As Australian flag carrier airline Qantas struggles through the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it has sold out all seats on its first ‘flight to nowhere’ in just 10 minutes.
Unable to fly anywhere due to the travel restrictions, the airline has decided instead to fly nowhere, and has found great demand.
The seven hour flight takes passengers on a scenic round trip from Sydney around parts of the island continent and over the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales
The flight is one of the fastest selling in the airline’s 99 year history.
“It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history,” according to a Qantas spokesperson.
“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.”
With travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is apparent that many Australians are desperate to just get out and see what exists beyond their immediate sphere — even if they can’t be their physically.
The flight with its 134 seats departs and returns on 10 October, and will give passengers views of Uluru (previously known as Ayer’s Rock), Kata Tjuta, the Whitsundays, Gold Coast, Australia’s most easterly point of Byron Bay and of course Sydney Harbour.
Seats on the Boeing 787 sold for £445 and up to £2,145 depending on the class of fare.
For those who want to have a bird’s eye view of another continent, Qantas is now also planning with Antartica Flights’ joy flights’ to Antartica.
The 13-hour flight will take passengers on a roundtrip from Melbourne to fly over the uninhabited continent in planes that were orginally planned for the UK-Australia nonstop route.
The cost will be upwards of upwards of £656 for the flight which will be mainly over the sea, with about four hours over the frozen continent.
“While over Antarctica, most passengers get up from their seats and move about the aircraft, allowing everyone on board to enjoy excellent viewing opportunities,” says the company.
“The aircraft flies in long sweeping ‘figure-eights’ over various points of interest to allow these spectacular sights to be viewed from both sides of the aircraft.”
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas said the flights should “provide inspiration” for future trips once travel restrictions ease, first on domestic flights and then on international destinations.
“Just six months ago, we would have never imagined not being able to jump on a plane and visit family interstate or take a holiday internationally,” Joyce said.
“While we may not be able to take you overseas right now, we can certainly provide inspiration for future trips to some of Australia’s most beautiful destinations. We could be on the cusp of a domestic tourism boom given international borders are likely to be restricted for some time,” he said.
“This flight, and possibly more like it, means work for our people, who are more enthusiastic than anyone to see aircraft back in the sky.”