Qantas has become the latest airline to offer a ‘flight to nowhere’ with tickets on a seven-hour Great Southern Land scenic flight selling out in just 10-minutes. The Australian flag carrier shook off mounting criticism from environmentalists about flights with no real purpose saying that the carbon emissions from the experience would be fully offset.
“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” a spokesperson for the airline commented on Thursday. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open,” the spokesperson continued.
A total of 134 passengers will take to the skies on Qantas flight QF787 which will take off and land back at Sydney Domestic Airport on Saturday, October 10. The seven-hour scenic flight will include low-level flybys across Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour.
Operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, ticket prices ranged from A$3,787 in Business Class to just A$787 in Economy. Capacity has been capped to give passengers as much chance to enjoy the views as possible.
Along with taking in the views, passengers will be given a goody bag, a set of the iconic Qantas Business Class pyjamas, pre-flight breakfast in the Qantas lounge and live entertainment.
With international flights grounded and strict domestic interstate restrictions still hampering recovery, Qantas has been forced to think of inventive ways to raise funds. The airline has already sold ‘care packages’ containing unneeded pyjamas and inflight snacks that were going to waste in the airline’s warehouses.
Singapore Airlines is said to be actively considering its own ‘flight to nowhere’ with scenic flights from and to Changi Airport lasting around three-hours. The airline hasn’t yet made a final decision although it’s hoped the flights would kickstart domestic tourism if bundled as part of a staycation package.
If given the go-ahead, Singapore Airlines might launch the flights by the end of October but the airline has come in for heavy criticism on social media about the environmental impact on such flights. British Airways previously cancelled special Boeing 747-400 flights to celebrate its centenary after receiving flak over the impact on the environment.
Taiwan’s Eva Air has already operated one ‘Hello Kitty’ themed flight to nowhere and two more sightseeing flights are planned in October. Tigerair Taiwan and China Airlines have also operated ‘flights to nowhere’, along with Japenese carrier ANA.
Qantas has started to a new campaign in an effort to get domestic borders reopened in time for Christmas. The airline is calling on federal and state officials to agree on specific criteria that would determine whether border restrictions should be in place because of the risk of COVID-19.
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