Qantas raised more than a few eyebrows when tickets on a 7-hour flight to nowhere sold out in just 10 minutes. But when that flight took place over the weekend, it proved a huge hit with passengers including AFF members.
The scenic Dreamliner flight, appropriately numbered QF787, departed Sydney at 10.43am on Saturday morning. It then flew for 8 hours and 26 minutes – longer than planned – before arriving back at Sydney Airport at 7.09pm. During its epic sightseeing flight above Australia, QF787 travelled north along the New South Wales and Queensland coasts before turning towards Uluru.
There were low-level flybys of Sydney Harbour, the Gold & Sunshine Coasts, Hamilton Island & the Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru. Experts were even on hand to provide commentary about the Whitsundays and Uluru.
With Queensland’s border still closed to most of New South Wales, this was about as close to Queensland as Sydneysiders can get at the moment. But in case any of the passengers needed any more encouragement to visit Queensland again – once the border reopens – Sunshine Coast locals were waiting on the beach with a message.
Following breakfast in the Qantas Business Lounge, the dining continued with lunch on board the flight. Qantas’ celebrity chef Neil Perry was even on hand to plate his own menu.
Captain Alex Passerini described the scenic flight as an “amazing experience”.
“Everything that we planned came off, the weather was superb, everything was perfect. The traffic levels were down so we got to do everything that we wanted to do. And the reception around the country was incredible – from air traffic controllers, from other pilots – it was really, really humbling,” Passerini said.
Several Australian Frequent Flyer members were on board the flight, and they have echoed the positive sentiments.
OMG it was SO epic!!! Party atmosphere on board, great people, incredible sightseeing, new friends & an awesome day!!
Our moderator Princess Fiona was also on board and shared a great photo with Captain Lisa Norman, where Neil Perry also makes a cameo.
I have a million pics but this one with Captain Lisa is going straight to the pool room. What an absolutely amazing flight
The airline has copped a little bit of criticism for the flight, with some calling it a waste of money and others questioning the environmental impact of a flight to nowhere. Qantas has said it will offset the carbon emissions generated by this flight.
But for the lucky passengers, Saturday was a joyful day to remember. Given the huge amount of free press Qantas has received from all over the world – not just on this website and in Australian mainstream media, but even from places like France and Brazil – it was also a great publicity stunt for Qantas and Australian tourism.
QF787 was one of the fastest-selling flights in Qantas history. After receiving such a great reception, Qantas has indicated it could plan more such scenic flights. With many Australians itching to return to the skies, the airline shouldn’t have any trouble selling tickets. Qantas will officially turn 100 years old next month – perhaps something is planned to celebrate its centenary?
You can read all about the experience and see lots of photos taken by frequent flyers on board QF787 on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Great Southern Land Scenic Flight – 10 October 2020
AFF member NSun, who was sitting in Premium Economy on this flight, has also prepared a detailed trip report with some great photos: Great Southern Land Scenic Flight a.k.a. “The Flight to Nowhere”