Air Canada is launching its ‘Infinite Canada Flight Pass’, which allows passengers unlimited domestic flights for three months. Available until 23 September, the passes are available in one, two or three-month variations, with the option of each pass being either ‘Standard’, ‘Flex’, or ‘Latitude’. The cheapest, the ‘Standard’ option, costs CAN$2,260 per month, while the ‘Latitude’ option costs $5,650 per month.
The passes allow passengers to book a trip up to one hour prior to the flight, and there are no amendment or cancellation fees, offering maximum flexibility in these uncertain times.
Flexibility sought after by prospective travellers
With a nationwide level 3-travel warning in place in Canada, domestic travel seems to be the most viable option for those willing to travel – although Manulife has recently launched policies that offer travel disruption and Covid-19 cover for those wishing to travel outside of Canada.
But, with many still nervous about travelling internationally, though still eager to travel, this domestic travel option looks set to prove a huge hit, especially with the ability to book up to one hour before a flight takes off – flexibility was cited as one of the most important factors amongst prospective travellers, alongside adequate health and safety measures.
“Our new Infinite Canada Flight Pass provides both [unrivalled flexibility and certainty for domestic travel] by enabling customers to easily book and change their travel plans without any blackout restrictions or change or cancellation fees, while locking in the price of their flights for up to three months with one flat fee,” Air Canada said.
Qantas’ ‘flights to nowhere’ sell out within 10 minutes
Elsewhere, in Australia, Qantas launched its ‘flight to nowhere’, and the tickets sold out within 10 minutes. The Australian carrier’s seven-hour scenic route around the country will both take off and land in Sydney, and will allow passengers to enjoy views over the likes of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Whitsunday Islands as the plane flies in ‘long, sweeping figure-eights’ over various points of interest. Tickets were priced between AUD$575 and $2,765 depending on the class, and passengers are not required to present a passport, nor quarantine themselves.
“It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history,” a Qantas spokesperson said. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we wait for borders to open.”
Qantas is also launching separate ‘joy flights’ over Antarctica, with tickets costing upwards of $1,199 for the 13-hour return flight.
Balancing traveller demand with environmental responsibility
There’s no doubt great demand for these ‘sightseeing’ tours. People of Australia, much like those in Canada, have been prevented from travelling for some time now – the country is under a strict lockdown, with state borders closed to all-but-essential travel. So, it’s great to see the industry responding by promoting domestic travel. Indeed, Qantas’ offering comes following its campaign to increase pressure on Australian states to open their borders.
However, while the travel industry is suffering economically, and people’s quality of lives are being impacted by strict lockdown measures, airlines still have an ethical responsibility to mitigate their impact on the climate, and many have criticised Qantas’ flight to nowhere. Anna Hughes, Director of Flight Free UK, told British news outlet The Independent: “It’s a real indication of our addiction to flying that we would board a flight to nowhere.
“We’re often told that we can’t live without flights because of what they give us in terms of experiencing and understanding other places and cultures. But all these flights give us is a shedload of emissions – something we can well do without at this crucial time for the climate.”