From November, Australians will be able to see Antarctica by air in a unique travel opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Travelers won’t even need a passport with the trip regarded as a domestic flight.
The flights are offered by tour company Antarctica Flights and Australian carrier Qantas, which has previously used one of its Boeing 747s for the 12- to 13-hour trip to the frozen continent. Now that the aircraft are all retired, the journey will be made on a privately chartered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Travelers from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will spend about four hours flying over the Antarctic continent during the South Pole’s summer daylight months. The flight will cross the South Magnetic Pole where passengers will see the rugged mountainous interior of the continent.
“There is no passport or luggage needed for an Antarctica flight, you can even go in board shorts if you wish,” Antarctica Flights CEO Bas Bosschieter told 7NEWS Australia. “It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Antarctica in a day… I personally think it’s the best answer to the question ‘What did you get up to on the weekend? Just popped down to Antarctica.’”
Ticket prices start at AU$1,199 (about US$860) for economy seats, and AU$6,499 (US$4,650) for business class.
Extra safety measures will be implemented to ensure the health and safety of passengers during the flight. All passengers will be required to complete a health and safety declaration form. They will also have to submit to a contactless temperature test prior to boarding. Each passenger will receive a personal Qantas pack for the flight including a disposable mask, sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. They will also receive an extra headrest cover and sanitizing wipes in preparation for seat rotation, which happens at the halfway point in the journey.
Antarctica Flights also said it will block some seats in the economy cabin, allowing for a degree of social distancing.