Special charter services will be launched from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Australians hungry to explore a little farther beyond their country’s borders can now book a day trip unlike any other. Qantas has teamed up with travel company Antarctica Flights to restart sightseeing journeys over the frozen continent between November and February. Timed to coincide with the best weather conditions and maximum daylight hours at the height of the southern summer, these seven charter services will run from five cities around the country. Residents of Sydney and Melbourne will get to choose between two different flights, while those in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth have the chance to join a one-off excursion.
Last Friday, Antarctica Flights CEO Bas Bosschieter told 7NEWS, “Whilst it is very difficult for Australians to travel overseas at this time, our Antarctica Flights guests will be able to “visit” another continent in a day.” The 12- to 13-hour roundtrip journey will include about four hours’ flight time over Antarctica, taking in an awe-inspiring tableau of vast ice sheets, mountain ranges, and glaciers as the aircraft crosses over the South Magnetic Pole. Videos on Antarctica will be screened throughout the trip, and expeditioners will be invited on board to give talks and answer questions about the polar environment and life on the ground. Meal services and drinks will also be offered on board.
While Qantas’s Antarctic flightseeing excursions were flown on Boeing 747s in the past, the recent retirement of all its jumbo jets has meant that it will deploy more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners instead. Of course, a ticket doesn’t come cheap: prices range from AUD 1,199 (US$857) for the cheapest seats in economy class (these come without direct access to a window, so you’ll have to enjoy the view from common areas) to AUD 7,999 (US$5,714) for a business class deluxe seat.
Additional Covid-19 safety protocols will apply to these charter flights. Before boarding, passengers are required to go through temperature screening and fill out a health declaration. Qantas is also handing out individual hygiene packs with a disposable face mask, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes; an extra headrest cover will be thrown in for a seat rotation at the halfway point of the journey, ensuring that more passengers will enjoy unobstructed views of Antarctica.
More information here.