Here’s one for the quiz shows: Where did the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history go to? Yes, it’s a trick question. The answer is: Precisely nowhere.
So starved are travel-loving Aussies of the opportunity to head off into the wide blue yonder in search of adventure and new horizons, that the airline found itself inundated on Thursday morning when it opened bookings for its inaugural Great Southern Land flight.
In fact, all 149 seats were gone in just 10 minutes, with a surprised Qantas spokesperson observing: “We knew this flight would be popular, but … .”
Visit exciting destinations – almost
Paradoxically, the Great Southern Land will take passengers to a host of exciting destinations; but, at the same time, to nowhere at all. They’ll take of in Sydney on Saturday 10 October and arrive back in Sydney seven hours later without having set foot on land.
But they will have seen Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef, Gold Coast, Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Byron Bay and a whole lot more besides.
All without the hassle of border controls, 14-day quarantine periods and paranoid Queensland Premiers.
See our great country in your PJs
This is Qantas’ first foray into the growing global phenomenon of ‘scenic flights’ that enable airlines to generate some much needed revenue at a time when they – and their passengers – have few real travel options.
“Relax in the sky in Qantas pyjamas as your flight makes its way around the country with a few surprises along the way,” the marketing blurb on the airline’s website says.
“For those who are missing the excitement of travel or are keen to wave to friends and family interstate, 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.
People miss the experience of flying
“Your seven-hour scenic flight will include low-level flybys of unique Australian destinations.”
This first flight was only available to members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
“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 airline CEO, Alan Joyce.