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Why is domestic travel so expensive and when will it get cheaper?

With international travel banned for the foreseeable future and many state borders closed, Australians are not currently straying very far from home.

The New South Wales-Victoria border is the only one that remains open and people are allowed to move between the states if they need.

Despite Sydney to Melbourne being the second-busiest flight route in the world, there are currently no return trips without stopovers available until June 12.

Return flights between the destinations include overnight stops in other cities and cost up to $1800 – the price of a trip to London and back before the coronavirus.

But aviation experts say what goes up must come down, and there will be a sweet spot for cheap flights just in time for the July school holidays.

Below are some examples of domestic trips in June between Sydney and Melbourne and what they would cost one economy traveller, not including baggage or any extras.

(Graphic: Tara Blancato)

JUNE TRAVEL

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Friday, June 5

Cheapest flight: $215 – Jetstar

Cheapest direct flight: $1496– Qantas

Most expensive flight: $1496– Qantas

Details: The cheapest flight takes 28 hours and stops in Adelaide. The Qantas flight is direct.

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Sunday, June 14

Cheapest flight: $190 – Jetstar

Cheapest direct flight: $246 – Jetstar

Most expensive flight: $966 – Qantas

Details: The cheapest flight takes 28 hours and stops in Adelaide. The Qantas flight is direct.

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Monday, June 15

Cheapest flight: $123 – Virgin Australia

Cheapest direct flight:  $123 – Virgin Australia

Most expensive flight: $483 – Virgin Airways

Details: Both flights are direct.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Friday, June 5

Cheapest flight: $228 – Jetstar

Most expensive flight: $1466 – Virgin

Details: The cheapest flight takes 27 hours and stops in Adelaide. The most expensive takes 25 hours and stops in overnight Brisbane. No direct flights available this day.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Sunday, June 14

Cheapest flight: $210 – Jetstar

Cheapest direct flight: $246 – Jetstar

Most expensive flight: $871 – Virgin

Details: The cheapest flight takes 24 hours and stops overnight in Adelaide. The most expensive stops twice – in Brisbane and Canberra – and takes 49 hours.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Monday, June 15

Cheapest flight: $137 – Virgin

Cheapest direct flight: $137 – Virgin

Most expensive flight: $1096 – Qantas

Details: The most expensive flight takes six hours and stops in Brisbane and Canberra.

(Graphic: Tara Blancato)

How long will this last?

It’s good news for travellers because prices will plunge in July, just in time for the school holidays.

Neil Hansford, Chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, told 9news.com.au the cost of a return trip between Sydney and Melbourne will drop below pre-pandemic prices.

He said the airlines will “go from ramping up to a price war”, plus people who usually travel to Queensland during the cooler months will be lured elsewhere.

“It will be great for NSW in the bushfire area, there will be a boom in NSW and Victoria,” Mr Hansford said.

“They can’t go on a cruise ship, they can’t go to Bali or Thailand – where else will they go?”

Mr Hansford said there will be a sweet spot for cheap domestic travel between July and October, but prices will start to rise again after that.

“My expectation is after COVID, when we start again you’ll never see fares as expensive as before the pandemic,” he said.

In July, travellers will be able to fly return to Sydney to Melbourne, and vice-versa, for less than $200 – even if they travel during peak times such as Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.

Below are some examples of domestic trips in July between Sydney and Melbourne, and what they would cost one economy traveller, not including baggage or any extras.

(Graphic: Tara Blancato)

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Wednesday, July 1

Cheapest direct flight: $86 – Jetstar 

Most expensive direct flight: $160 – Qantas

Details: There are 23 direct flights this day.

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Friday, July 3

Cheapest direct flight: $132 – Jetstar  

Most expensive direct flight: $160 – Qantas

Details: There are 23 direct flights this day.

Sydney-Melbourne

Departing: Monday, July 6

Cheapest direct flight: $93 – Jetstar  

Most expensive direct flight: $160 – Qantas

Details: There are 20 direct flights this day.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Wednesday, July 1

Cheapest direct flight: $76 – Jetstar 

Most expensive direct flight: $160 – Qantas

Details: There are 23 direct flights this day.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Friday, July 3

Cheapest direct flight: $93 – Jetstar  

Most expensive direct flight: $195 – Qantas

Details: There are 23 direct flights this day.

Melbourne-Sydney

Departing: Monday, July 6

Cheapest direct flight: $86 – Jetstar  

Most expensive direct flight: $160 – Qantas

Details: There are 23 direct flights this day.

Flight information is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Source: 9News

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