With global travel bans making it difficult for travelers to satisfy their wanderlust, one Asian airline has come up with a novel solution. Taiwanese China Airlines, in partnership with Taipei’s Songshan Airport, has laid on a flight on its Airbus A330 for travel-hungry locals, with just one small catch – it doesn’t leave the airport.
Take a flight to nowhere
Travel starved passengers have been offered a chance to indulge in the full travel experience without risking getting stranded overseas. Taipei’s Songshan Airport has taken 90 people on a complete air travel trip, without ever leaving the airport.
With so little traffic, Taipei Songshan Airport is hosting a "pretend to leave the country" tour (偽出國)—getting on board and back in the same aiport. I'd say this is a quite a creative stimulus, especially for families with small kids. pic.twitter.com/FwDHQd3HIq
— John Chung-En Liu 劉仲恩 (@JohnChungEnLiu) June 11, 2020
The campaign, launched last month, lets would-be passengers go through the whole experience of taking a trip, from security to immigration, queuing at the gate and boarding the plane. The aircraft, an A330 belonging to Taiwanese carrier China Airlines, will be all theirs for 15 minutes.
Once onboard, they’ll be greeted by a flight attendant and given the usual full safety briefing. Before disembarking having gone absolutely nowhere, they’ll get a demonstration of everything the airline is doing to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
Also included in the three and a half hour tour is the full airport experience, including shopping in the duty free store. They are also treated to snacks and drinks in the airport’s brand new scenic restaurant. A few passengers also got to try out the new e-gates at the airport too.
The first tour took place today, July 2nd. Further tours are planned on the 4th and 7th of this month.
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Thousands applied for the experience
Reuters reports that around 7,000 people applied to be part of the innovative experience. The winners were chosen at random from the pool, with 30 lucky participants selected for each tour. Each one can bring a friend, so 60 people will get the pleasure of the full travel experience at each event.
While the tours allow passengers to get a unique insider perspective on the airline’s COVID protection measures, the primary reason for the initiative is to showcase the extensive renovations that the airport has undertaken while it was not operating many flights. Since lockdown, Taipei’s Songshan has facilitated mostly domestic flights as the borders were closed to international traffic.
Songshan usually has numerous daily flights to Tokyo, Seoul, and various destinations in China. In 2019, it handled around 6.2 million passengers, but since the outbreak of coronavirus, passenger numbers plummeted 64%.
Chih-ching Wang, deputy director of Taipei Songshan Airport, told CNN,
“People who didn’t have the opportunity to take international flights at Songshan (can) use this chance to experience and learn more about boarding process and relevant service facilities.”
Today’s experience was on board a China Airlines, but the next tours will be on Eva Air’s widebody Airbus A330.
Would you like to take a flight to nowhere? Would it satisfy your wanderlust? Let us know what you think in the comments.