Photo: Robert Marxen/Shutterstock

Qantas Is Offering Scenic Day Flights to Antarctica That Don’t Even Land on the Continent

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Aug 12, 2020

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of an Antarctic vacation, but the prospect of bundling up in seven layers was so unappealing you never went for it. Now you can see the seventh continent without actually setting foot on it, or worrying about your body temperature. In November, Australia’s Qantas Airlines, in collaboration with Antarctica Flights, is restarting its sightseeing flights to Antarctica, which will circle the frozen continent but not actually land there.

Passengers will also experience a much higher degree of luxury on the flight than they would on Antarctica itself. They will be served refreshments and meals, watch educational movies, and hear expert lecturers and explorers speak about what they’re seeing below.

Bas Bosschieter, CEO of Antarctica Flights, told 7News, “There is no passport or luggage needed for an Antarctica Flight, you can even go in board shorts if you wish. 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.”

The flight will cruise above Antarctica for about four hours, but you’ll spend a total of 12.5 hours in the air — Antarctica is far, even for Australians.

The views should be good since this year, for the first time in the 26 years the flights have been operating, passengers will take to the skies in a Dreamliner 787, which has windows that are 65 percent larger than any other aircraft of this size.

But these sightseeing flights don’t come cheap. The basic ticket (“Explorer Economy Class”) is not even a window seat, yet is priced at about $859. The most expensive option (“Business Class Deluxe”) will set you back around $5,740, but even then you have to switch seats with the person next to you halfway through so that everyone gets a good view of Antarctica. Check out the website for all options on seating and pricing.

Given international travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the flights are only be available to Australians at this time.

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