First There Were Flights To Nowhere. Now? “Mystery Flights”

by SharonKurheg

After the coronavirus had been torturing the world for months on end, people who enjoyed traveling were getting more and more itchy to, well, travel. International travel was pretty impossible for a good part of 2020, with hardly any countries allowing tourists from other nations. But some countries started offering flights to nowhere.

Airlines in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brunei, Japan and Australia among others, offered these flights, which varied from 90 minutes to 3 hours or so (Australia’s was 7 hours). All they did was fly, mainly over tourist attractions and other places people would typically like to see from the air. And then they landed at the airport again.

The flights were popular and sold out quickly. In fact, that 7-hour Qantas flight, which passed over  Sydney Harbour, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Bondi Beach, sold out in 10 minutes.

Times have changed, more people are getting vaccinated, less people are getting sick, and “real” travel, although still greatly limited, is a possibility.

Step in “mystery flights,” where you fly and actually land somewhere, but you have no idea of where you’re going until the day of your flight.

The flights, which are again being done by Qantas (those lucky Australians!), are scheduled to leave Brisbane on March 27, Sydney on April 18 and Melbourne on May 1.

Prices are A$737 (US$574) for Economy, or A$1,579 (US$1,229)  for Business. For you points & miles geeks out there, you also earn 2,400 or 5,000 Qantas Points, plus 40 or 80 Status Credits, respectively.

Passengers first get to have breakfast in the Qantas lounge in their departure city. The planes will leave the airport at 7am, complete a day trip somewhere, and then return by the early evening.

Passengers will also get to also enjoy:

  • private charter Qantas B737 return flights,
  • exclusive merchandise,
  • inflight food and beverages,
  • gift bag for all passengers,
  • an activity tailored to showcase the best of the destination,
  • a special lunch, and
  • some flights will feature scenic flybys.

Those traveling in Business also receive:

  • additional gift bag items,
  • Business food and beverages,
  • priority boarding, and
  • additional benefits during the activity.

Qantas is no stranger to mystery flights – they used to do something similar back in the 90s.

From Qantas’ website:

Your adventure

By popular demand and for a limited time only, we’re bringing back the mystery flight with a twist. 

We’ll operate a series of exclusive Mystery Flight adventures where you book a flight without knowing what destination you’ll end up in until you join 120 others on a surprise adventure day outing. The destination will be revealed as the aircraft commences its descent. You’ll also be able to live track your flight path on the seat back screens.

You could be sipping chardonnay amongst the grapevines of an award-winning vineyard, dipping your toes in the turquoise waters of a tropical island, or enjoying country hospitality at its finest. Whatever you end up doing, it will involve a scrumptious lunch.

We last offered mystery flights back in the 1990s where passengers would arrive at the airport and be placed on a scheduled flight to any destination across the Qantas network. 

Our new mystery flight adventures will offer a private charter Qantas B737 flight to and from the surprise location and a tailored itinerary on the ground to ensure you get the most out of your day trip. We’re working behind the scenes to create some truly wonderful experiences both on the ground and in the air.

Before departure, we’ll send you a pre-departure email with trip tips, border entry requirements and weather information so you can wear appropriate clothing for the destination and activities.

The flights are, of course, a mystery, but they give you a little hint in their website:

Flights from Brisbane

This is the perfect getaway if you love:

  • country hospitality,
  • gourmet food and wine, and
  • the great outdoors.

Flights from Sydney

This is the perfect getaway if you love:

  • the tropics,
  • salt water on your skin, and
  • long lunching on the beach.

Flights from Melbourne

This is the perfect getaway if you love:

  • the great outdoors, including a little walking,
  • gourmet food and wine, and
  • regional farmers markets.

Of course, all flights would be COVID safe, with mask use.

Qantas isn’t the only one that’s done these mystery vacations.

  • Pre-COVID (a friend of mine calls it B.C.”), Lufthansa offered something called Lufthansa Surprise, which involved mystery trip to Europe, since 2016.
  • An entire travel company in the U.S. called Pack Up & Go used to specialize in planning mystery three-day getaways in the U.S., “B.C.” but…
  • …they’ve now evolved to also offer Pack Up & Go Staycations (which are within 4-6 hours of your house)
  • They also offer Pack Up & Go Outdoors, which are short mystery road trips (instead of flying to your destination).

The mystery vacations are a win-win for everyone. Australians get to travel somewhere. Qantas gets to make some well-needed money. AND it gives them a moneymaking way to get their planes moving (and their pilots flying, so they don’t get rusty).

Flights will be available on Qantas’ website until they’re sold out.

UPDATE: sometime around 9:30pm ET on 3/3/21 (3/4/21, 12:30pm in Brisbane, 1:30pm in Sydney & Melbourne), all of the flights sold out. They do have a wait list, though.

Happy flying!

Feature Photo: Pixabay

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary






DaninMCI March 4, 2021 - 3:58 pm

Are they sponsored by Brex?

joeheg March 5, 2021 - 12:25 am

Too soon?!?

DaninMCI March 5, 2021 - 5:46 am



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