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Any airline loyalty program lets you trade your points in on a flight – but Qantas is now offering frequent flyers the chance to ride in one of its state-of-the-art flight simulators, the same ones used to train Qantas pilots.
Qantas has 10 flight simulators in its Sydney training facility, with the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 simulators costing around A$30 million each – around one-tenth the price of the actual aircraft.
And if you've got 115,000 points to spare, you can book an hour-long session where you'll hang the L plates on a virtual Qantas Boeing 747 and, with the assistance of an instructor, take off and land at any almost airport around the globe.
The two-person package also includes a tour of Qantas' Sydney training facility.
Given that the flight sims are in heavy use not only by Qantas but other airlines, there will be only 48 sessions available between December 2012 and March 2013, with bookings open from next week on the Qantas Frequent Flyer store.
"The number of simulator spots are quite limited and we're expecting a lot of them to be snapped up as Christmas gifts, particularly for those who are hard to buy for" says Lesley Grant, CEO of Qantas Loyalty.
If you're wondering what it's like to go for a spin in one of these incredibly lifelike simulators, check out the video below, shot last year when I made the virtual journey from Sydney to London in one of Qantas' Boeing 747 simulators (I've always been a fan of the majestic jumbo).
Take my word for it: the 3D motion of the simulator plus the detailed scenery outside the cockpit makes this an extraordinary and unforgettable experience!
Update: as AusBT reader jdl rightly points out, Virgin Australia offers a flight sim experience on one of its Boeing 737-800 simulators for 38,000 points.
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