As stressful as flying can be, many people are missing the normalcy and nostalgia of going to an airport, checking in, boarding and eating airplane food. The feeling of getting ready for a flight and being on a plane is unique and people are desperate to get a taste of what life was like before the pandemic.
So, many airlines around the world have started offering flights to nowhere where people can experience flying without actually going anywhere. Some of the flights never take off, but some do, taking passengers around their own country for a few hours.
The options for Americans, however, are pretty limited, since most of these flight experiences are in countries with travel restrictions that affect U.S. visitors.
EVA Air, an airline based out of Taiwan, announced a flight to nowhere back in August for Father’s Day that departed and landed from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Passengers were treated to a Michelin-star meal aboard the three-hour flight on the Hello Kitty Dream Jet. Qantas Airlines, which is based in Australia, offered a similar experience where it took passengers over sights from the Great Barrier Reef to the Sydney Harbor. For seven hours, 150 guests could take in the sights on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which as the largest windows of any commercial aircraft. Some airlines are even selling their frozen in-flight meals to people at home.
These special flights aren’t expected to stick around once the pandemic ends and things go back to normal. While these flights offer some support for airlines, they are not big moneymakers as the industry is experiencing bookings down 80% since 2019. Additionally, planes have to fly anyway for mechanical reasons and commercial crews require flight time to keep their licensing in good standing, with or without passengers.