an airplane flying over a body of water

Flights to nowhere are officially a thing, but just because you take off and land in the same place doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of the best the world has to offer in the hours in between. Qantas just took that to the next level.

On Qantas’ latest one-off jaunt, an enthusiastic sold out crowd enjoyed 7 hours of delight, as a Boeing 787 performed low altitude flyovers including Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and other stunning fixtures of Australia’s endless beauty.

The flight, which broke Qantas records by selling out in under 10 minutes, offered everything guests could’ve hoped for and more, and GSTP has exclusive photos of the epic affair. You just don’t get to see the Great Barrier Reef like this every day…

a person in a mask looking out of an airplane window

7 Hours Of Sightseeing

A good pair of shoes is always a necessity in travel, with so much to see on the ground. But Qantas took a different approach, offering low altitude flyovers of Australia’s most iconic natural treasures, including Uluru, all while serving their best in business class, premium and economy.

a large orange rock formation
Qantas’ special flight offered stunning views of Uluru.
a large rock formation in the desert

Guests, who paid as much as they typically might for a flight to visit London, enjoyed priceless views, pilot stories and access. In business class, some Cuvee Louise 2004 Champagne was on offer too. GSTP friend and correspondent on this flight, Princess Fiona, offered…

a man in uniform making food
a person holding a bottle of wine

I managed to grab a business class seat on the Qantas Great Southern Land scenic flight on the B787 Dreamliner a scenic route around the Sydney basin, Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru.

Qantas had sectioned off an area of the lounge pre-departure for passengers and retro Pilot were serving cocktails and live entertainment. All pretty standard for big Qantas events, not that that’s a bad thing. Boarding was called using Covid protocols starting with the rear of the aircraft, although on arrival at the gate there seemed to also be a business class line and passengers streamlined appropriately.

Onboard service was pretty much of Qantas’ typical international business class standard, albeit with much upgraded champagne. But really, the standout was the absolutely stunning views courtesy of low altitude flying the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

There was a real sense of excitement onboard, I guess given that most of us are always on an aircraft but rarely, if ever, get a chance to be up close and personal with these sights. It is a small but very special thing that 2020 has given us.

an airplane window with a city and water
an airplane window with islands and blue water

With Australia’s recent announcements stating international travel is unlikely to return in a big way even in late 2021, the flights, which offer one of the few bits of air travel excitement in Australia right now are growing ever more popular. Future expeditions to Antarctica have experienced unprecedented demand.

a blue water and clouds
an aerial view of islands in the ocean
an airplane flying over a body of water

From the pictures, it’s certainly not a hard sell. Australia is always an international superstar for travelers, thanks to its incredibly diverse landscapes, from the rugged outback to the world’s most pristine beaches in Whitsundays and untouchable diving along the Great Barrier Reef.

an aerial view of a desert
an airplane wing and a small island in the ocean

Even for locals, few have ever gotten the chance to see these sights from low altitude flyovers, particularly while enjoying champagne and good cheer. Qantas may have cracked the code for travel right now, even if it means going “nowhere”.

With thanks to Princess Fiona for sharing these incredible images and stories.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. It was sold out – man I would hate to pay that price and get stuck in a seat in the middle of the plane where I couldn’t see anything. Any ideas how they handled that since apparently the main purpose of the flight was sight seeing? Also, the person writing this was in business class. Were drinks and food served in economy also or did they just have to sit there for 7 hours.

    While I enjoy a good view from a plane (looking down into the Grand Canyon never gets old) I can’t imagine paying for a “flight to nowhere”

  2. What an amazing idea – I wonder if British Airways could do that over London, the cliffs of Dover, along the south coast up the river seven past the bridge and Low over the welsh hills

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