Qantas to launch seven-hour scenic 'flight to nowhere'

The epic Boeing 787 'Great Southern Land' flight will take in the sights over NSW, Queensland and the NT.

By David Flynn, September 17 2020
Qantas to launch seven-hour scenic 'flight to nowhere'

Qantas will tempt grounded travellers with a 'border-free' scenic flight beginning and ending in Sydney but sampling some iconic sights of Australia.

The ‘Great Southern Land’ QF787 joy flight will run on Saturday 10 October aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with a flight path encompassing New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

After heading up the New South Wales coast and crossing the Queensland border to fly over the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, the Dreamliner will continue north to fly over the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef. It will then track across the country to Uluru and Kata Tjuta to showcase the iconic red centre.

The day will finish with a low-level circuit of Sydney Harbour before landing back at Sydney.

During the seven-hour journey passengers will tuck into a Neil Perry menu, and before the flight there'll be an auction of memorabilia from Qantas’ recently retired fleet of 747s.

Read more: Qantas to auction off Boeing 747 memorabilia

“So many of our frequent flyers are used to being on a plane every other week and have been telling us they miss the experience of flying as much as the destinations themselves," remarks Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“Just six months ago, we would have never imagined not being able to jump on a plane and visit family interstate or take a holiday internationally, "

“While we may not be able to take you overseas right now, we can certainly provide inspiration for future trips to some of Australia’s most beautiful destinations. We could be on the cusp of a domestic tourism boom given international borders are likely to be restricted for some time."

Qantas says its Great Southern Land scenic flight "will be carbon offset and operate on a cost neutral basis."

While there won't be social distancing per se, middle seats are being blocked so that more passengers get a chance to take in the view from the Dreamliner's over-sized windows.

  • Six business class seats will be sold at $3,787 each (earning 10,000 Qantas Points and 160 Status Credits)
  • 24 premium economy seats will be sold at $1,787 each (earning 5,000 Qantas Points and 80 Status Credits)
  • 104 economy seats will be sold at $787 (earning 2,400 Qantas Points and 40 Status Credits)

The flight will depart from Sydney Airport Terminal 3 at 10.30am on Saturday October 10, following breakfast in the Qantas Business lounge, and return to Sydney at 5.30pm.

Tickets will go on sale from 12 noon today at Selected Platinum One members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program have also been offered a 'pre-sale' of business class for the same $3,787 price or 250,000 Qantas Points.

Many airlines are turning to so-called 'flights to nowhere' – trips that start and end at the same airport – in the face of border controls and travel restrictions.

Singapore Airlines is reportedly planning flights for late October which will begin and end at Changi Airport, and may be bundled with staycations at the city’s hotels plus shopping vouchers.

Last month, Japan’s ANA sold tickets for a charter flight to nowhere, while two Taiwan carriers launched similar campaigns – Starlux Airlines introduced a “pretending to go abroad” journey and EVA Air filled all 309 seats on a special Father’s Day flight.


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.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 273

I dunno, I generally look at flights as a means to get somewhere - rather than going places to enjoy the flight experience itself...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 785

Brilliant, great idea. There are a lot of grounded people who really enjoy flying. Hope they can do the same loop ex-BNE.

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 238

Doubt it. The flight flies over NSW so I am sure it will be classified as a health risk to the Queensland public. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

13 Sep 2015

Total posts 8

And QLD have had how many deaths now? 6.. compared with 53 in NSW and 757 in VIC. 
Yeah i'd have to say they are doing a pretty good job.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 124

Any initiative that keeps airline staff employed and flying hours ticking over for Pilots is a good one. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 706

Agree 100%.  Virgin should do the same, perhaps a loop around Wellington (NZ) and then back to BNE/SYD/MEL ??

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 134

flight costs have come out! business costs $3,787, premium economy is $1,782 and economy is $787. 

I would love to do this. Sadly I’m Victorian, but still, great idea!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2015

Total posts 38

Any idea why they are only releasing 6 business class seats? 


23 Oct 2015

Total posts 26

I'll bet they are keeping the forward business cabin for crew and therefore there are 6 windows seats in the aft cabin

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Jul 2013

Total posts 81

Sold out the flight within around 35 mins

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 706

Well David, this latest development just proves beyond doubt that the 'Qantas Brains Trust' reads comments on your forum, I advocated for these types of flights about six weeks ago.  

As for those Queensland folk living just inside the border, DO NOT LOOK skyward as the low flying planes enter Queensland airspace (unless you have shower facilities immediately to hand) !!  Blame Annastacia if you do.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 47

Would have been even more popular if the idea was implemented and done when the 747s were still around (double as a longer farewell jumbo joy flight). Even on a cost recovery basis and however much the tickets end up selling for, flight would still probably sell out in no time.

04 Apr 2020

Total posts 5

Or even the refitted A380

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 706

Great thinking, mcdinchi.  Very clever, particularly with school holidays approaching.  Even if the flight broke even for Qantas, it would still be a 'gain' for the airline (i.e.  but is it 'morally shameful' to try and woo future FF members at such an early age?).  Nah.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 28

Great that points and status credits being offered too. If they did it from Perth and bundled it with a Perth hotel I would jump at it. Only getting 10 status credits on flights within WA.

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