Commercial Flights over Antarctica

Icebergs seen on Qantas flight 63 from Sydney to Johannesburg
Icebergs seen on Qantas flight 63 from Sydney to Johannesburg. Photo: Matt Graham.

Antarctica is home to some incredible scenery! But travelling to the southern continent is neither simple nor cheap. You can travel to Antarctica by cruise, but if you don’t have several weeks (and a lot of money!) to spare, viewing the ice continent from the air is the next best thing. The good news is that there are 3 commercial airline flights over Antarctica that offer great views from the air!

The very best views are found on the special charter flights to Antarctica that operate each summer. But these only run a few times per year and tickets are not exactly cheap! Luckily, there’s an even easier way to get a glimpse of the Antarctic icebergs.

Of the commercial airline routes that overfly Antarctica, three are entirely day flights – making them perfect for iceberg spotting! These flights are:

  • Qantas QF63 from Sydney to Johannesburg
  • Qantas QF28 from Santiago to Sydney
  • LATAM Airlines LA805 from Santiago to Melbourne
Great circle flight paths of these 3 commercial flights over Antarctica
Great circle flight paths of the 3 commercial flights over Antarctica

Unfortunately the return legs of each of these flights over Antarctica operate overnight. So they aren’t so great for viewing.

There are a few other commercial airline routes that take a southerly flight path, including Santiago-Auckland with LATAM Airlines and Buenos Aires-Auckland on Air New Zealand. But these flights operate overnight in both directions.

Now, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll definitely see icebergs. The exact flight paths taken are determined by a range of factors including the winds on the day. And there’s always a chance you might get unlucky and fly on a cloudy day. But generally your chances are pretty good! So if you’d like to get a glimpse of Antarctica on a budget, you might want to consider a trip to South Africa or Chile!

This AFF member trip report can give you an idea of what to expect: QF28 – Over the ice.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]