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Asia travellers snap up 'flights to nowhere

Published by Yahoo on Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Air travel numbers are at a historic low this year, and it's forced carriers to get creative to bring in revenue. One big idea that's caught on in Asia and Australia is a so-called 'journey to nowhere'. These sightseeing trips allow travellers on a plane, fly them over landmarks, and then return to the airport they started out at. This week, Australia's Qantas announced its offer of a seven-hour scenic flight over the Australian Outback and Great Barrier Reef sold out in just 10 minutes. The journey - with 134 seats available - takes place in a plane normally reserved for long-haul international trips - the 787 - and goes low over iconic Australian locations like Sydney Harbor and Uluru, before landing back in Sydney. It's not cheap, though. Tickets cost between 575 to 2,765 U.S. dollars - depending on seating class. It's not just Qantas offering these journeys. Taiwan's EVA used one of its Hello Kitty planes for a father's day flight last month. While a TigerAir Taiwan flight from Taipei that's due to circle over South Korea's Jeju Island sold out in five minutes, with tickets costing $236. The flights have been criticised, however, by environmentalists. Awareness group SG Climate Rally said the journeys encouraged carbon-intensive travel and distracted from the policy shifts needed to stop the climate crisis. The concept of scenic flights might be unusual, but it is not new. Antarctica Flights has chartered Qantas jets for scenic flights over Antarctica for 26 years.
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