Flights to the Antarctic may prove popular with Australians for whom international has been blocked (photo courtesy Unsplash/Danielle Barnes).
Qantas is redeploying its Dreamliner fleet on sightseeing flights to Antarctica.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliners were originally intended for the UK-Australia non-stop route connecting London Heathrow with Perth in Western Australia.
The first non-stop flight took-off in March 2018, but the coronavirus pandemic has since grounded the service. Australia has now closed its borders to non-residents and Qantas has slashed its international flight schedule.
The Dreamliner fleet is now going to be used on round-trips to Antarctica. The journey will last approximately 13 hours and passengers will not be allowed to disembark. The planes will fly from various Australian cities to Antarctica, allowing travellers to view the frozen continent from the air before returning to Australia.
The tours are being organised by Antarctica Flights who are chartering Qantas to operate the flights. The first trip is due to leave Australia on November 15, in time for the southern hemisphere summer and longer daylight hours.
The Melbourne-based tour company will run seven flights in total between November and February, two each from Sydney and Melbourne and one each from Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Because the planes land back at their airport of origin, they are considered domestic flights.
Antarctica Flights says it will offset emissions from every flight to make them carbon neutral.
Tickets start at AU$1,199 for explorer economy seats and AU$7,999 for business deluxe class. There are six classes in total; explorer economy passengers will not have direct access to a window but are free to stand in the aisles and common areas. All other classes will exchange seats at the midway point of the flight to ensure all passengers have window access for half the flight.