Australia Urged To Consider 'Luxury Quarantine' For Returning Travellers

Pay to play.

Much has been said about Australian hotel quarantine. From ‘many tears‘ reviews to articles detailing how Sydney hotels are blowing their chance to impress on a world stage, it’s been quite the sore spot (and that’s before we get into whether Australia’s travel ban is even legal).

The latest development in the saga? Qatar Airways has called for a “luxury quarantine option” and “relaxed entry restrictions,” The Australian reports.


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This comes after public furore around the economy passenger bumping phenomenon (driven by government arrivals caps, introduced in July), which has seen a business booking frenzy and prices skyrocketing to up to $10,000 a seat for Australians looking to get home from places like Europe.

It also comes after a public announcement where Qatar Airways GCEO HE Mr Akbar Al Baker spoke about the challenges caused by passenger number restrictions, which currently limit airlines to carrying between 25 and 60 passengers per flight (compared to the 850 odd you’d normally fit on a Qatar Airways A380).

“Since March 1… we have carried 180,000 passengers and over 15,000 tonnes of cargo to Australia,” Mr. Akbar Al Baker said.

“Unfortunately due to the restrictions and the second spike of the pandemic in Australia the government has restricted us from carrying additional passengers – we have very limited capacity that we can take into Australia – and we have also a huge stress covering the cost of this very expensive flight.”

“However, we are committing to continuing operating and increasing frequency to Australia. I am proud to say today we have over 35% of the Australian international market.”

Speaking to ABC’s News Breakfast on Friday, Mr. Akbar Al Baker said the airline may need to withdraw its 16-hour flights from Doha to Australia if passenger caps aren’t relaxed.

“We have between 38 and 42 seats in our business class. And because we have such a limited number of passengers that we can carry, we have no other alternative but to maximise the yield that we get because you know very well Australia is at the end of the world,” he told ABC’s News Breakfast.

“It is a very long flight and when we carry limited numbers of passengers you can see that it puts a huge strain on our costs.”

Speaking to The Australian, Mr Al Baker has also encouraged Australia to consider giving arrivals the choice of paying for three, four or five star hotels for mandatory quarantine (rather than the ‘lucky dip‘ approach currently in place).


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There are believed to be about 18,000 Australians stuck in various places around the world, reports, “who are still struggling to come home due to a scarcity of flights during the pandemic.”

The cashed-up among them will surely be hoping the ‘pay to play [in luxury]’ approach will receive serious consideration by the Australian Federal government.

Though some travellers have been lucking into some awesome accommodation as it is, as DMARGE recently reported, even when you’re in nice digs, hotel quarantine throws up a lot of challenges (if not hidden horrors).

Suffice to say, for those keen to guarantee a ‘high end’ quarantine, if this ‘pay to stay where you want’ option is introduced, Sydney has plenty of cool hotels to offer.


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