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Flights to nowhere: will this fad be short-lived or is it here to stay?

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Oct 10, 2020

It started with a Taiwanese airport offering flights for avid starved flyers, and then the trend caught on: now both Singapore Airlines and Qantas are doing it as well.

 

A lot of people have been missing the experience of flying, globe-trotting, and visiting new locations. While the coronavirus pandemic may have made this activity extremely difficult (and for good reasons), there is now a Taiwanese airport that has created the experience for avid travelers starving to pack a bag, get through airport security, and fly away, and many others followed its lead.

 

Taipei Songshan Airport  had officially begun offering passengers and willing participants a trip to nowhere in early July. Not shockingly, they received about 7,000 interested passengers. The trip consists of a half-day “airplane ride” where guests receive phony boarding passes and go through airport security. Once through, they gather at the gate and board a China Airlines plane that flies up and around, and then lands at the exact same location from where it took off.

 

On the other hand, with the growing opinion that flying has many exciting components including the “going to the airport” experience, Royal Brunei Airlines hopped on the same trail: the airline has run five of these flights to nowhere since mid-August. And they weren’t the only ones: last Thursday, Qantas announced flights over Australia, going over the Northern Territory, through Queensland and New South Wales, only to land back in the same airport they departed from.

 

While tickets to that flight cost somewhere between $575 and $2,765, they sold out in 10 minutes. This is telling of how much of a market there is for these flights. The airline also brought back their sightseeing flights that fly over Antarctica without actually landing there.

 

I mean, we all miss traveling, but is getting on an airplane the best part of a trip? Some would agree that it is. I would argue against that, and while the experience does sound like an opportunity of a lifetime, I think I’ll pass.