Australia’s border open after 590 days of restricted access
Fully vaccinated Australians will finally be able to fly overseas without an exemption after 590 days of the country’s international borders being closed.
From November 1, the biggest restrictions fall away on international travel after many months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kate Jackson and her husband are on the first Qantas flight to the UK on Monday evening for a friend’s wedding that has been cancelled twice because of COVID-19.
READ MORE: New South Wales records 177 new COVID-19 cases
Ms Jackson said when her friends rebooked their wedding for November 5 they still didn’t think they would be able to get to the UK.
She said the pair were “so excited” to be jumping on the plane even though COVID-19 cases are still high in the UK.
“I’m fully vaccinated, so hopefully it wouldn’t be too much a problem for my health,” Ms Jackson said.
“I’m just more concerned about any travel implications because you have to test negative to board the flight.”
READ MORE: First Aussies prepare to fly out after lengthy travel ban
For Aussies in the US, getting a flight home has been very difficult.
Nicholas Skarajew flew from Australia for critical business.
“United were pretty much straight up front about it: well you can leave but there’s only a 50 per cent chance you can come back,” he said.
Others have been stuck for much longer, unable to even get a hugely expensive flight home on top of the thousands of dollars it costs for two weeks in hotel quarantine.
Izabella Menz is preparing to finally come home on the third flight booking she has made.
“I am ecstatic,” she said.
“I’ve been wanting to come home for a while now. It’s so good now everything’s opening back up.”
For the vaccinated, mandatory hotel quarantine ends in NSW at midnight on October 31.
Not having to quarantine upon arriving in Australia will make the journey much more bearable.
Rozlyn Collier is flying into Australia for her father’s funeral.
“Grieving, I couldn’t go into quarantine,” she said.
“I think I’d lose my mind.”
A flight from LA to Sydney has already taken off, which will be the first flight to arrive on Monday at 6am.
Australians will be able to fly to Singapore from November 8 and to Fiji from December 1.
Australia still considers Thailand higher risk, but Thai Airways is increasing flights from November 17.