|Quoting SLCNate (Reply 1):|
I think this topic has been discussed in detail
New to me.
|Quoting SLCNate (Reply 1):|
Qantas used to operate tours over Antarctica.
I went on one 31 Dec 2003, I thought it would have very laidback and middle-aged clientelle but it was a bit much, the pax were, well, if they were NYers, they would have had names like Cheech. Blue collar dudes and their women, and these people DRINK. Every single passenger got completely and absolutely legless. To be in a sealed aircraft with 350 plastered Australians for fourteen hours was pretty intense (I don't drink - d'oh). I don't fancy doing it again to be honest - although it wasn't all bad, a hot lesbian couple had sex in the toilet, with the door open, and the guy next to me had a bag of coke which he offered me. He called it Go Go. "D'ya want some Go Go, mate?" Actually I declined cos the idea of doing a line without being able to smoke a cigarette for another nine hours was too awful to contemplate.
Anyway the aircraft was a 747-400ER (my first time on one) and we flew about six hours, first to Hobart, I don't know why we didn't take a direct route straight south. Some kind of fuel or mechanical checkpoint to get performance numbers to make it legal. So 35,000 ft overhead Hobart we turned due south and eventually crossed the coast unfortunately covered by cloud (entire pax shoving booze down their throats as fast as they could the whole time btw). After nearly an hour the cloud parted and we went down to 20,000 feet - min altitude for QF
on these flights (which is about 10,000 feet above the highest terrain - as a result of TE901). We had some absolutely staggering views and glaciers, I took some amazing photos (I have cover artwork for 150 chill out CDs). We did a lot of turns, the pilots said it was to give people on both sides of the aircraft a good view (explanation of seating allocation below), but I spoke to the first officer on the way back to Sydney and he said he was "relieved as hell to find a gap in the clouds" - there were some mild disclaimers during the long flight south that the whole continent might be covered in clouds, up to date wx info is scarce in that inhospitable part of the world. So I suspect we saw a very tiny part of Antarctica over and over again from lots of different angles. Anyway it was a very cool and unique experience, although 14 hours is a long time to be hemmed in with REALLY REALLY DRUNK PEOPLE. I absolutely guarantee fifty or more people never even saw any ice cos they were so into the booze that they passed out within the first five hours inflight. Cabin crew who do these flights get double flight pay and two weeks R&R. And when we got off back at Sydney, they looked like they needed it.
I don’t remember the seating in detail but basically they ring a bell or whatever halfway through the Antarctica portion of the flight, and the window seats (A, K) swap with an inside aisle seat (D, G). So you get two boarding cards, Sydney to Antarctica and Antarctica to Sydney (which is nice). I had an aisle to Antarctica and a window for the second leg. (B and J are sold as “close to a window”, and the cheapo cheapo option you get E or F for the whole flight). What happens in fact is that everyone stands up the whole time except some of the window occupants. Standing in the aisle and looking through four or five windows at once from a distance of 4’ or whatever is fine, or crowding round the full-size windows in the exits. I took my window seat after the changeover but my new seatmate was SO drunk and SO aggressive and off his trolley I went back to the aisle.
|Quoting Rampart (Reply 3):|
I don't recall if there was a moratorium on trans-Antarctic commercial flying after that Air New Zealand crash in 1979.
flight was incredibly low, if I recall - something like 1,000 feet above sea level? They were skimming along the ice practically, thinking they were over the sea, but Mt Erebus rose directly ahead but obscured. Maybe it was a tiny bit higher than 1,000 feet but it's in that ballpark. An accident like that would have no bearing on trans-Antarctic ops conducted at 35,000 feet, tens of thousands of feet above the highest terrain on the continent. (And there was some trans-Antarctic flying in the 70s, probably no less than now; 707s from Chile and Argentina via AKL
certainly has had a bash at S America, including in the 707 / 70s era.)
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz