Seeking to replicate the success of a scenic “flight to nowhere” that sold out in just 10 minutes, Australian flag carrier Qantas will start offering more of the sightseeing trips but will address environmental concerns by turning them into ‘flights to somewhere’.
The first sightseeing earlier this month flight took 150 Australian’s on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip over some of Australia’s most iconic destinations including Uluru in the Northern Territory and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At some points, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner dropped down to 4,000 feet to do low-level flybys of world-famous sights like the Whitsundays.
Without directly addressing the environmental concerns some activists have raised about ‘flights to nowhere’ (prompting Singapore Airlines to reject the idea outright), Qantas says it’s now ready to evolve the concept as more domestic borders reopen.
“We were overwhelmed with the response to our scenic flight while most border restrictions were still in place. It sold out in 10 minutes and the feedback from people onboard was fantastic,” commented Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.
“Now that more borders are starting to open, we’re partnering with tourism operators on the ground to offer special flights to special destinations,” Joyce continued.
The first ‘flight to somewhere’ will take off from Sydney on a smaller Boeing 737 bound for Uluru on Saturday, 5th December with passengers staying overnight in the Red Centre and spending the evening in the Sails in the Desert hotel.
Guests will enjoy three-course dinner under the stars using native ingredients and a didgeridoo performance and an Indigenous interpretation of the night sky will complete the evening.
It will be an early start the next day, as passengers watch the sunrise over Uluru, before a hike and then brunch. Afterwards, they’ll fly back to Sydney for a second flyby past the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Tickets, however, won’t come cheap. Starting at A$2,499 per person in Economy Class, the experience is certainly on the premium end of the market. A Business Class ticket will set passengers back A$3,999 each.
Qantas claims the flights will operate with net-zero emission by offsetting any emissions with donations to traditional fire management projects in Western Australia.
Other money-making ideas from the airline have included selling unneeded Business Class pyjamas as part of a ‘care package’ after Melbourne was thrown into lockdown. The airline has also sold fully stocked bar carts from its now-retired fleet of Boeing 747s and has launched a luxe range athleisure wear.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.