Antarctica is the most remote continent in the world. Being cold, dry and windy means that there are no cities or permanent human habitation. Several countries have research bases on the continent but there is no tourist infrastructure. A popular way to visit is by taking a cruise from South America. For people who are time poor, there are flights to Antarctica.
An Australian company aptly named Antarctica Flights charters a Qantas Boeing 747-400 for flights a few times a year. The flights operate in Summer in the Southern Hemisphere presumably for the best weather conditions. A short video has been put together by the company to give a flavour of the views you will see on board.
Flights are around 12 hours round trip from the Australian departure city. It is approximately 4 hours to the ice, 4 hours over Antarctica and 4 hours back. As is says in the video, it’s the world’s most unique day trip.
All flights feature veteran Qantas crews who have been to Antarctica previously for safety reasons. In addition there are on board lectures from people who have previously been resident on the continent. It really appears to round out the entire experience.
In order for everyone to get what they pay for the flights are divided into 7 classes. Almost all passengers rotate their seating assignment and pricing is based on this. The image below shows how this works.
All passengers are welcome to get up and wander around the cabin. This means that even with middle seats you can get up and see out the windows in the doors or other passengers may give you time at the window. It is all quite democratic.
These flights are high on my list of things to do before I kick the proverbial bucket. Reviews are generally highly positive of the whole experience and I like the seat rotation to give everyone a chance to join in the fun. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald mentions that Qantas have guaranteed Boeing 747-400 service for another three years. Apparently more modern aircraft are not as suited to the job. Time will tell!
Have you been to Antarctica or ever wanted to go? Feel free to comment or add any questions below. Thanks for reading!