Say What?? Fare Alert – $186 Roundtrip to Australia!

Virgin Australia and its joint venture partners are actually offering a $186 roundtrip fare between Dallas and Melbourne, Australia. That’s not a typo.

The fare is apparently available through early December, then again from late January through May as reported by The Flight Deal.

Searching most sites for it — and availability at this price isn’t great — I can come up with a fare of $281.

However picking the same dates at gets that lower $186 pricing for the same flights.

Key rules for fare basis QLE0ZEMF:

  • Outbound travel permitted October 26 through December 10 or January 12 through May 31
  • Tickets must be issued by November 8 — but this fare will never last that long
  • $200 change fee (and technically a $400 cancellation fee to refund but you’d never choose to pay that)

You’ll fly Dallas – Los Angeles on Delta and then Los Angeles – Melbourne on Virgin Australia (or Los Angeles – Brisbane – Melbourne). Priceline is a great place to book this in any case, they’ll honor a 24 hour courtesy cancellation policy on the tickets.

Since we don’t know for certain how airlines will feel about such a deep discount airfare sale, whether they might get seller’s remorse, I’d wait a few days after buying tickets before making additional non-refundable travel plans around the fare.

In theory an airline refusing to honor a sale like this would have to reimburse any out of pocket costs you incurred but there’s not much history with enforcement of that particular DOT statement so I’d still not test it.

(HT: Pizza in Motion)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That’s one great deal Gary. I know I can’t sit in coach more than a few hours, but for those who can, wow!!

  2. Looks like it’s not being honoured by Priceline – my booking now isn’t showing in My Trips and the VA PNR didn’t come up at all on their website. 🙁

  3. My hometown airport is Knoxville, TN. When I see great deals that fly from major cities, I assume that it won’t usually be a good deal from me since I also have to get from TYS to DFW. Same thought on the current United deal from Lax to Singapore.

    Is that true? How do folks like me in the hinterlands take advantage of these kinds of bargains?


  4. Is it really so hard sitting in coach these days…. especially if it’s an airline like Singapore Airlines? Just curious, haven’t flown long trip for a while now.

  5. If one were to sit in coach for 15+ hours, the Virgin Australia 777 would be one of the least bad options … 3-3-3 seating, at least 32 inch pitch, and decent free-flowing booze. FAs are generally very good and often exceptional, even down the back.

  6. Guys, 80+ percent of the passengers sit in coach on these flights every day of the week. Almost all of them (except those needing assistance in the first place) get off under their own power and go on their way none the worse for wear. For me the secret is to get up to go to the bathroom every 90 minutes whether I need to or not. I know Gary has millions and millions of miles and can afford to go first class everywhere, but that’s not true for lots of people. For $185.86 to Australia (if honored, or other great fares we see sometimes), you can put up with it.

  7. @Banjo J.: Similar situation, but for me I just have to see if the positioning flight cost added to the mistake fare makes it still worthwhile. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Although I have occasionally found mistake fares that work with my local-area Midwestern airports – sometimes not the same deals as the ones that grab the big headlines

  8. I was able to book this, but my DAL-LAX leg is on Virgin America with Virgin Australia flight numbers. Where do you post these miles to? I imagine you cant post to Alaska since its VA marketed. And Delta wont accept VA numbers in that flight range.

  9. Well I finally received notice that they are not going to honor the ticket. They also said they had not charged my credit card, but it is clearly on my online statement. Seems if they take the money, then we have a contract. I had been able to book two tickets for a total of $411.

  10. I am a neophyte flyer but I do NOT understand how an airline sells you a ticket then at some point after the transaction sends you an email stating that they are not going to honor the ticket. What kind of scam is this?

  11. @M Cheline – You can’t pick up the flight in LA. If you don’t take a flight, the airline cancels the rest of your reservation.

    You can likely get off in LA on the way back though since (as your first entry into the United States) you will get your bag and recheck it. You just will take your bag and leave the airport and the rest of your reservation (that you don’t plan on taking) will cancel when you don’t show.

    Airlines don’t like it, so I wouldn’t make a habit of that.

  12. @Banjo J: I’m in Knoxville too and have found some great deals in and out of here. But if not, my hub and I drive to Nashville quite often and hop on SW flights. Super cheap and hardly ever late. They will get you to DFW on time 🙂

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