With closed borders and travel bans still in place in many countries due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, air travel has all but ground to a halt this year. Some airlines have decided to get creative and introduce “flights to nowhere”, letting their customers live the experience of taking a flight without breaking any border restrictions.
Australian airline Qantas is running a 7-hour scenic flight that will depart from Sydney and return to the same airport, performing a giant loop over Queensland, the Gold Coast, New South Wales, and some of the country’s outback heartlands. The plane will be doing a low flyover over landmarks like Uluru and Bondi Beach to offer its passengers a closer view.
The flight, which will take place next month on a Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamline aircraft usually reserved for intercontinental journeys, went on sale yesterday. All 134 tickets, from economy class (AUD$787 or RM2,380) to premium economy and business class (AUD$3,787 or RM11,438) were reportedly sold out in under 10 minutes.
“It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history,” said a Qantas spokesperson. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.”
Qantas is not the first or only airline to adopt the concept of a flight with no destination this year. Following up on an earlier event in July that allowed the public to check in and board a grounded plane, Taiwan’s EVA Air operated a 3-hour flight around Taiwan in August. All Nippon Airways also ran a 1.5-hour scenic flight in Japan that aimed to emulate a “Hawaiian resort” experience onboard.
Closer to home, Singapore Airlines has also stated that it is considering operating scenic flights from next month, although no final decision has been made as of yet.