Travel | August 10, 2020 12:05 pm

Qantas Is Relaunching 12-Hour Sightseeing Flights to Antarctica

Great views from the air, but you'll never touch the icy surface

Qantas Antarctica
You've never had a window-seat view like this.

Based off the current pandemic, it looks like we’re going nowhere this summer.

But in Australia, going nowhere is actually a cool idea: Qantas has announced they are bringing back scenic flights to Antarctica starting later this year. The key here is that the plane takes off and lands in Australia; the aim of your flight is to simply look down and enjoy a spectacular view.

The Aussie airline has actually been doing this trip for 26 years, but this will be the first year it utilizes the 787 Dreamliner (and the first year they’ll be utilizing COVID-19 safety protocols). There are nineteen different routes the airline takes from its homeland, and each flight features about four hours of time flying over the icy continent, including the McMurdo dry valleys and the South Magnetic Pole.

The aircraft flies “sweeping figure 8s” so that everyone on board can get a proper view. As well, each passenger has two boarding passes; everyone will move seats halfway through the flight (at times you’ll be in an aisle, other times at a window or next to the window). Passengers can also get up and move about the cabin to enjoy better views.

As the airline notes: “Our flight from Australia ranges between 9,500 – 10,500 kms round trip (approximately 12.5 hours) depending on your departure city. Expert Antarctic expeditioners are onboard to talk on the polar environment and its history while video screenings depict life on the ground.”

If you’re worried about flights to nowhere being somewhat unnecessary and adding to climate change, the airline promises these routes are carbon neutral.

As Bas Bosschieter, who oversees Antarctica Flights for Qantas, says:

There is no passport or luggage needed for an Antarctica Flight, you can even go in board shorts if you wish. 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.’

Tickets for economy flights start at about $860. But, um, good luck getting there if you’re not an Australian citizen.

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