“Flights to nowhere” have become popular among airlines, including All Nippon Airways, EVA Air, Starlux, Royal Brunei, as a means of filling aircraft and offering passengers a unique experience when many borders are closed. Qantas announced last month that it will revive its 12-hour flights over Antarctica, and today, tickets for its local sightseeing flight sold out rapidly.
Qantas will operate one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners on a sightseeing flight over Australian landmarks on 10 October as the airline continues to grapple with Australia’s rigid state border closures. Tickets for the Great Southern Land 787 flight became available today, and sold out in 10 minutes – the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history, according to the airline. 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.
The fastest-selling flight in Qantas history, according to the airline.
The 134 seats sold out at a cost of A$787 (US$574) each for economy (104 seats), $1,787 for premium economy (24 seats) and $3,787 for business class (six seats). Passengers will be treated to a pre-flight breakfast in Sydney and an onboard lunch menu designed by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry. They will also receive a commemorative certificate, Qantas pyjamas, an amenity kit, a gift bag and the opportunity to participate in a live auction of Qantas Boeing 747 memorabilia.
The flight comes as the airline is calling on its passengers to lobby for the reopening of Australia’s state borders. Qantas is currently restricted in its domestic operations due to border closures between states. While a number of Australians states have been virus-free for some time, border restrictions remain. The airline is calling for decisions on domestic border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a COVID hotspot. The state of Victoria has been experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 which has resulted in reimposed restrictions on travel to and from the state.
“There is huge pent up demand for domestic travel with Australians wanting to get away on holiday after being stuck at home. We want to see Australians reunite with loved ones after months of being separated. And we want to see local businesses, and the one million people in the tourism industry, get back to work,” the airline said in a call for support.