Qantas ‘flight to nowhere’ sells out in 10 minutes

Daniel Fowler
September 20, 2020

The seven-hour scenic flight, which will depart from and land in Sydney, will include low-level flybys of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay, Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach.

Tough border restrictions to keep the coronavirus under control have led to a 97.5 percent plunge in global travel in the region, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

"It's a real indication of our addiction to flying that we would board a flight to nowhere", Anna Hughes, director of Flight Free UK, tells The Independent.

Departing and returning on 10 October, the flight won't stop anywhere, but gives passengers the change to enjoy views over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and other landmarks.

Tickets for the flight, named "Great Southern Land", went for between $787 and $3,787 depending on where you sit and what class you're in.

"It's probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history", she said.

"So many of our frequent flyers are used to being on a plane every other week and have been telling us they miss the experience of flying as much as the destinations themselves", said Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, in a statement provided to Simple Flying today.

Mr Joyce said considering the demand for this new kind of travel Qantas will "definitely" look at scheduling more scenic flights.

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Taiwan's EVA used one of its iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a special Father's Day flight last month, while ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that usually flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian experience on board.

Tickets costing around $228 for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei that will circle over South Korea's Jeju Island reportedly sold out in four minutes.

The pandemic has forced airlines around the world to halt or reduce flights.

All of the economies where the flights are on offer have relatively low numbers of Covid-19 cases by global standards.

Qantas has not ruled out organising more scenic flights, an initiative taken up by airlines in Asian countries also desperate to keep pilots working.

The Singapore carrier said it is considering several initiatives but no final decision has been made on whether to offer sightseeing flights.

The flight will be carbon balanced out and run on a cost-neutral basis, Qantas stated, amidst some issues being raised on social networks over the ecological effect of such flights. Tbh an aisle seat feels kind of pointless on a scenic flight, but so too does this whole thing, soooo ¯_ (ツ) _/¯.

Last month, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that the coronavirus pandemic had led to the worst financial climate in the company's 100-year history and that worldwide flights were unlikely to resume before summer 2021.

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