Australian airline Qantas has looked to the past for a new money-making idea, resurrecting the concept of ‘mystery flights’ – something that the airline hasn’t operated since the 1990s. But with COVID-19 border restrictions still in force and Australians banned from travelling abroad until the end of June at the earliest, Qantas has decided that now is the perfect time to surprise passengers with mystery flights.
Three decades ago, passengers would turn up at the airport and be allocated a random seat on a scheduled flight to any of Qantas’ leisure destinations across Australia. Today, passengers will not only be given a few hints as to where Qantas plans to take them but the flight will also be bundled with a whole day of activities.
There are three mystery flights to choose from with departures from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The flight from Sydney will appeal to people who like the tropics and long lunches on the beach, while the mystery flight from Brisbane is for people who like country hospitality and gourmet food and drink. Finally, the flight from Melbourne is for passengers looking to enjoy the great outdoors and gourmet food and drink.
“Our customers tell us that where they can and can’t travel within Australia has been a bit of a mystery lately,” commented Qantas’ group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully.
“The vaccine rollout is bringing a lot more certainty and domestic border restrictions should soon be a thing of the past. In the meantime, these flights turn that mystery into a positive by creating a unique experience for the many people keen to start travelling again,” Tully continued.
Each destination is around a two-hour flight from the city they depart from and will include “low-level scenic flybys of key landmarks en route”. Activities organised for the day could include winemaking courses or lunch with live entertainment but passengers won’t know for certain until the day itself.
All passengers have to do is turn up at the airport in time for departure – although Qantas will provide a few more clues so that they can pack appropriately for their mystery destination.
Tickets are due to go on sale at midday on Thursday, March 4 and if demand is anything like Qantas’ other special pandemic flights, they are likely to sell out very quickly.
When Qantas launched a sightseeing ‘flight to nowhere’ last year, the 150 available tickets sold out in just 10-minutes, although the idea has since evolved because of environmental concerns.
Last December, the airline also organised a ‘flight to somewhere’ with passengers dining under the stars at Uluru before flying back to Sydney the next day. The mystery flights, however, will be a lot cheaper with Economy tickets starting at just A$737 – around 70 per cent cheaper than the ‘flight to somewhere’.
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.