With most borders still closed, and many tourists with no international travel options at all, some professionals are showing too much creativity to offer desperate travelers alternatives. The Australian airline Qantas is offering, on October 10th, a panoramic trip from Sydney to … Sydney.
The Dreamliner 787 will fly over Australia’s iconic landmarks such as Mount Uluru, the rocks of Kata Tiuta, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, Byron Bay or Sydney Bay during a 7-hour flight. With prices ranging from USD 500 to USD 2500, tickets would already be sold out – a record in the company’s history.
The first experience of flying to nowhere had been inaugurated in July in an even more radical way. Taipei airport, in collaboration with the airlines China Air and Eva Air, had organized a “make believe” trip. 7000 Taiwanese entered a lottery to choose 180 winners who were entitled to this experience. Assistance on arrival at the airport, check-in, boarding the plane, in-flight service and arrival were carried out but the planes were on the ground. The success of the promotion led Eva Air to initiate two-hour flights over the island, selling USD150 and including a gastronomic lunch. All Nippon Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines offered similar experiences.
Singapore Airlines, which is going through a serious financial crisis and plans to cancel 4300 jobs, was also going to offer flights nowhere from this month on. With a duration of three hours, organized in cooperation with the local tourism authorities, it would cost USD300 and entitle you to discounts at hotels, restaurants and shops in the city. However, the announcement provoked a strong reaction from local environmental protection associations. Even offering to offset the two tons of CO2 released on each flight, Singapore Airlines could not face the criticism and is now considering organizing visits by its Airbus 380, including animations for children and dinners on board.
Air France said no operations of this type were scheduled, but its senior employees will remember that flights without destinations were once numerous in the company, being for many curious a way to fly for the first time or to try out mythical planes like the B747 or most recently the A380. In the glorious years of the Concorde , the company Air Loisirs Services specialized in selling supersonic baptisms leaving and returning from the same airport. It was she who carried out, on May 31, 2003, the last commercial flight of the French-British supersonic with passengers from both countries. A flight that left Paris, flew over the Atlantic at Mach 2.06 and returned to Paris. A flight to nowhere but that made aviation history.