Flying internationally is often a markedly improved experience, compared to taking a domestic flight. The aircraft used on international routes are often more comfortable than planes designed for short-haul flying. The lounges in international terminals are also significantly better – especially if you happen to enjoy access to Qantas’ First class lounges in Melbourne and Sydney.
Normally you would need to actually fly overseas in order to use the international terminal. But there are some exceptions. Jetstar occasionally operates domestic tag flights within Australia, with the flights departing from and arriving at international terminals. These flights generally continue onwards to an international destination, but tickets can be bought for just the domestic tag leg. For example, Jetstar operates routes including Melbourne-Brisbane-Bali and Sydney-Cairns-Tokyo. All of these flights are operated by wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft featuring a Business class cabin.
When taking a domestic tag flight, you’ll still need to pass through security, immigration and customs as if you were an international passenger. But you would receive a “D” sticker on your boarding pass, identifying you as a domestic passenger. You’re not allowed to purchase duty-free, but if eligible you would be able to use the lounges.
They’re a great way to access the Flounge if you’re WP, but there is no duty free allowed. If you’ve got luggage then you can only check-in <3hrs, but if you are HLO then you should be able to check-in at anytime that day.
Jetstar’s tag flights do not run to a consistent schedule, so finding them can be difficult. But one member has a trick to search them out:
I use ITA Matrix. Search for JQ flights from SYD to MEL, OOL, BNE and CNS, and select “business class or higher”. The only flights that will show are 787 flights departing from the international terminal, as no other Jetstar flights on these routes have business class. You can search for flights a month at a time.
If you’re interested, there are a number of domestic Jetstar 787 flights operating from international terminals in the coming months. Here is a list of them:
Sundays on 5, 12 & 19 February: JQ25 SYD 09:00 – CNS 10:55
Sundays from 26 February to 19 March: JQ7 SYD 09:00 – MEL 10:30
Most Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays (for at least the next few months): JQ57 MEL 14:45 – BNE 15:55
Wednesday 1 February and various other Wednesdays from 29 March: JQ15 MEL 08:10 – CNS 10:30
And for anyone hoping to try out QF’s new BNE lounge, flights departing Brisbane:
Most Thursdays (for at least the next few months), plus Mondays from 27 February onwards: JQ58 BNE 08:50 – MEL 12:15
Jetstar is currently the only airline selling domestic tickets on international tag flights within Australia. Qantas used to operate numerous tag flights, with routes including Dallas-Brisbane-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane-Manila. Qantas no longer operates any such flights. While there are other airlines currently operating domestic sectors within Australia, including Cathay Pacific and Air India, these airlines are not allowed to sell purely domestic tickets.
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