Kids with a thing for dinosaurs will be begging their parents to take them out to Winton on one of Alliance Airlines’ upcoming scenic flights. Or parents could leave their kids with nana and skip out of town for a day wandering among dinosaur bones and fossils and a spot of lunch. Like many other airlines, Brisbane-based Alliance Airlines is venturing into scenic day trips, and they are putting an interesting twist on their flights out west.
Alliance Airlines sends Fokker 70 jets out to Winton
In what they hope will be the first of a series of ongoing scenic day trips, Alliance Airlines will send one of its Fokker 70 jets out to Winton for the day on Saturday, May 15, July 3, and September 18.
The dusty western Queensland town of Winton is 1,357 kilometers northwest of Brisbane. Less than 1000 people live there. Aside from the occasional Rex service from Townsville, the local airport doesn’t see many commercial passenger planes. And certainly not planes the size of Alliance’s 80 seat Fokker 70 jets.
Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield says these flights will appeal to people looking for a unique, short break to the outback.
“We are hopeful that with the support of the public, we will not only be able to add to the number of planned departures but also consider extending this program to other parts of the Queensland Outback in 2022.”
Winton a dinosaur hotspot
Besides some very big landscapes and skies, Winton is a dinosaur hotspot with some of the world’s best-preserved dinosaur fossils. The town is part of the Dinosaur Trail, and the area is thick with their fossils and bones. Nearby, there is fossilized evidence of a stampede that inspired the stampede scene in Jurrasic Park and ancient marine reptile fossils.
Included in Alliance’s day trip price is entry to local attractions like the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and the Dinosaur Canyon. The price, including flights, entry to these sites, transfers, and lunch in the local pub, is US$532 per person. If your dinosaur mad kid is keen to go, fear not. If they are 14 years or under, the price is only US$501. There would be a lot of lawns mowed to earn that day out.
“Alliance Airlines deserves credit for thinking outside of the square to launch day trips to Winton in partnership with local tour operators and attractions,” says Queensland politician Stirling Hinchliffe.
Airlines put a twist on scenic flights
These types of scenic flights, or day trips, aren’t new, but they’ve taken on a new lease of life since the travel downturn. Airlines are looking to keep some planes and crews in the air. They are also a good marketing exercise and generate some positive news about the airline brand.
What is newer is the on-the-ground value-adding. Plenty of airlines will take you up in the air, feed you, and spin you back to the ground after a few hours and dress it up as a big day out.
Not so many take you somewhere, lay on a day’s worth of activities, and then fly you home for the one inclusive price.
One of the airlines doing so is Qantas. That airline is a local competitor and part-owner of Alliance Airlines. Qantas has recently operated day trips to Uluru (called a flight to somewhere) and is now running a series of mystery flight day trips. The most recent was to a regional city in New South Wales and included a blowout lunch in a vineyard. Qantas can sell out a Boeing 737 in minutes and generate considerable buzz laying on stuff like that.
Alliance Airlines looks keen to get a piece of the action. If you are based in or around Brisbane over the next few months, Alliance’s Winton dinosaur day flights might hit the spot.