With travel opening in fits and starts around the world, there’s one pandemic itinerary that remains popular: the “flight to nowhere”. By Meena Thiruvengadam
Qantas’ latest three-hour “flight to nowhere”, set to depart from and return to Sydney on May 26, sold out in 2.5 minutes, CNN reported. There’s no space available on a waitlist either. “We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the popularity of our special flights,” Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said in a statement.
Last year, a seven-hour Qantas flight over the Great Barrier Reef and Australian outback sold out in just 10 minutes. And earlier this year, a series of Qantas mystery flights to surprise domestic destinations also sold out quickly.
The 100 or so passengers lucky enough to score a seat on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will get a bird’s-eye view of the moon turning red against the night sky when a total eclipse occurs alongside a supermoon. The 787 Dreamliner is known for its large windows — the kind that would be perfect for moon-gazing.
The flight is set to depart Sydney at 7:30 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. IST) on May 26. After flying over the world-famous harbour and iconic Opera House, the flight will head to 43,000 feet (13,106 metre) to take in the first and only full lunar eclipse expected this year. The total lunar eclipse is slated to occur between 9:11 p.m. and 9:25 p.m. local time (4:41 and 4:55 p.m. IST).
Qantas is working with an astronomer to design the ideal flight path for viewing the eclipse and supermoon. Dr Vanessa Moss will also be on board to talk passengers through what they’re seeing outside the plane’s windows.
Ticket prices started at $499 (INR 36,533) in economy and $1,499 (INR 109,747) for business. A pre-flight cocktail party, in-flight food and beverages, and swag — including a commemorative certificate — will be included.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Editor’s Note: Keeping the current situation of the pandemic in mind, T+L India recommends every reader to stay safe, and take all government-regulated precautions in case travel at this time is absolutely necessary. Please follow our stories on #IndiaFightsCorona for all the latest travel guidelines.