Last weekend saw Qantas’ Great Southern Land Dreamliner 787-9 ‘flight to nowhere’ taking 150 Australians on a once-in-a-lifetime aerial tourism flight over some of Australia’s most iconic destinations.
In case you missed it, this was billed as the Qantas flight to nowhere that sold out in ten minutes just a few weeks ago.
On Saturday, 150 now infrequent flyers checked in for a full-day outing onboard a Qantas 787 Dreamliner, usually reserved for long-haul international flights.
Featuring a number of breathtaking low-level flybys of key locations along the New South Wales and Queensland coasts as well as Uluru in the Northern Territory, the flight path was designed by Qantas flight crew to showcase the unique Australian landscape from a different perspective, and without having to worry about continued border closures.
Captain Alex Passerini said that while they often pass over these landmarks as part of normal flying, it’s at 35,000 feet rather than the circa 4,000 feet that the scenic flight will drop to at key points.
“We will angle the aircraft so that passengers on both sides get a great view, in particular of Uluru after we were granted special permission for the flyover. It’s going to be a really special day and we are excited to be back in the air again.”
Captain Alex Passerini
What a flight!
The Great Southern Land scenic flight was inspired by Frequent Flyers who said they missed stepping onboard a Qantas flight and wanted an opportunity to enjoy some of the airline’s Spirit of Australia hospitality even if they couldn’t travel as they normally do.
The flight featured two ground-to-air satellite phone calls over the aircraft PA for passengers to hear first-hand facts from local experts as they fly over the Whitsundays and Uluru.
Frequent Flyer David Thompson said like many people he had numerous international and domestic travel plans thwarted in 2020 so getting on a plane and taking a sightseeing trip was the next best thing until he could visit the destinations in person.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be stepping on board a plane again and one good thing to come out of the COVID-19 travel restrictions is the opportunity to appreciate what we actually have right here in our own country. I will be seeing them from the sky today but can’t wait to go back and land next time.”
David Thompson, Qantas Frequent Flyer
Sunshine Coast sends a message
It wasn’t quite visible from space, but Visit Sunshine Coast’s (VSC) message in the sand sure made a big impression on Qantas passengers flying overhead on the inaugural Great Southern Land scenic flight.
The region’s tourism body used letters more than two metres tall to invite travellers onboard the sold-out Great Southern Land scenic flight to start planning their next Sunshine Coast visit.
As the B787 Dreamliner over-passed Coolum Beach at 3,000 feet passengers had a bird’s eye view of the message – VISIT US FOR REAL – written on the sand with vinyl letters normally used for sign writing in the sky.
The Sunshine Coast was the first destination in Australia to greet travellers with an on-ground activation, and VSC Interim CEO Craig Davidson said he hoped the message to Sydney travellers was loud and clear.
“We miss you and can’t wait to welcome you back to the Sunshine Coast when it is safe to travel again,” he said.
“New South Wales has traditionally been our strongest interstate market, and as we head out of the school holiday period, we are missing them more than ever.
“We hope this grand gesture will remind them how much they love the Sunshine Coast and inspire them to stop dreaming and start planning their next visit.”
The message was supported by special onboard commentary about the Sunshine Coast, with passengers gifted a ‘taste’ of the region with locally made Kokopod Chocolate.
Visit Sunshine Coast Board Director, Rodger Powell, who was on board the flight said: “It was fantastic to fly so low over the Sunshine Coast and see the Real welcome from everyone at Coolum. With the new runway at Sunshine Coast Airport, the QF Dreamliner could have actually landed for the very first time. Hopefully, when the border issue is depoliticised we can get back to having direct Qantas services into the Sunshine Coast. The very authentic ‘virtual’ welcome on Coolum Beach shows just how enthusiastic Real local people are to welcome back visitors.”
The beach activation comes as VSC plans to unveil a new campaign underpinned by the Sunshine Coast’s real experiences, real people, and real nature.
The flight path can be viewed in real-time on flightradar24.com, search: QF787.
The Great Southern Land scenic flight operated with net-zero emissions – with carbon emissions from the flight 100% offset.
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