In exactly 4 weeks’ time, this day and this time, I would have touched down in Brisbane airport. The last time I was in Australia was more than 10 years’ ago. The destination was Perth, Western Australia and I was there on a school field trip.
I started planning for this trip based on an arbitrary budget plucked out from my financial records. I estimated it would not cost us (2 adults and 2 children) more than $8,500 for a 12 days’ road trip in Australia, airfare inclusive. Last I checked during NATAS (late August), it costs about $6,200 for two adults (6D Brisbane/Gold Coast & 6D Sydney/Hunter Valley/Port Stephens). The current exchange rate fluctuates around S$1.26 per A$1.
After much research on five airlines that plied the Singapore – Brisbane route, I settled on Singapore Airlines which cost us $3600+. It isn’t only because I am nationalistic and want to support our home grown airline but also because it offered the most suitable travel timing for the children. SIA also provided the flexibility for me to catch my return flight from Sydney.
The other four airlines I considered were Qantas, Etihad, Emirates and Air Asia.
Air Asia, being a low cost carrier, was the cheapest. The two-way fare would have saved me about $1,000 but it required additional transits and I wasn’t sure if my children could survive the 8-hour flight cooped up without entertainment.
Emirates had really good rates as well but they flew at unearthly hours so I was concerned about safety. Then just yesterday, I read that Etihad was offering $699 air fares to Brisbane as part of the NATAS promotion!
It one of those things about booking air tickets, you never know when to expect the ‘best’ deal unless of course you’ve been tracking the fares over several years and you know the seasonal trends. Then again, you must also have the flexibility to fly whenever. Not with children.