Starlux Airlines Offering Sightseeing Flight To Nowhere

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For those in Taiwan missing the international travel experience, relatively new start-up Starlux Airlines is launching a ‘flight to nowhere’ for the purposes of sightseeing. The offer was announced this past week, marketed as a “pretending to go abroad” tour, taking passengers over the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea.

Taiwan based Starlux Airlines
StarLux commenced operations at the beginning of 2020 – earning it a spot on the list of ‘unluckiest airlines.’ Photo: Starlux Airlines

In mid-March, we asked ourselves and our readers if Starlux was the world’s unluckiest airline. The Taiwanese carrier launched at the beginning of this year. Two month’s into its operations, and the airline was forced to suspend its services due to the global health crisis.

While operations have resumed, the carrier is offering an additional service for those not quite ready for international travel just yet.

A trip to the Pratas Islands

The one-time experience took form as flight JX-8888. On top of being a specialized tourist experience, the flight was extra special in that it was flown by Starlux Airlines Chairman Chang Kuo-Wei, according to reporting by Focus Taiwan.

jx8888
The flight path of JX-8888. The flight had a duration of roughly three and a half hours. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Data from FlightRadar24.com indicates that the flight took place on August 7th using the airline’s brand new Airbus A321neo. Registered as B-58201, the aircraft is less than a year old, having been delivered to Starlux last October.

Taking off just after 11:00 local time from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the flight was about three and a half hours in duration.

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pratas islands
An aerial view of the stunning Pratas Islands. Photo: NASA Johnson Space Center via Wikimedia Commons 

Focus Taiwan notes that the flight headed south along the coast of eastern Taiwan at a lower-than-usual altitude. This was to give (window-seat) passengers an exclusive close-up look at Taiwan’s landscape from above.

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Focus Taiwan reports that a total of 188 tickets for Friday’s flight were scooped up in the span of just 30 seconds. Thus, with this popular demand, Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-Wei says the airline is planning a second air travel tour package for mid-August, which will be completely different from this first experience.

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Starlux Airlines, Coronavirus, Flight Suspension
The airline was launched with Airbus A321neo aircraft earlier this year – which can be considered terrible timing. Photo: Starlux Airlines

Starlux hoped to see this experience as an alternative to international travel, particularly at a time when travel bans are still commonplace around the world.

Head of marketing at travel booking site Klook Taiwan, Sam Lin, says that most passengers participating in this “pretending to go abroad” tour were between 20 and 40 years old. He suspects that they were keen to break out of their daily routine, which currently has restricted their ability to fly internationally.

What do you think of this kind of travel experience? Let us know in the comments if this is something you would do, and if so, where in the world your ideal route would take you.

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