On September 16, Qantas Airways announced the seven-hour scenic ‘flight to nowhere’ over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef to take off and land at the same airport amid the border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airlines announced on the official website. The tickets to the Dreamliner Boeing Co 787 dedicated to the sightseeing, flying low levels over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour sold out in 10 minutes, according to local Australian media reports. With thousands of planes grounded worldwide due to the recent 97.5 per cent plunge in international travel, Qantas decided to resume a joy flight for its frequent flyer members who, in fact, miss the air travel.
Recently, Singapore Airlines announced that it would allow its customers to experience the flying, including check-in, plane boarding, take off, however without crossing over to the international borders in an official release. Following its league, and coming up with a creative plan to generate revenue despite a slump in the international travel, Qantas announced ‘Great Southern Land’, airline’s famed ‘Emily’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will soar across the Northern Territory and New South Wales without an actual destination.
"We're offering a 'Great Southern Land' scenic flight using our state-of-the-art B787 Dreamliner aircraft usually reserved for long haul international flights, with the biggest windows on any passenger aircraft," —Qantas revealed in an update.
Australians love to travel. With summer holidays & Christmas just around the corner, many of us can’t wait to see loved ones & support our regional communities, local businesses & our tourism industry. But that can only happen if our domestic borders are safely opened again.— Qantas (@Qantas) September 16, 2020
With over 150 passengers onboard, the plane will take off from Sydney Airport on October 10, with low-level fly-bys of landmarks across Queensland border to the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast before continuing north to the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef, the local Australian broadcaster Traveller reported. Qantas’ plane will also fly over Uluru and Kata Tjuta landmarks and over the Sydney Harbour before returning to the Sydney airport for landing. The ticket costs up to $787 for an economy seat, $1,787 for Premium and a few business class seats for $3,787. A Qantas spokesperson reportedly said that ‘Emily’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner was the probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history.
Reignite the joy of flying and take off on a 'Great Southern Land' scenic flight. Sightsee iconic destinations across Australia from the sky, where there are no border restrictions—Qantas wrote on its website.
If you want to be reunited with loved ones after months of being apart, or to have a holiday in our incredible backyard, show your support at https://t.co/N44ia48dag— Qantas (@Qantas) September 16, 2020
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was quoted by Australia’s local media outlet Traveller as saying that the frequent flyers missed the experience of flying amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, they mightn’t have missed the destination as much as the whole experience of boarding the flight. Citing that Australia is a country that has unique wonders like Uluru and the Whitsundays, Joyce said that it will be truly special to experience this beautiful country from the comfort and freedom of the sky for the flyers. The flight, he added, will fetch the enthusiasm among the flyers more than just seeing an aircraft fly in the sky. Further, as per the report, Qantas "Fly Well" COVID-19 health safety guidelines will apply before departure and inflight.