Who would want to book a seven-hour Qantas flight to nowhere? In the age of coronavirus and border closures, apparently lots of people!
Earlier today, Qantas released 134 seats for sale on a seven-hour scenic joy flight that departs and arrives in Sydney. The Boeing 787 flight will take place on 10 October 2020 and travel over New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. After going on sale at midday, the seats sold out in around 10 minutes.
Economy class seats were sold on this flight for $787, while Premium Economy cost $1,787 and Business $3,787.
The Great Southern Land scenic flight, as Qantas is calling it, will take in the following Australian sights from the air:
Depart from Sydney and fly up the New South Wales coast before crossing the Queensland border for a flyby of the Gold Coast and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef. The aircraft will then track across Australia to do low level flybys of Uluru and Kata Tjuta before heading back to Sydney for a late afternoon flyover of Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach.
With the Queensland border currently closed to NSW residents, this may be the only opportunity Sydneysiders have of “crossing the Queensland border” for a little while. As this flight is due to take place just one day after Northern Territory reopens travel from Sydney, this choice of words in Qantas’ description appears quite deliberate. Qantas has also been emailing its frequent flyers today, encouraging them to sign their petition to safely reopen state borders which was launched last week. This petition already had 16,000 signatures before Qantas started emailing its customers.
What the Great Southern Land scenic flight includes
Those lucky passengers that managed to book tickets on the Great Southern Land scenic flight from Sydney will meet at the Qantas domestic business lounge for breakfast at 8am, before the flight numbered QF787 departs at 10.30am. A lunch menu “designed by Neil Perry” will be served during the flight.
Not all seats on the aircraft have been sold. It looks like Qantas has blocked out the middle seats in Premium Economy and Economy, to provide more space to passengers on this sightseeing flight. Some Business class seats have also been reserved for sale to Platinum One members.
There will be no in-flight entertainment, which will not resume on any Qantas flights until next year. But there will be a surprise celebrity host. Passengers will also receive Qantas business class pyjamas, an amenity kit and gift bag – similar to the care packs Qantas sold last month.
Qantas did not allow the use of travel credits or gift vouchers to book a seat on QF787, but passengers will earn frequent flyer points and status credits. Economy class passengers will earn 40 status credits, with 80 status credits given in Premium Economy and 160 status credits in Business. No tier status bonuses apply to the earning of points.
Numerous Australian Frequent Flyer members managed to secure seats on this flight, which looks to be a fun day!
With seats selling out so quickly, perhaps Qantas will consider operating more joy flights over the coming months? It’s certainly a clever way to keep some of the Boeing 787s and their pilots active at a time of reduced flying.
This event is also a cheaper alternative to the scenic Antarctic Boeing 787 flights starting from November.
Qantas isn’t the only airline running flights to nowhere
Several other airlines have already started selling flights to nowhere, and they’ve been surprisingly popular. Last month, EVA Air operated a special Father’s Day flight from Taipei to Taipei, with tickets available from around $247 each.
Singapore Airlines is also apparently planning three-hour flights to nowhere. In the case of Singapore, there are no domestic flights. So with border restrictions in place, these kinds of flights may be the only realistic opportunity for some people to take to the skies at the moment.
These joy flights are proving popular. But some critics have questioned whether it’s responsible for airlines to generate carbon emissions operating flights to nowhere.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: A seven-hour scenic flight around Australia ?