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QANTAS: Back to the future – (magical) Mystery Tours return

QANTAS: Back to the future – (magical) Mystery Tours return

OMG – this is so back to the 90’s when Qantas discontinued its Mystery Tours. Well, now you can relive them.

Qantas is promoting them as ‘concept flights’, and claiming they are ‘highly popular’ (ahem – then why did they drop them?) and that it is re-introducing them to ‘combat the border blues’, and finally – and this is a big stretch – as a way for travellers to ‘enjoy unique travel experiences in Australia while international borders remain closed’.

Remember Mystery Flights?

You do? Well back then, they were just packaging and reselling empty seats on existing flights to travellers who were prepared to not know their destination but prepared to spend a few hours amusing themselves before their scheduled flight back home. Minimal risk, maximum return.

a can and a box of crackers on a table
I’m hoping catering will be better than this (SYD-ADL November 2020)

NEW (improved) Mystery Flights

This time they are a bit more like the Beatles Magical Mystery Tours. They are dedicated flights on particular days to secret but known non-capital city destinations, with organised amusements and activities on the ground to keep passenegers occupied before you return flight.

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer is even spinning these as promoting domestic tourism – which, (ahem) is already booming.

“As well as helping bring more of our people back to work, these mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas especially, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions.”

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer

There are going to be 3 flights out of 3 capital cities which will massively (?) assist these regions tourist industries:

BRISBANE: Saturday 27 March 2021
Tailored to those who are interested in:

  • country hospitality
  • gourmet food & wine
  • the great outdoors

SYDNEY: Sunday 18 April 2021
If you are looking for sun and sea:

  • the tropics
  • salt water on your skin
  • long lunching on the beach

MELBOURNE: Saturday 1 May 2021
For walking foodies who visit farmers markets:

  • the great outdoors
  • gourmet food & wine
  • farmers markets

How Much?

Not cheap is the obvious response, but depending on what you actually get, could be quite worth it in dollar, points and status credit terms.

The fares per person include, meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and ground-based activities:

  • Economy: $737 / 2,400 points / 40 Status Credits
  • Business $1,579 / 5,000 points / 80 Status Credits
a beach with trees and a body of water
Byron Bay, Clarke’s Beach 2020

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

A weekend Mystery Flight Adventure (the official Qantas name) could be quite an amusing way to spend a day and earn some points and status credits.

You can put this in the basket together with those ‘flights to nowhere’ and ‘flights to somewhere’ as money making experiments in a time when airlines are living on the knife-edge of solvency.

Putting my sour tongue to one side – this is a fun adventure experiment for Qantas, which looks like it is already successful in sales terms.

I would just note that the flights to somewhere/nowhere sold out almost instantly but strangely haven’t been repeated. I wonder if they were financially successful? Or were they too much bother for not enough reward, other than the PR?

Finally, those Mystery Flight Adventures have already sold out, but you can put yourself on a waiting list.

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