The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism industry hard—we’re talking about hotels, the local travel ecosystem, and even international airlines. And for those of you who regularly feel the ache of wanderlust, the closing of borders all around the world can be stifling. All of which (probably) went through the heads of decision-makers over at the Taipei Songshan Airport, with fake “flights” being organised for travel-starved tourists/locals.
I’ll confess that I struggle to see the logic of a flight that never leaves the ground. Long lines, document-checking, cramped seats don’t exactly make for a great experience, but it appears that others don’t share my sentiment—and quite a few others, I might add.
According to CNN Travel, the airport posted a lottery over social media, asking customers to enter and stand a chance to win a tour spot on the non-flying flight. 180 lucky winners were chosen out of around 7,000 applicants to win a spot on one of three flights. The first flight “took off” (please forgive high number of quotation marks in this article) on the 2nd of July, with China Airlines flight attendants actually dressing up in uniform to give onboard safety instructions. Meanwhile EVA Air operated the remaining two tours (and flights).
The dress-up doesn’t just end there. Participants also work through the usual red tape that travellers are accustomed to: immigration, screening, and other security checks. Unfortunately, in-flight meals weren’t provided—and we all know how delicious airplane food can be. Instead, participants were taken to a restaurant in the Taiwanese airport for their meals.
The takeaway from all of this is that people miss travelling. While I personally can’t understand the allure of simply sitting on a stationary plane—and going through various checks before actually sitting—perhaps the opportunity to snap a couple of photos for Instagram is worth the trouble for some “travellers”. Personally, I’d prefer something a little more non-conventional such as Airbnb and KLM’s collaborative “Airplane Apartment“, with the entire plane decked out as… well, an apartment.
Cnn Inside Edition also says that more non-flying flights are planned for the coming weeks, owing to the popularity of the first wave of tours. What do you guys think? Is this something that you’d be interested to do in Malaysia? Let me know in the comments below.