Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia, is offering a new “flight to nowhere” that will give travel-starved residents the chance to admire the late May supermoon and full lunar eclipse from over 40,000 feet in the sky.
Amazingly, the airline says the tickets for this unique trip were sold out in “record time”, 2.5 minutes to be exact.
The supermoon flight is the latest in a series of Qantas-operated trips that take travelers up for a joy ride, before returning them right back to where they came from. Tickets for the supermoon flight started at $386 for an economy ticket, while business class was on sale for $1,160. After tickets sold out, a wait list was also created, but this has since closed.
Super blood Moon
The flight promises some pretty spectacular lunar views. The airline said in a press release that it’s working with astronomer Dr. Vanessa Moss to design “the optimal flight path over the Pacific Ocean.” Ms. Moss will also be on board to entertain travelers with facts and insights about the May 26 lunar event, which the American space agency NASA calls a “super blood Moon eclipse.”
NASA explains that the “super” part comes from the fact that the full moon will be near its closest orbital position to Earth, which will render it larger and brighter to the human eye. From some parts of the world, the moon will appear to take on a reddish hue due to the total lunar eclipse. As the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, it’ll look darker and redder.
The total lunar eclipse, the only one of 2021, should be visible from Australia, New Zealand, some Pacific territories and the US west coast. While it’s dangerous to look at a solar eclipse directly, it is safe to admire a lunar eclipse.
The spectacular trip
The Qantas flight will take place on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, chosen because its large windows make it “ideal for moon gazing,” the airline’s chief customer officer, Stephanie Tully, said in a statement.
The supermoon flight will span three hours, departing from Sydney and flying over the city’s harbor before cruising above the clouds to gaze at the moon and the eclipse. Travelers will stay masked up and will be required to social distance on board.
Last October, the Australian airline’s first flight to nowhere hit the headlines when initial tickets sold out in under 10 minutes.
Qantas was criticized by some for needlessly burning fuel at a time when the climate crisis should be prompting more respect for the environment. Environmental activists said that they viewed the flight as “essentially the definition of a pointless trip.” Meanwhile, the airlines had pledged to offset 100 percent of the October flight’s carbon emissions and plans to do the same for the upcoming supermoon trip too.
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