This is an update regarding international flights from Australia. International Safety and Security is working with study abroad offices to track when students have returned or plan on returning and those students who refuse to depart. We note that you plan to depart Oceania on March 22 or later OR we do not have information related to your plans. For some, we know that you have refused to depart study abroad. (If this information is incorrect and you have already returned or are returning before March 22, please let us know.) Given developments in Oceania, we again strongly encourage you to depart as soon as possible. If you refuse to depart to depart study abroad, and have not already done so, you must sign the Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability immediately. You can read more about refusal to depart on our FAQs.
While limited flights are occurring now, Virgin Airlines has halted international flights. Qantas Airlines announced halting all international flights before the end of March. Qantas does not plan to restart flights for at least two months. The U.S. Embassies in Australia and New Zealand released messages that the respective countries will not allow international travelers entry as soon as March 19. If something happens, your emergency contacts may be unable to travel to you. Likewise, you may be unable to travel to them in an emergency at home. We also note that national governments may impose additional restrictions on borders and movements within a country with little or no notice. Given these conditions, you should depart Oceania as soon as possible.
We encourage you to work with your travel agent or airline to plan your departure soon or move your departure forward if possible. You should consider flying to any U.S. airport instead of delaying for a direct flight to your nearest U.S. airport. If you do not have a ticket, you can work with Corporate Travel Planners or Direct Travel to make arrangements. Instructions for making arrangements are below.
It is unknown how much longer international flights will continue as they depend on host nation restrictions and airline demand. If you fail to depart before international flights cease, you should be prepared to stay in place until they resume. The timeframe is unknown, but may last two months or longer. The University will be unable to provide travel or accommodation assistance to you.
Regardless of when you are departing, it is important to stay informed of country developments related to COVID-19. You should monitor the local U.S. Embassy website for information, as well as the U.S. Embassy of any layover destination. If you have not done so, you should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which allows U.S. Embassies to send updates directly to you.
For assistance booking a flight:
First, we encourage students to contact the airline carrier or travel agent who booked your ticket and request a change. Most major airlines are waiving change fees but be sure to ask.
If you cannot rebook your ticket from your original ticketing party or if you do not have a return ticket, you can contact Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) at email@example.com or by phone at 210-524-3317 during business hours from Monday to Friday. After 7pm CST, contact 1-303-801-2331 and select the business option. Reference “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Study Abroad Evacuation” when calling. Outside of office hours, email is the best method to contact CTP.
Another option is Direct Travel, a local travel agency also working with the University. Email is best for making contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to supply the following info to start the process:
- Full Name
- Passport #
- Where you are right now
- Nearest Airport
- Where do you need to fly into
Once you supply that information, they will find a flight and send the ticket/itinerary info. If you cannot email, the phone contact for them is: 1-888-677-8728. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm central.
If unable to book a flight through CTP, please contact email@example.com for additional assistance.
Tickets and rebooking completed through university assistance will be billed directly to the University. If you pay yourself you may submit a request for reimbursement within 30 days from your departure from your host country. Any request must include receipts and supporting documentation. The reimbursement form can be found here: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/6651617.