The pandemic has seen many airlines turning to innovative and diverse means to bring in some cash. Some have sold collectibles, others turned to flights to nowhere, while some are renting out time in their flight simulators.
It was recently revealed that Jeju Air has installed a flight simulator at the Holiday Inn Express hotel in Hongdae, western Seoul. It’s a 737 MAX simulator and can be booked for a 40-minute experience for 80,000 won ($67). Until December, Jeju Air is offering the experience for just 48,000 won ($40).
That’s perhaps the cheapest sim session we’ve seen to date, but not everyone is planning to visit Seoul anytime soon. As such, we thought we’d take a look at which other airlines are giving guests a chance to check out their commercial simulators.
BA has one of the most comprehensive selections of flight simulator experience opportunities available. Participants can book their sim time in a variety of the airline’s current and former aircraft, including the 767-300, the 747-400, and the 777-200.
Flight times range from one hour to three hours, with prices starting from £399 ($548) for an hour on the 767, rising to £1,199 ($1,647) for three hours on the 747 or 777. Trying to book any of the experiences listed on the BA Global Learning Academy website results in an error message, stating it is closed for online bookings. However, further information can be obtained by emailing the training center.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines doesn’t open its commercial simulators to the public, but it does have a simulator housed at the Delta Flight Museum, which is bookable. This full-motion flight simulator is for the Boeing 737-200, and is a genuine ex-pilot trainer.
One to two people can book the experience for $425, which includes a 10-minute pre-flight briefing, 45 minutes of flying, and a five-minute review afterward. Bookings can be made online, although, at present, it appears to be closed during the week and only bookable at weekends.
With no flying going on, Thai decided to open up its full-motion flight simulators to the public in September last year. The experience takes place in the Thai Airways flight training center and includes eight level-D full flight simulators: A300-600, B747-400, B737-400, B777-200/300, B777ER, A330-300, A340-600, and A380-800.
Sessions range from $540 for half an hour to $1,620 for a full 90-minute session, and can be for one or two people. With the flight training center previously off-limits for anyone other than Thai Airways crew, it’s a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes as well as taking control of one of Thai’s widebody jets.
If you want to fly the king of the skies, who better to pilot it with than Emirates. The airline’s A380 simulator can be found at Dubai Mall, where prospective pilots can choose their flight path, weather conditions, and time of day.
Participants can fly for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or a full hour. Prices start from AED 160 ($44) for the shortest experience, although Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members can get a discount on the published prices.
United’s flight sim offer was a temporary one, but it could come back again. The experience was opened to MileagePlus members as part of a points auction earlier this year, with interested parties invited to bid their award miles to win the opportunity.
The simulator could be either the A320 or the 767, with up to four hours of flying time as part of the package. Winning bidders also got to meet and greet leadership at United’s flight training center, as well as enjoying the emergency procedures tour, including a slide down the emergency chute.
EVA has its own promotion running that is exclusive to its loyalty members, and they have to be diamond or gold status to take part. For 100,000 miles, these loyal guests can purchase time in the EVA Air flight simulator, although the airline states that the type of simulation will be determined by EVA itself.
Say hello to our flight simulator team! This team of engineers work hard to create interactive programs that mirror the experience of flying as closely as possible. #evaair #evaairways #EVAmeanssafety #iFlyEVA #TravelwithEVA #HiEVA pic.twitter.com/mQtsrSHP2J
— EVA Air (@EVAAirUS) August 4, 2020
EVA sells its miles at 1,000 points for $40. While buying points is probably the worst way to accrue the required miles, it puts a nominal value on this experience of an incredible $4,000! Let’s hope it’s worth it.
While not strictly an airline, Brooklands Museum in the UK has the only remaining functional Concorde simulator in the world, and it’s available to be booked by enthusiasts. The participant will receive training from former British Airways Concorde flight crew and time in the simulator itself.
The experiences are tiered at Gold or Silver, with Silver coming in at £250 and Gold at £580. Both provide admission to the museum, a presentation on Brooklands and Concorde and the flight experience. Gold admission gets two hours in the sim with 30 minutes at the controls, followed by a three-course lunch, while Silver admission gets one hour in the sim with 15 minutes at the controls.