Qantas to launch ‘Mystery Flights’

Owing to pandemic restrictions, Australians are still unable to fly overseas, so Qantas is releasing a series of “Mystery Flights” to promote domestic travel.

Those who book one of the three available journeys are putting their fates in the hands of the airline.

The one-day trips will depart from Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne on March 27, April 18, and May 1, respectively, and will go on sale on March 4. Each Boeing 737 flight will carry a maximum of 120 passengers and take about two hours to reach its destination.

Breakfast is served in the Qantas lounge at 7:00 a.m., and guests return in the early evening.

Travelers won’t know where they’re going until the plane lands in the unknown spot, but the flight path will be shown on the seatback screens, giving passengers a chance to guess. According to reports, the flights would involve low-level flybys of important landmarks along the way.

On its website, the airline provides a few hints.

For those who enjoy country hospitality, gourmet food and wine, and the great outdoors, flights from Brisbane can provide “the ideal getaway.” Flights from Sydney will take you to the tropics, making it a perfect vacation for those who love “lunching on the beach.” Fans of the great outdoors, gourmet food and wine, and regional farmers markets will enjoy the Melbourne flight.

Customers will be given additional instructions upon booking to ensure that they pack appropriately.

For economy-class seats, the all-inclusive packages cost AUD 737 (US$577) and for business-class seats, AUD 1,570.

“These mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions,” Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said in a statement, referring to domestic state border controls.

In the 1990s, the airline began offering mystery flights. When passengers arrive at the airport, they will be put on a scheduled flight to any Qantas destination.

The airline launched a seven-hour sightseeing “flight to nowhere” in 2020, which sold out in under ten minutes.

After the start of the pandemic, Australia has returned to a state of relative normalcy, with zero new locally transmitted cases recorded on Tuesday and nine cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine. As of March 3, it had reported 28,986 cases and 909 deaths.

Early on, the country closed its doors, forcing Australians returning from overseas to spend two weeks in quarantine in a hotel. Australia has also placed a ban on international travel, requiring anyone wishing to leave the country to obtain permission from the Department of Home Affairs.

The Australian government declared on Tuesday that the country’s international travel ban would be extended for another three months, until June 17.

Qantas has confirmed that international flights will restart by the end of October 2021.