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TRAVEL & LEISURE

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

The trips to the icy continent will return for their next flights from November.
By Libby Curran and Sarah Ward
May 09, 2021
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By Libby Curran and Sarah Ward
May 09, 2021
  shares

Seeing the South Pole is a bucket-list dream at the best of times, and even more so in these pandemic-afflicted times. But, if you have a bit of spare cash to burn, it's actually achievable — including while Australia's borders remain mostly 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 Perth (November 14, 2021), Adelaide (November 21, 2021), Brisbane (November 28, 2021), Melbourne (December 5, 2021 and February 6, 2022) and Sydney (December 31, 2021 and February 13, 2022), 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 Standard Economy Class ($2199), Superior Economy Class ($3199) and 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' 2021–22 season is open for bookings now, with flights out of Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney between November 14, 2021–February 13, 2022.

Images: Antarctica Flights

Published on May 09, 2021 by Libby Curran

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