With airlines around the world grounding thousands of planes because of the Covid-19 pandemic that’s resulted in a downturn in travel, airline carriers are looking for other ways to try and generate revenue.
Some are selling much-loved in-flight PJs and in-flight meals – others have taken the next step by launching flights to nowhere.
Singapore Airlines this week announced it would be allowing customers to relive the typical flight process from check-in, to take-off and everything in-between.
Now, Qantas passengers will be allowed to experience a similar “flight to nowhere” – and no, you won’t be crossing any borders so you can put those quarantine concerns to rest.
Next month, the Australian airline will operate a special seven-hour scenic joy flight that will soar across the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales to cater for frequent flyer members desperate to experience life at 38,000 feet.
Dubbed the “Great Southern Land” scenic flight, passengers will board the airline’s famed “Emily” Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is normally reserved for international flying.
Departing from Sydney Airport on October 10, the flight will take 150 passengers on a low-level fly-by journey of some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks including Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Whitsundays, Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour.
Oh, and you won’t go hungry; passengers will dine on a specially curated Neil Perry menu.
Tickets – which weren’t going cheap – sold out within 10 minutes of going sale.
There were 150 seats listed for A$787 ($850) for an economy seat, A$1787 ($1930) for Premium and a few business class seats for A$3787 ($4,088).
“We knew this flight would be popular, but we didn’t expect it to sell out in 10 minutes,” a spokesperson said.
“It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history.”
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he hopes the flights would “provide inspiration” for future trips when domestic borders – followed international restrictions – begin to ease.
“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,” he 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.
“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.”
The flight launch comes days after the airline announced it might consider moving its headquarters from Sydney to another state, as the airline attempts to save millions of dollars amid the Covid-19 pandemic.