The cheapest seat is $999, the dearest more than $6000. It's the first time an A380 has done such a trip. The travel company involved has run these Antarctic flights since 1994, until now on Boeing 747s. In a way it's a voyage to nowhere, take-off and landing in the same place. It feels somehow as if it shouldn't be happening. The plane has orange, yellow and purple streamers inside. At midnight we find ourselves with champagne and party whistles. In a plane.
The first iceberg is seen from the plane's left side at 9.50pm. It triggers a rush of excitement, but it's an exercise in diplomacy to get near a window. Head pilot John Dennis is lounging in first class at the time, letting his underlings fly. He's done 40 of these missions. The pilots are treated like celebrities. Later they will sign autographs.
Captain Dennis waves off that first iceberg with the air of someone who knows what will happen next. ''Don't worry about it,'' he says. ''There will be more.''
* Qantas A380 passengers tarmac ordeal