By Benjamin Pham
Qantas Reveals Virtual Travel Experience From The Ground
The airline industry experienced a significant influx of passengers this summer, as many passengers were eager to travel, which was a stark contrast to last year since many were forced to quarantine due to strict Covid-19 requirements, mask mandates and lengthy border closures. However, this summer saw numerous countries that are usual hotspots for tourists and leisure travel reopen their borders, after a robust push for vaccinations that lead to loosened restrictions. Even so, there are still those who are unable to travel due to complications with the Covid-19, and Qantas’ response and solution include a virtual and sensory experience.
The Australian flag carrier recently unveiled a collection of aviation-themed backgrounds for online, virtual meetings. Upon revealing the 10 downloadable backgrounds, the airline plans to provide the opportunity for passengers to use the scenes for experiencing air travel while being on the ground.
“Our customers tell us they miss flying as much as getting to the destination itself and this sensory experience will help fill the temporary void while some of us can’t fly because of border closures.” Stephanie Tully, Group Chief Customer Officer, Qantas, said. “We have some of the most engaged Frequent Flyer members in the world and while we might not be able to take them around the world right now, we can remind them of what they have to look forward to when we welcome them back on board a Qantas flight in the future.”
In addition, Qantas prepared a complimentary soundtrack completed by an Australian composer, showcasing the airline’s signature in-flight and boarding music. The carrier arranged for the soundtrack to be paired with a compilation of scenery across the country.
Australia’s ongoing border closure continues amid a bustling summer holiday travel season in other regions of the world. The country’s domestic borders remain closed and restricted, especially in southeastern Australia, New South Wales’ capital of Sydney and Victoria. While Qantas experiences schedule and staff reductions, Virgin Australia recently expanded its domestic operations by launching new routes from Adelaide to Darwin and Launceston, starting in September.
Dave Emerson, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Australia Group, said, “With open borders between South Australia and Tasmania and Northern Territory, we’re able to finally start direct flights between Adelaide-Darwin, as well as offer a new direct service between Adelaide-Launceston. More flying also means we’ll have more of our team members in the air and more business for the many hundreds of tourism operators and hospitality venues who rely on the economic injection tourists provide their communities,” a decision portrayed by the carrier’s decision to widen its fight schedule for the local September school holiday.
Flights to Launceston in the state of Tasmania will commence on Sept. 7, operating three times a week, while flights to Darwin in the Northern Territory will start on Sept. 6, operating four times a week.
Evidently, Qantas faces the ongoing effects of the continuing border closures due to the Covid-19 ordeal. While Virgin Australia – its key, domestic competitor – continues to operate flights and launches new routes to expand its route network, Qantas found a temporary solution to overcome the barrier, until the circumstances are safe and favorable to return normalcy. However, the carrier must be cautious when resuming optimal flight operations to strategically position itself to overtake its fierce competition.