November 1979 Antarctic flights

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A brochure released by Air New Zealand for the Antarctic flights in November 1979. It outlines the preferred route, the dates for the flights, the cost and highlights in-flight amenities including meals, drinks and entertainment.

Antarctic flights in November 1979

The popularity of its earlier Antarctic flights, and positive reports from returning passengers, meant Air New Zealand needed to do little advertising to fill seats on those it announced for November 1979. Within three weeks the flights were ‘solidly booked', with many of the seats filled by people who had missed out previously.

Experienced commentators

The commentators on the November flights were all experienced 'Antarcticans': Sir Holmes Miller on the 7th, Sir Edmund Hillary on the 14th, Robert (Bob) Thomson on the 21st and Peter Mulgrew on the 28th. Miller, Hillary and Mulgrew were all members of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1957-58, while Thomson was the Director of the Antarctic Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research from 1965 to 1988.

The flights were expensive – the ticket price of $329 was the equivalent of over $1000 in 2008. There was also no guarantee that passengers would be able to see Antarctica – weather could obscure the view or force a change of route – and no refunds would be given.

But the airline offered an appealing package. It included meals, refreshments, a complimentary bar service, in-flight entertainment and commentary, and the 'unique opportunity to look down on the lonely land of Scott, Shackleton and Byrd, and their explorer-scientist successors'.

Prospective passengers were also advised that they would receive a number of flight souvenirs – including a full colour menu and photographic booklet, a comprehensive map of Antarctica and other ‘informative material’.

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