Qantas selling fly-me-to-the-moon tickets as Covid drags on


Out of the world: Airlines, including Qantas, have turned to a number of innovative ways to make extra cash since the pandemic. — AFP

SYDNEY: Fly me to the supermoon is the latest offering in airlines’ merry-go-round of flights to nowhere, with Qantas Airways Ltd promising a night of cosmic cocktails and cake aboard one of its Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners.

After scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef, vast outback and Antarctica, Australia’s flagship carrier will start selling tickets from today for a trip on May 26 to see the rising supermoon, which that evening also happens to be a total lunar eclipse.

A supermoon is when a full moon occurs at the closest point to earth during its orbit, making it appear larger and brighter.

For A$1,499 (US$1,170 or RM4,816) for business class, passengers will meet in the Qantas lounge in Sydney for drinks, canapes and entertainment before ascending well into the atmosphere to view the moon. The night flight will climb above any cloud cover and should touch 43,000 ft, the maximum cruising altitude of a 787. Most passenger flights cruise at around 35,000 ft. An Astronomer will be on board for commentary and insights.

Since Covid-19 forced the closure of international borders, decimating travel, airlines have turned to a number of innovative ways to make a little extra cash.

Several have offered flights to nowhere but other gimmicks include dinners on an A380 from Singapore Airlines Ltd and a pop-up restaurant at Thai Airways International Pcl’s Bangkok headquarters. Qantas has also taken to selling its business-class pyjamas and the bar carts from its retired 747s.

Carriers are forecast to lose US$47.7bil (RM196bil) this year, the International Air Transport Association said last month, with the crisis “longer and deeper than anyone could have expected.” — Bloomberg

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