Flight to Nowhere, the Story of 2020
Asiana A380 Flight to Nowhere Experience Sold Out
Targets Travel Enthusiasts with a Cure for Corona Blues
International Travel Routes Being Reviewed
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are frustrated at the inability to escape, and “flights to nowhere” (목적지 없는 비행) are becoming a new trend in the Korean aviation industry.
Flight to nowhere is a unique travel experience that departs from an airport, flies a set route and lands at the airport of departure. Since Koreans are deeply in love with overseas travel, they’ve been especially stressed about being unable to take a trip (in addition to the life and death situation from the virus). Although it seems like a poor use of resources and environmentally unfriendly as well, this tour is a way to target dissatisfied potential travelers with a cure for the corona blues.
One “flight to nowhere” passenger said, “It’s difficult to get on a plane in the near future because of COVID-19. I’m about to be 80 years old and I thought that this may be my last chance before I die, so I bought a ticket.”
What will you See on the Flight?
Asiana Airlines operates its unique site seeing tour over the Eastern and Southern regions of Korea for about two hours. The flights depart from Incheon International Airport, fly over Gangneung, Pohang, Gimhae and Jeju, then return to Incheon.
During the flight, the pilot announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, how hard has it been with the prolonged COVID-19 situation? The flight today was designed to bring back the beautiful memories of taking a trip, which is sadly becoming forgotten, and to revitalize your body and mind from COVID-19 exhaustion.”
What to Expect Onboard
The Airbus A380, also known as the “hotel in the sky”, was selected for the tour. Passengers are provided with in-flight meals just like in regular flights (like the good old days), and they also earn miles. The ticket prices are 305,000 KRW (about 274 USD) for business suite, 255,000 KRW (229 USD) for business class, and 205,000 KRW (184 USD) for economy class (total price including tax).
Despite the high cost, tickets were almost instantly sold out. An Asiana Airlines official remarked, “we designed this special product for people who miss air travel in the midst of COVID-19. We’re considering additional operations since it was a success.”
On November 9th, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, mentioned that they are considering providing duty-free shopping permits to passengers on international flights to nowhere.
Will I be Able to Take these Flights in the Future?
In Korea, “flight to nowhere” is available through Asiana Airlines, Air Busan and Jeju Air.
From a business standpoint, airlines do not profit from this service. Flights are required to be booked at less than full capacity due to social distancing rules. The service is mainly designed for pilots to maintain their license (they are required to depart at least 3 times every 90 days).
So far, Qantas, EVA Air, Royal Brunei Airlines, Air India and All Nippon Airlines (ANA) have offered their own version of this service.
If this idea is a success, a “flight to nowhere” might be coming to an airport near you.
Let’s hear from you!
How interested are you in taking a flight to nowhere?