The pandemic lockdown restriction certainly put travel bugs and frequent travellers on anxiety-ridden mode. Fortunately for them, some airlines have offered ‘flights to nowhere’ just to ease their ‘grounded’ discomfort.
Airlines are desperate to make some quick revenue and to keep their pilots’ licenses current have offered special sightseeing flights.
Among the airlines joining the fray are Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp, Japan’s ANA Holdings Incs and Qantas Airways Ltd.
Qantas has taken fliers over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour before landing back in Sydney.
According to weforum.org, tickets cost between A$787 and A$3,787 depending on seating class. Safe to say, many passengers immediately snapped up tickets and jumped on board. All 134 available seats were quickly filled, a Qantas spokeswoman said.
“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” she said. “People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.”
Taiwan’s EVA used one of their iconic Hello Kitty livery planes for a special Father’s Day flight last month.
Tickets costing $6,888 Taiwan dollars for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei which circled over South Korea’s Jeju Island was a hit and was sold out in four minutes.
Meanwhile, ANA used an Airbus SE A380 for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian experience on board.
Amidst worries about carbon emissions, Qantas said it would pay to offset the carbon emissions on its scenic flight from Sydney although critics have voiced that it doesn’t actually reduce emissions.
Singapore Airlines Ltd was considering offering scenic flights as well but was lambasted by environmentalists and online netizens.
"First, it encourages carbon-intensive travel for no good reason and second, it is merely a stop-gap measure that distracts from the policy and value shifts necessary to mitigate the climate crisis," said awareness group SG Climate Rally.