**Update: 09/17/20 @ 04:02 UTC – Qantas advises that the flight sold out in ten minutes. “We knew it would be popular, but we didn’t expect it to sell out in ten minutes. It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” a Qantas spokesperson told Simple Flying
Qantas is laying on a seven-hour scenic flight for folks just itching to get back on a plane. In October, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will take off from Sydney and do some low level flying over key Australian landmarks. On the list are Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Whitsundays, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, and Sydney Harbour. All while sitting back and enjoying some much-missed Qantas service.
The airline says it is running the flight, called “The Great Southern Land” scenic flight because its frequent flyers are missing flying.
“So many of our frequent flyers are used to being on a plane every other week and have been telling us they miss the experience of flying as much as the destinations themselves,” said Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, in a statement provided to Simple Flying today.
Qantas overflys closed borders
Qantas is tagging the scenic flight as “border-free.” The Dreamliner will depart from Sydney on Saturday, October 10. Sydney residents are barred from traveling to much of Australia, a situation Qantas is none too happy about. So rather than flying to say, Queensland, Qantas will take Sydneysiders right over the top of Queensland. No permits required.
“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,” says Mr Joyce.
The scenic flight will track over Sydney Harbour and up the New South Wales coast. Along the way, the Dreamliner will overfly Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly mainland point. Across into Queensland, the Dreamliner will track over the Gold Coast beaches, the Sunshine Coast, and up into the Whitsunday Islands in the southern Great Barrier Reef.
Flights to promote local travel and keep people and planes in the air
From there, the plane will turn west and track over the Queensland interior before doing some low level flying over Uluru in Central Australia. Then it’s a lazy afternoon’s flying back towards Sydney and a few Qantas wines along the way.
“Australia is a great land and home to unique wonders like Uluru and the Whitsundays, so we know that it will be truly special to experience this beautiful country from the comfort and freedom of the sky,” adds Mr Joyce.
Qantas says it’s using the flight to promote travel within Australia. There isn’t much of that happening at the moment. But Qantas is running a fierce campaign to get interstate borders re-opened. That includes taking out full paid advertisements in Australian newspapers on Thursday. The airline is also asking its employees and ten million-plus frequent flyers to sign a petition.
Mr Joyce also notes it’s good to get his planes and people in the air working. The scenic flight will take 150 passengers and include full catering, a goodies bag, and a pre-flight auction of memorabilia from Qantas’ recently retired fleet of 747s.
“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.”
Qantas says it will operate the flight on a cost recovery and carbon-neutral basis. Tickets will be on sale from 12:00pm Thursday, Sydney time. Happy flying.