Thousands of words have been spilt over the plight of Australians stranded overseas. One expert ‘points hacker’ may have the answer. For those brave enough, that is…
Immanuel Debeer, founder (and chief points nerd) at Flight Hacks recently took to Instagram with a radical ‘proposed route’ of getting to Australia, if you are currently languishing abroad.
“If you’re stuck overseas and are game to travel hack your way back to Australia in style… this one’s for you. Here’s what you need to do,” Debeer wrote on Instagram.
- Head over to Expedia.it (yes the Italian site, more on that later).
- Run a multi city search: KRT-DXB-(your Australian city of choice) in business.
- Buy a ticket to Dubai from wherever you live (no need to use Expedia.it, whatever is cheapest). This is your “positioning flight”. Could use points for this as it offers extra flexibility.
“Total cost will be around €1500, depending on how much it costs to fly to Dubai. (Dubai to Sydney is €722 with this hack!)”
“Here’s the cool part. Naturally, you don’t want to go to Sudan to start the itinerary. Good thing is that our Italian bureaucrats are batting for your team! As long as your ticket is sold in Italy you can skip legs of your flight without the whole flight being cancelled!”
“This means you can no-show for KRT-DXB, call the airline and explain you missed the flight but will catch the Dubai-Australia one instead. Boom [you’re] now you’re on your way to enjoy 2 weeks prison camp in Australia.”
Debeer admits there are “potential risks” to his plan (“my theory might be completely wrong”) and says, “Emirates might cancel your flight last minute meaning you spend money to get to Dubai for nothing. Etc etc.”
“Any way, who knows. This might help some crazy person. Bookings available starting at the end of April from what I can see.”
Some Instagram commenters on Debeer’s page loved it, others remained unconvinced.
“Looks good,” one wrote, “but I think it will be very difficult to get the itinerary restored after you miss the first leg.”
“That’s why you need to book with Expedia Italy and preferably on Emirates because they specifically acknowledge the Italian law which allows you to skip legs,” Debeer responded.
“However you’re right. If they cancel your flight there might be no tickets with the same pricing available.”
In other words: risky but possible.
As for the amount of interest from actual stuck-abroad expats, Debeer told DMARGE he has “had a few messages” but he’s “not sure they will actually try it.”
When DMARGE attempted to follow the steps outlined above on Friday the 26th of February, just days after Debeer’s post, every date we tried from the end of April gave us the following message.
“We searched for flights operated by the over 400 airlines we work with, but we couldn’t find any Business flights matching the criteria set.”
There were one way Dubai to Sydney tickets still available in business class (at the time of writing), but the cheapest of these we could see cost 1,672 euros.
So: it appears either Debeer’s deal is no longer valid (these loopholes are often short-lived) or hundreds of expats got in before us and jumped on the offer (unlikely, but who knows…).
With thousands of Australians abroad having been inexplicably shafted by airlines and forced to book business class anyway (to have a hope at getting home), maybe Debeer’s strategy isn’t as mad as it seems?
The wait for the next ‘hack’ continues.