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 of the flights and 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 passengers, meant Air New Zealand needed to do little advertising to fill seats on those it announced for November 1979. Within three weeks they were ‘solidly booked', with many of the seats taken 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 had all been members of the 1957−58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 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 $1750 in 2019. There was also no guarantee the 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 and refreshments, 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'.

Passengers would also advised receive a number of souvenirs, including a full-colour menu, a photographic booklet and a comprehensive map of Antarctica.

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