Asiana Airlines recently announced its plans to operate sightseeing tours out of Incheon International Airport. These “flights to nowhere” will roam above the skies of South Korea, offering an authentic flying experience many travel enthusiasts have longed for during the coronavirus pandemic.
Flights will involve an Airbus A380 passenger jet and will fly over eastern and southern South Korea. The sightseeing trips are scheduled to take off on Oct. 24 and 25, with flights expected to last around two hours.
Where will the flights take you?
According to Routesonline, flights will take off from Seoul (Incheon International Airport) and fly over Gangneung, Pohang, Gimhae, and Jeju, before touching down in Seoul again. The flight path will first take passengers east, soaring over Gangneung and Pohang, before heading south.
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Travelers will pass over Gimhae and Busan towards the south before cruising above the famous resort island of Jeju. After that, the plane will head back to Seoul for a total flight time of around two hours.
What to expect onboard
The idea behind the “flights to nowhere” is to recreate the flying experience for those who have sorely missed traveling. As one airline official commented:
“Asiana has come up with the idea of special flights for passengers eager to take to the skies.”
Once passengers are aboard, in-flight meals will be served alongside an amenity kit to complete the experience. Additionally, travelers will be given 50% discount coupons and mileage points. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, passengers will need to bring masks and can expect social distancing to be in place.
How can I catch these flights?
The sightseeing flights are available over just two days on Oct. 24 and 25. Despite limited availability, fares are very much affordable with rates starting at 205,000 won (US$175) for economy seats. Those looking to upgrade to business class can buy tickets starting at 305,000 won (US$260).
Flights will not be operating at full capacity due to social distancing requirements. With 495 seats usually available on an Airbus A380, around 310 fares are for sale on each flight. Passengers will depart out of Seoul from Incheon International Airport.
Are flights to nowhere common?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines very rarely operated “flights to nowhere” – flights intended for sightseeing and enjoyment rather than as a means of travel. However, since the downturn in air travel over the past several months, many airlines have introduced these flights to nowhere to make up for lost revenue.
Australian airline Qantas recently offered fares for a seven-hour flight that sold out in just 10 minutes. Other carriers, including Air India, are launching their own flights to nowhere to capitalize on the new trend. After a US$2.1bn takeover of Asiana Airlines recently failed, the carrier has been looking for alternative streams of income.
How interested would you be in catching a “flight to nowhere”? Is it worth the money?