Qantas is bringing back the 'mystery flight'

Beat those 'border closure blues' with a unique day trip from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

By David Flynn, March 2 2021
Qantas is bringing back the 'mystery flight'

Many Australians will fondly remember the old Qantas 'mystery flights' where you'd book a flat-rate ticket to some unknown destination, either as a day trip or in some cases an overnight stay.

The airline axed those flights in the 1990s, but now they're coming back as a trio of special one-day domestic adventures which could be the perfect salve for cabin fever while international borders remain closed.

Each Qantas Mystery Flight will depart from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to an interstate destination approximately two hours' away – a measure which the airline tells us is also intended "to combat the border blues".

(In the event of border closures, arrangements will be made for an alternative destination within each state.)

"The vaccine rollout is bringing a lot more certainty and domestic border restrictions should soon be a thing of the past," says Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully.

"As well as helping bring more of our people back to work, these mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas especially, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions."

But it's not just about the flight itself: the new Qantas Mystery Flight package includes on-the-ground experiences which the airline hints could include anything from a winemaking course in a premier Australian wine region, to a gourmet lunch with musical entertainment on the shores of one of Australia’s tropical island wonders.

So you'll be prepared for what's in store, passengers will be given clues to ensure the outing aligns with their areas of interest and also as an aid to packing (should you bring sneakers or a snorkel, for instance).

En route, the flight will include some low-level scenic flybys of key landmarks (subject to weather conditions and air traffic control).

So what are the details?

  • The Qantas Mystery Flight from Brisbane runs on Saturday March 27 and the airline promises it'll be the perfect getaway if you love country hospitality, gourmet food and wine, and the great outdoors.
  • The Qantas Mystery Flight from Sydney is on Sunday April 18 and passengers can expect to wind down in a tropical setting with long lunching on the beach.
  • The Qantas Mystery Flight from Melbourne takes place on Saturday May 1 and involves the great outdoors (including a little walking), gourmet food and wine and regional farmers markets.

Tickets on each Qantas Mystery Flight will cost $737 in economy (you'll also earn 2,400 Qantas Points and 40 status credits) and $1,579 in business class (pocketing 5,000 Qantas Points and 80 status credits), with lounge access for those in business class or holding suitable frequent flyer status.

Tickets for all three Qantas Mystery Flights go on sale on at 12 noon (EST) Thursday 4 March.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2015

Total posts 27

Sydney might be 18 April? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1244

Sunday 18 March isn’t a valid date. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 57

We need more mystery in our lives ... BNE for sure for me 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 418

What a great idea! Loved the old mystery flights, where you could sometimes choose if you wanted just a one-day getaway or a two-day getaway, you'd log on the night before to find out where you were headed. I would love to see those come back, but for now this is a good alternative.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1244

Lounge access will be available to all on these flights (not just those in business) as the day's proceedings officially start at 7am with breakfast in the Qantas lounge in your departure city.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 24

This is great to see ... anything that gives people a feeling that Australia, at least, is slowly getting back to some normality is great. Well done Qantas! Apart from the obvious work that this creates for people not only in the airline sector but tourism as well people will have an opportunity to do something a little different. Just think how many people will have a reason or need to be at work the days that these flights operate. I hope everyone has a great day and that it's a huge success for everyone concerned.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 275

Now THIS makes sense over those random flights to nowhere which just took off and landed in the same place after a few hours - those were pointless. But Going somewhere for the day or overnight is a great idea!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 204

Expensive for a day out at the beach but whatever floats your boat

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 123

If I were a betting man I'd say the Brisbane mystery flight would be going to Mildura (based on the description).  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2021

Total posts 23

I cannot recall logging on to find out  the Ansett flights in the early 90's but always checked in at the Golden Wing longe and gave me a "choice" like paying  a reasonable overnight accom fee at the lounge and usually got  a stay at Hamilton Island. This happened several times. True story. Ansett were  a great airline. When living in Japan, they had a big following when they flew out of KIX.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1205

Yes, I did a few with Ansett.  We had a day in Canberra, a day in Perth and a weekend in Sydney including 2 nights at the Sheraton on the Park for $199 per person including flights.  Usually you got rung the day before and told what time you needed to check in which was when you found out your destination.  

QF's new mystery flights are nothing like what was around in the '90s.  Then, they weren't special flights, they were spare seats on scheduled services.  Typically there wasn't much offered in the way of ground tours etc and you even had the option of a cheaper mystery flight that was just a flight out and you came back on the next flight back so you often didn't leave the terminal.  From memory, the quick return offer was $79 and the guarantee of at least 4 hours at your destination was $99...very different from the $737 offer now.

Logged in ready to book at 1200 to the second. Nice message from QF - thank you for your interest. You are not eligible for this offer. If FFP is not eligible and Mrs Meridien is Gold and she got the same message, then who is eligible?

Oh well, QFF P members are not eligible for this offer apparently. Tried to book but not eligible so missed out. Oh, well! What a joke! 

I will eat my words. Came online at 1200 Qld time - was looking at DST. Booked 2 Y class. J sold out. It will be interesting. Tasmania is my guess. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 695

I really have to say .. I sometimes fail to understand Qantas and their management's sense of logic.

3 'Mystery' flights. 1 from Melbourne, 1 from Sydney and 1 from Brisbane. A little on the pricey side for some people, but generally offering fair value, in my estimation.

However .. Alan has been barking on about 'the pent up demand for domestic (and international) travel in Australia'. YES ! It is there and it really exists as a thing. So .. why on earth limit your 'Mystery Flight' initiative to 1 flight each out of 3 cities, over 6 weeks? Common sense would tell you that when previous 'specials' offered 6-8 weeks and 3 months ago sell out within 10 minutes of being released that there is indeed demand. 

If your revenue is being crimped and you have staff who require work, how about doubling or even tripling the amount of mystery flights? This is premium revenue, after all. It also gives some enjoyment to those who are lucky enough to snag the opportunity, as well as engendering security in the idea of flying again. Surely QF has heard of the principle that one satisfied and happy customer will tell their friends, family and sundry. 

What QF fails to recognise is that those who miss out on booking become frustrated and annoyed (per the imbalance principle of supply and demand). That's when they start to criticize the carrier.

Potential fare revenue? 165 Y seats at $737 ($121,605) and 12 J seats at $1,579 ($18,948) amounts to $140,553 with a few seats left over. Not bad money when you can sell it out in a matter of minutes. Or, putting the cynical cap on, are we just running 3 very safe, easy to sell .. flights to attract publicity and say we did something?

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