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Qantas launches mystery flights to ‘who knows where’

written by Adam Thorn | March 4, 2021
Qantas B737 VH-XZI reaches for the sky off 34L YSSY 12.2.21
A Qantas B737 VH-XZI takes off from Sydney in February 2021 (Justin McCoy)

Qantas is set to launch three flights to mystery locations departing from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The concept flights will also include a day of activity at the destination, which will be outside of major capital cities, as well as low-level fly-bys of key landmarks en route.

It follows the success of a number of scenic flights launched by the airline in the last six months, including its ‘Great Southern Land’ trip, which sold out in 10 minutes.

“Experiences on the ground could include anything from a winemaking course in a premier Australian wine region to a gourmet lunch with musical entertainment on the shores of one of Australia’s tropical island wonders,” said Qantas in a statement.

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“Customers will be provided with clues to ensure it is an appropriate outing for their areas of interest and to assist with whether to pack a snorkel or sneakers in their carry-on baggage.

“The national carrier last operated mystery flights in the 1990s when travellers would turn up at the airport and be allocated seats on a scheduled flight to any of the airline’s destinations where they spent a day at their leisure before flying home.”

The all-inclusive fares cost $737 for economy and $1,579 for business, and will depart on Saturday, 27 March (Brisbane), Sunday, 18 April (Sydney) and Saturday, 1 May (Melbourne).

Qantas’ chief customer officer, Stephanie Tully, said, “As well as helping bring more of our people back to work, these mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas especially, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions.”

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All three flights will operate with all emissions offset.

Qantas’ initial ‘flight to nowhere’ toured Australia on 12 October 2020 with Captain Alex Passerini dipping as low as 4,000 feet as he flew past landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef, over the Whitsundays and Uluru.

The ‘Great Southern Land’ scenic flight initially flew up the NSW coast before crossing the Queensland border for a fly-by of the Gold Coast and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef.

The 787-9, which features the biggest windows on Qantas’ fleet, then tracked across Australia to conduct low-level fly-bys of Uluru and Kata Tjuta before turning back to Sydney for a flyover of Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach.

Qantas followed this with scenic flights touring Australia, including a trip to Uluru that involved an overnight stay at five-star hotel.

The first “flight to somewhere” will take 110 passengers on a 737 from Sydney to Uluru on 5 December and the “overnight outing” will include a pre-flight lounge champagne breakfast, low-level fly-bys of Sydney Harbour on departure and low-level circuits allowing passengers a bird’s eye view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

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