Air India may soon be joining the growing list of airlines operating flights to nowhere. Taiwanese carrier Starlux has already conducted several flights while Australia’s Qantas just launched its own scenic flight program. Singapore Airlines is likely to follow suit as well. October may see many more aircraft in the air – they just won’t be flying too far from home.
Air India’s scenic flight experiences
India’s flag carrier is reportedly planning its own flight experiences, which will have aircraft take-off and land at the same airport. Most commonly nicknamed ‘flights to nowhere,’ these trips will offer the public an opportunity to get on an aircraft and take to the skies at a time when travel restrictions are severely limiting where people can go.
Airline officials familiar with the developments told the Hindustan Times that the “scenic joy flights” will give passengers an aerial tour of famous spots in India, flying at a low enough altitude to offer picturesque views. Still unconfirmed and under consideration by the airline are numerous details, including routes and locations, as well as pricing and aircraft.
“Yes, we are exploring the possibility of starting a scenic flight service. Other details are to be decided,” – Air India spokesperson via Hindustan Times
It was suggested that a widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 747 would be used for the service – it is unclear whether the suggestion was made by the airline official or by the media source.
Which aircraft and routes could Air India fly?
While most sources have given the Boeing 747 as an example of a widebody aircraft that Air India could use, it wouldn’t be our first guess. The airline has two other widebodies at its disposal: The 787 Dreamliner and the 777.
We’re guessing that the airline would follow Qantas’ lead and fly the 787. It’s the most efficient widebody aircraft available for Air India. While it would be the lowest-capacity widebody jet, it could at least be filled closer to capacity with fewer passengers occupying middle-section seats—something to consider when a flight is centered around sightseeing.
As for routes, India has no shortage of beautiful places. The most notable Indian attraction, the famous Taj Mahal, would be a good candidate for a pass-by, especially with its proximity to Delhi. A flight out of Delhi could also include some time up north to get a view of the mountains. The forts of Rajasthan or the coastline of southern India might also look great from above. Again, this is purely speculation as the airline has not provided such details.
Case counts should be considered
While these scenic flights to nowhere will get around the need to cross international borders, there is still the fact that a few hundred people will need to set foot in a confined space. While mandatory masks, stringent cleaning and disinfection, and high-quality air filtration are all aspects of air travel these days, it should be noted that these experiences have so far been sold in countries with much lower case counts.
As for India, active and new cases counts remain relatively high in many parts of the country. Therefore, there is the question if this is something the government and health authorities would actually approve of.
Where do you think Air India’s flights to nowhere will take passengers? And on what aircraft? Let us know your guesses in the comments.