brisbane that I still use. Its amazing that they still get better deals than some of the websites. Email me if you'd like me to forward there details.
posted by dantodd at 8:49 AM on October 18, 2006

Have you thought of doing the air courier route?
posted by parmanparman at 8:56 AM on October 18, 2006

As far as I know, there's no way around taxes, but I've scored some cheap Melbourne-to-London flights in the past year using This page here shows some Cathay Pacific return flights from Adelaide to UK/Europe for AU$1429 + tax in May 2007.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:14 PM on October 18, 2006

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