On Jan 24, Qantas Airbus A380 transported adventurers from Sydney to the remote convergence of Australian and New Zealand claims in Antarctica. According to Croydon Travel’s website, a flight leaves on Feb 14 from Melbourne, the last before Autumn.
Ticket prices for this unusual one-night sight seeing tour range from $1000 to $6300 depending upon the size of your seat, and its proximity to windows. The plane never lands outside of Australia, so the view from the window is critical to the quality of your trip. Yet, reports in the New Zealand Herald, of passengers ‘swapping seats’ seems to indicate that the ownership of any particular window in coach is vague, and they become a sort of community gathering spot when icebergs, mountains or other notable features are spotted. With the census of flights averaging in the dozens, these invading Australians rival or outnumber the population below for many hundreds of miles.
With concerns about the impact of ecotourism on the peninsula and other areas in Antarctica, Croydon may have carved a niche with this more sustainable, less disruptive excursion that allows people to experience the beauty of the continent first hand, to connect with her, yet minimize their impact on the environment. The only thing that is taken from the land is the light trapped inside the digital photos of the passengers. Assuming, of course, they can afford a seat with a window.