On Wednesday evening a Qantas Dreamliner from Buenos Aires landed in Darwin, completing the longest commercial route in the airline's 100-year history.
The mammoth flight took almost 18 hours to complete and flew over the coast of Antarctica.
The remarkable route was a repatriation flight for Australian citizens, forming the return leg of a charter flight carrying the Argentinian rugby team home after the Rugby Championship in Queensland.
QF14 took 17 hours and 26 minutes to complete the 15,020km route, and that is even after tailwinds shaved 5 minutes off the journey.
It is easily the longest route ever served by a Qantas craft, exceeding the previous record for London to Perth by an extra 200km.
Airline staff spent the past month route-planning to make sure wind conditions over the South Sea and Pacific aligned to get the passengers home.
"Qantas has always stepped up to a challenge, especially when it comes to long-haul travel," said Captain Alex Passerini, who thanked the flight planning team.
Qantas has been flying scenic flights over Antarctica from Melbourne and Sydney since the early 1970s, something that passengers pay over $2600 for. However this was a managed return flight for Australian citizens who had waited over a year to return.
"There were some truly spectacular views as we tracked across Antarctica, which was an extra bonus for our passengers who were very glad to be coming home," said Captain Passerini.
Codenamed "Great Barrier Reef" the subantarctic flight path caught some plane spotters by surprise.
It first came to the attention of flight trackers as the plane appeared to detour over the ice, causing them to wonder what the flight was up to.
The flight crew tweeted an update on their progress with "greetings from Antarctica".
Flying over the poles is nothing new. The longest commercial route in the world was Singapore Airlines' 15348km New York direct route, connecting via the shortest route over the North Pole. However, unlike the northern Arctic circle planes flying over Antarctica have few alternate airports to divert to.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners were originally earmarked for Project Sunrise, Qantas' plan for ultra long-haul commercial routes between London, Sydney and New York. After two 17000km trial flights, the programme put on hold by the pandemic.