For years Qantas has been operating flights to nowhere. Since the start of the pandemic, the airline has upped its game with the latest offering set to appeal to eager astronomy fans. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be enlisted to allow passengers from Sydney to get even closer to the second supermoon of 2021.
Since the start of the current crisis affecting the aviation industry, flights to nowhere have risen in popularity. This is as passengers on such flights are not subject to entry restrictions given that they originated at their destination. Qantas has a long history of operating flights to nowhere, with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking over following the retirement of the Australian flag carrier’s Boeing 747s.
Supermoon scenic flight
On May 26th, the moon will be at its closest point while orbiting the earth. The situation, known as perigee, will see the mood coming within 357,311 kilometers (222,022 miles) of the earth. Between 21:11 and 21:25 Australian time on that day, a total lunar eclipse will also occur. This means that the earth will perfectly pass between the moon and the sun, causing it to go dark temporarily.
To celebrate this rare double phenomenon, the Australian flag carrier will be taking a group of just over 100 passengers out over the Pacific Ocean to get an optimum view of the event. The flight’s pilots will work with astronomer Dr. Vanessa Moss to ensure this.
What should passengers on the flight expect?
The flight will last for around three hours. While aircraft typically cruise lower, Qantas will take the 787 right up to 43,000 feet, its maximum cruise altitude, to avoid as much atmospheric disturbance as is possible.
Onboard, the airline will theme its catering around the flight. As a result, lucky ticket holders will be treated to “cosmic cocktails and supermoon cakes”. The Qantas Boeing 787 has around 66 window seats. It also boasts the largest windows found in the Qantas fleet, meaning that the view should hopefully be available to those not in the window seats too.
Tickets for this lunar liftoff will go on sale tomorrow at mid-day (Australian time). Fares will start at AU$499 ($392) for the economy cabin, AU$899 ($706) for the premium economy cabin, and AU$1,499 ($1,177) for the business cabin.
Commenting on the mission, Chief Customer Office Stephanie Tully said,
“We are very excited to now be doing a supermoon scenic flight and the 787 has the largest windows of any passenger aircraft so it’s ideal for moon gazing. We think this flight has great appeal for anyone with a passion for astronomy, science, space photography, aviation or just keen to do something a little ‘out of this world’.”
Not the first sightseeing flight to nowhere
This isn’t Qantas’ first dabble into offering flights to nowhere. For years, the airline has been operating sightseeing charter flights to Antarctica. These used to be performed by the Boeing 747, but since its retirement, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has taken over.
Last year, the Australian flag carrier operated a mammoth day trip from Syndey. One of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners flew up the Australian coast before heading to Ayers Rock and then back to Sydney. The triangle journey lasted around eight hours.
What do you make of Qantas’ latest flight to nowhere? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!