This Indulgent Sight-Seeing Plane Tour of Antarctica Will Let You Day Trip Out of the Country

The sight-seeing flights to the icy continent will kick off again from November.
Libby Curran and Sarah Ward
Published on August 08, 2020

Seeing the South Pole is a bucket-list dream at the best of times, and even more so in 2020. But, if you have a bit of spare cash to burn, it's actually achievable — including while Australia's borders are closed to international travel.

Eager to head overseas just for one day? Then you'd best get in quick to score a seat on the upcoming Antarctica flights out of Australia. As it has in previous years, sightseeing group Antarctica Flights is taking bookings for a series of rare, sky-high charter tours. And if you're wondering how the day trips can go ahead during COVID-19, that's because they're classified as domestic flights. You won't even need to take your passport with you.

Departing Melbourne (November 15 and December 31, 2020), Sydney (November 22, 2020 and February 21, 2021), Perth (January 26, 2021), Brisbane (February 7, 2021) and Adelaide (February 14, 2021), these flights will cruise above the dazzling Antarctica Treaty area for around four hours. Each flight path is carefully chosen to maximise viewing from both sides of the plane and to ensure the best views should the weather turn nasty, while some passengers will rotate seats to allow everyone an equal shot at the spectacular scenery below.

Travelling on a Qantas 787 Dreamliner, the whole trip clocks in at around 12.5 hours — depending on your departure city — during which you'll hear from expert Antarctic explorers, talking about the polar environment and its fascinating history.

All that, while enjoying some better-than-average QANTAS plane food, full bar service and, in the lead-up to the views, a spot of in-flight entertainment — classic flick Happy Feet, or some Antarctic docos, of course.

As expected, this kind of plane trip doesn't come cheap — you're looking at $1199 to be seated without direct access to a window. Other options, including the Economy Class Standard ($2199), the Economy Class Superior ($3199) and the Premium Economy Class ($3999) involve seat rotations throughout the flight, so passengers can spend time both close to the window and further away.

Of course, you and your favourite travel buddy could drop $7999 each on Business Class Deluxe tickets to have a window seat and the one next to it all to yourselves for the entire flight.

Regardless of which type of seat you fork out for, COVID-19 safety measures will be in effect — including temperature testing and pre-flight health and safety forms; providing disposable masks, sanitiser and disinfectant wipes; enhanced cleaning procedures; and not selling all seats in Economy Class.

Antarctica Flights' 2021–21 season is open for bookings now, with flights out of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide between November 15, 2020–February 21, 2021.

Images: Antarctica Flights

Published on August 08, 2020 by Libby Curran
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