Qantas is opening up its state-of-the-art Airbus A380 flight simulators to the general public in exchange for a fistful of frequent flyer points.
Costing around A$30 million each, these high tech flight simulators are the same ones used to train superjumbo pilots and are so heavily used that there's only five sessions per week available to the public, with those lasting from 10.45pm to 1am.
But with two hours sitting in the captain's seat of an A380 as you take a virtual flight anywhere around the globe, landing and taking off from some of the world's most famous airports, this is perhaps the ultimate present for an aviation enthusiast.
Your ride includes a pre-flight briefing with an experienced Qantas instructor "who will also walk you through an array of take-off and landing scenarios from airports across the Qantas network", the airline promises.
The Qantas A380 flight simulator package covers two people in the cockpit of an A380 flight sim located at the Qantas Jetbase in Sydney. You can pony up 275,000 Qantas Points, or settle for 165,000 Qantas Points plus $847.
If you'd rather be flying for real, then take solace in the fact that for just 256,000 points you could buy a round-the-world business class ticket with Qantas and clock up a lot more hours in an A380 with top-notch food and fizz on tap.
Qantas also offers rides in its Boeing 747 simulators at significantly lower rates, no doubt due to the higher cost and demand on the superjumbo sims – a virtual ride on the 747 will set you back just 115,000 points or 69,000 points plus $354.
If you're wondering what it's like to go for a spin in one of these incredibly lifelike simulators, check out the video below when I made the virtual journey from Sydney to London in one of Qantas' Boeing 747 simulators (I've always been a fan of the majestic jumbo).
Take my word for it: the 3D motion of the simulator plus the detailed scenery outside the cockpit makes this an extraordinary and unforgettable experience!
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.