Lilit Marcus, CNN
(CNT) City News Talk #travel-all
(CNN) — After its hugely successful “flight to nowhere” campaign, Australian national airline Qantas has rolled out an even bigger treat — flights to, well, somewhere.
With aviation largely halted around the world and many national borders closed, airlines have had to get creative during downtime.
Qantas’ cheeky “flight to somewhere” is aimed at Australian travelers who aren’t able to leave the country but still want to get out and have a holiday.
The program is a 24-hour getaway from Sydney to Uluru, with sightseeing and a hotel stay included. It will take place from December 5-6.
A press release from Qantas explains the timeline: travelers will leave Sydney at 8 a.m., then head off in the direction of the Northern Territory. Once visitors arrive at Uluru, they will get to experience the Field of Light exhibit at night, eat a three-course meal under the stars and hear from members of the Indigenous community about Uluru’s history and meaning.
That night, guests will stay at Sails in the Desert, an upscale resort nearby. Wakeup time is early, though, but worth it as the group will be able to watch the sun rise over Uluru, then have brunch before getting back on the plane and returning to Sydney.
On Qantas’ “flight to nowhere,” a seven-hour sightseeing tour around the country, fliers were able to get incredible views of destinations — including Uluru and Sydney Harbour — as the plane flew lower than usual. Despite some concerns about carbon emissions, the idea caught on with travelers and tickets sold out in half an hour.
The low-flying planes will be part of the “flight to somewhere,” too, with fly-bys at the beginning and end of the journey giving passengers aerial views of these famous Australian landmarks.
The flight from Sydney to Uluru, which lasts about three and a half hours, is on a route normally operated by Qantas-owned low-cost airline Jetstar. It has been on pause since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Uluru, formerly known by its colonial name of Ayers Rock, is sacred to Australia’s Indigenous people. It holds special significance for the Anangu people, who have a long historical connection to the site.
It was officially closed to climbers in October 2019, spurring a wave of last-minute travel. In a typical non-pandemic year, more than 300,000 people visited Uluru annually. The rock measures 1,142 feet high, making it taller than the Eiffel Tower.
Economy-rate packages for the “flight to somewhere” experience are $2,449 AUS ($1,730 USD), and a Business Class package is $3,999 ($2,286). Travelers will earn Qantas points from the experience but cannot use points to book them.