Qantas’ latest flight to nowhere will give passengers a scenic view of the supermoon
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The airline is selling only 100 seats on one of its 787 Dreamliners for the special flight, promising spectacular views of the lunar event on the day when the moon will be at its closest point to the earth. The second and final supermoon of 2021 will happen at the same time as a full lunar eclipse, meaning passengers can expect a double phenomenon with the moon turning red against the evening sky.
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For those who are already in Australia, fares for the special flight start at $499 AUD (about £387) for economy (with a Qantas Points earn of 1,500 points plus 20 Status Credits), $899 AUD (about $698) for premium economy (Qantas Points earn of 2,500 and 40 Status Credits) and $1,499 AUD (about $1,164) for business class (4,000 Qantas Points earn plus 80 Status Credits).
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the popularity of our special flights,” Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephani Tully said in a statement. “The recent mystery flights sold out within 15 minutes with hundreds of people on waiting lists and they keep telling us they want more.”
The 787 Dreamliner is ideal for this type of sky-high sightseeing trip, since it has the largest windows of any passenger plane.
The three-hour supermoon flight will take off from and return to Sydney. It will include a flyover of Sydney Harbour before climbing above the clouds to a cruising altitude of 43,000 feet, the max for a Dreamliner, to enjoy optimal views of the supermoon and lunar eclipse.
The route was designed to appeal to travelers with an affinity for astronomy and science as well as aviation. There will even be an astronomer on board. Dr Vanessa Moss from The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is partnering with the pilots to design the optimal flight path over the Pacific Ocean to provide the best views. She will also provide insights into supermoons and lunar eclipses during the flight.
As with its previous flights to nowhere, Qantas says it will operate the supermoon route with net-zero emissions, with 100% of emissions carbon offset.
These flights without destinations were an inventive workaround the airline devised to help keep some of its long-haul jets in the air during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as satisfy the travel itch of some of its customers. Australia’s strict COVID-19 rules have prevented Australians from leaving the country without written government approval, so these scenic flights have provided a chance for frequent travelers to get their air miles in.
Past flights to nowhere included a seven-hour “Great Southern Land” flight over iconic Aussie sights such as the Great Barrier Reef. Other airlines have gotten creative about delivering some parts of the flight experience to their travel-starved customers. Singapore Airlines, for example, planned but canceled plans for its own flights to nowhere after complaints about its environmental impact. Instead, it has offered passengers a chance to enjoy first-class dining experiences aboard a parked Airbus A380 jumbo jet.
Featured photo courtesy of Qantas.
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