Qantas is bringing back its famous ‘mystery flights’, with all-inclusive tickets to undisclosed luxury locations starting at under $740

  • Qantas has released a ‘mystery skies’ program that will fly participants from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to an undisclosed location for a day of luxury.
  • The program is a nod to a trend from last century of booking day-of flights on planes with empty seats.
  • The airline hopes to lure Australian travellers to invest even more in domestic travel
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The 90s trend has taken to the skies with the announcement that Qantas is throwing back to its ‘mystery flights’ program, which will fly participants to an unknown luxury destinations in regional Australia for the day.

The country’s major carrier will offer customers flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to undisclosed interstate locations, for day trips that will be coordinated by local tour operators.

Flights will be on one of three Qantas Boeing 737 planes located at the major airports, with all-day packages including meals and in-flight beverages, plus activities on the ground which range from wine making, gourmet lunches and snorkelling on tropical islands.

The nostalgia play represents a bid by the airline to get a good story in the news cycle, after free falling 75% in revenue in 2020.

Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully leaned into the lighter side of the airline’s need to continue to weather the uncertainty of border closures.

“Our customers tell us that where they can and can’t travel within Australia has been a bit of a mystery lately,” said Ms Tully.

“These flights turn that mystery into a positive by creating a unique experience for the many people keen to start travelling again.

“The vaccine rollout is bringing a lot more certainty and domestic border restrictions should soon be a thing of the past,” she said.

It also shows how the airline is chipping in to support regional tourism, which was decimated by the effects of COVID-19 – including border closures and the absence of international visitors – in 2020.

“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.”

So how did mystery flights actually start in the first place?

Qantas’ mystery destinations are a nod to a trend from last century where customers would show up at the airport and score a last minute flight to any location where seats were still available.

While 72% of Australians said they are hoping to book a holiday in 2021, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has amended his earlier projection that international travel could return by 1 July to October at the earliest, making glamorous options in the domestic travel market an appealing alternative.

Joyce said the airline has forecast that international capacity could be only 40% of pre-COVID levels in 2022.

To bridge the gap in domestic tourism spending, Australians will need to spend 70% of what they would normally spend overseas, on domestic trips.

Tickets sales will begin on Thursday midday, with economy fares beginning at $737.

“The release of these Mystery Flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, bring a touch of glamour, excitement and fun back to travelling as well,” Ms Tully told T Australia.

“Flying is an escape, the ultimate feeling of freedom and luxury.”