Qantas has announced it will restart its scenic 12-hour flights from Australia to Antarctica and back, giving Australians a unique opportunity to view the frozen continent from above.
Australia’s flagship carrier has partnered with tour company Antarctica Flights to provide a privately chartered Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for a total of seven flights from Australia to the arctic during its peak-daylight summer months.
From November to April, Australians will be able to set off on the ultimate day trip over the icy continent, with flights departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Those on board will begin to see the icy expanses of the Antarctic at around the three-hour mark of the 12-13 hour flight, as the aircraft dips down for better viewing.
For the next four hours or so, passengers onboard will experience the magic of Antarctica’s glaciers and ice floes, as well as the rugged mountains of the Antarctic mainland, before the 787-9 crosses the south magnetic pole and heads back to Australian soil.
With over 19 different flight paths over the continent, no two scenic trips will be the same, according to Antarctica Flights.
Further, the flight includes two full meal services, a full bar service, in-flight entertainment, as well as plenty of information from lecturers and arctic explorers on board.
The best part is, as ongoing international border restrictions loom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers will be able to see a new corner of the world without even a passport, as the flight technically departs and lands in Australia.
“There is no passport or luggage needed for an Antarctica Flight, you can even go in board shorts if you wish,” Antarctica Flights CEO Bas Bosschieter told the media.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Antarctica in a day. I personally think it’s the best answer to the question ‘What did you get up to on the weekend?’ ‘Just popped down to Antarctica’.”
The tour company has assured customers that it will block seats in the economy cabin to maintain social distancing onboard, and passengers will be provided a personal Qantas pack with a disposable face mask, sanitiser and disinfectant wipes.
Additionally, everyone on board will be required to complete a health and safety declaration form, as well as perform a contactless temperature test prior to embarkation. Those people with a fever (38 degrees or higher) will be denied boarding, however will receive a credit for a future Antarctica Flight.
Guests will also be provided an extra headrest cover and sanitising wipes in preparation for the seat rotation, which takes place halfway through the journey.
Prices start from $1,199 per person for an economy seat, while business class deluxe seats are available for $7,999.
Prior to their retirement earlier this year, the unique adventure was undertaken on board Qantas’ famed Boeing 747, however Antarctica Flight said the Dreamliner provides optimal viewing for passengers, thanks to its larger windows.
The flights are due to depart as following:
Sydney – 22 November 2020 and 21 February 2021
Melbourne – 15 November 2020 and 31 December 2020
Perth – 26 January 2021
Brisbane – 7 February 2021
Adelaide – 14 February 2021