Antarctica Flights

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Antarctica flights to and from locations where tourists board cruises are one way to shorten travel time to Antarctica from points far away. Another option is to take a flight from another country, fly over Antarctica, and return to the original country without ever landing on Antarctica. Such flights are especially popular in "neighboring" nations in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia.

Antarctica travel by air requires a long flight, but in relative terms, takes a short time to complete. The average flight duration departing from Australia is about 12 hours, so compared to days or weeks of touring, it begins and ends quickly. Also, flying over a spectacular region such as Antarctica offers a panoramic tableau that cannot be observed from the ground.

Antarctica Flights over the White Continent

There are two big disadvantages to these Antarctica flights: the short time spent over Antarctica, and the inability to see or hear wildlife. Because of the distance of the take-off and landing location from Antarctica, only about four hours are spent over the continent. Interestingly, every passenger is given two boarding passes, and halfway through the flight, all passengers are asked to move to the seat listed on their second pass. In this way, views from the plane are exchanged among the passengers so the best window seats are rotated.

These Antarctica flights do not land on the continent mostly for environmental reasons. The signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, which was written to protect the continent, have approved these sightseeing flights as a way to preserve the near-pristine nature of the region, while allowing for humanity's natural curiosity. What this means, however, is that flying at 10,000 feet protects the wildlife and their habitats at sea level, but prevents passengers from seeing them in any detail.

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