Don't wait hours on hold! Call your airline at the least busy times.
Don’t wait hours on hold! Call your airline at the least busy times.

If you’ve ever had to call an airline – especially Qantas – you’ve probably had the frustrating experience of an extended wait on hold. But it doesn’t have to be this way! By calling at off-peak times, you’ll be served much faster. So, when exactly is the best time to call Qantas and other airlines?

We’ve put together a quick guide on when to call airlines including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Etihad to get the fastest service.

When to call Qantas

Since Qantas closed most of its Australian call centres several years ago, Qantas call centre wait times have been frustratingly long. Unless you have Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer status, it’s not uncommon to spend hours on hold waiting to speak to somebody. Qantas does sometimes offer a call-back service, which can be useful. But this doesn’t reduce the overall waiting time.

In general, the best time to call is early in the morning (say, between 5am and 8am AEDT). Late on Saturday or Sunday evening can also be a good time to call. However, beware that you’re less likely to be put through to the “premium” call centre in Hobart if you call on the weekend. The Hobart staff are generally more experienced than their counterparts in Auckland, Manila and Cape Town.

The Australian phone number for the Qantas call centre is 13 13 13. To get in touch with the Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre, call 13 11 31. (For overseas contact numbers, see the Qantas website.)

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Best time to Call QANTAS?

When to call Virgin Australia

Unless there are major disruptions across the Virgin Australia network, the wait times for the Virgin Australia and Velocity call centres are generally much lower. You’ll rarely need to wait more than a few minutes to speak to somebody.

Virgin Australia operates two main Philippines-based call centres. The Guest Contact Centre, for reservations and general enquires, can be reached on 13 67 89 and is open 24/7.

For Velocity Frequent Flyer reward seat bookings, you’ll need to call the Velocity Contact Centre on 13 18 75. This call centre is open daily from 7.30am to 10.30pm AEDT. In our experience, the best time to call is right on opening at 7.30am (but you usually won’t wait long at other times anyway).

When to call Etihad Airways

You’ll need to call Etihad Airways if you ever want to redeem Etihad Guest miles for flights on any of Etihad’s partner airlines, such as Virgin Australia or Royal Air Maroc. In general, pulling your hair out is likely to be more fun than calling Etihad. The airline operates call centres in multiple countries, but the staff in the UK and Serbia-based call centres are by far the most competent. To save your sanity, we recommend calling during European business hours in the hope you’ll be transferred to one of these two call centres. This means calling during the evening or early hours of the morning if you’re in Australia.

The Australian phone number for the Etihad Guest call centre is 1300 532 215.

When to call Singapore Airlines

The Singapore Airlines call centre is generally very good, but make sure that you call the Australian number (in order to be put through to Singapore)! Dialling 02 8228 1188 will put you through to the Singapore-based call centre. The best time to call is during the morning, or otherwise during Singaporean business hours when the call centre staffing levels are highest.

For more tips on calling Singapore Airlines, see Singapore Airlines Call Centre Frustration.

When to call Cathay Pacific/Asia Miles

To book an award flight using Asia Miles that is not available online, you’ll need to call 1800 129 264. In general, the wait times can be long and the quality of the service provided is variable. Calling early in the morning is usually the best time and you may receive faster service if you select the Cantonese language option (and you can speak Cantonese).

When to call American Airlines

When you call American Airlines AAdvantage from Australia on 02 9101 1948, you’ll more than likely be put through to the Fiji-based call centre. The staff there are usually good and the wait times aren’t too high. As the call centre is located in Fiji, calling early in the morning (at the start of the Fijian business day but before most Australians are ringing in) is the best time. If you call late in the evening, you are more likely to be transferred to the Japan-based call centre.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]