Taiwan continues to cater to the needs of its travel-starved population by offering yet another aviation experience that doesn’t actually take you anywhere.
Following up on an offer in July, in which the public was able to check in and board a grounded airplane in Taiwan’s Songshan Airport, one airline has just upgraded the faux travel experience by offering an actual flight — to nowhere.
EVA Air, one of the biggest carriers in Taiwan, is offering the special journey on August 8 (Father’s Day in Taiwan) to help satisfy its customers’ travel itch.
The trip will take around three hours, with the flight taking off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport, then circling the skies before returning to the same airport.
“The international travel market has been suspended for more than half a year,” states a news release (in Chinese) on EVA Air’s website. “Citizens’ cries for going abroad is getting stronger. To satisfy travelers’ wishes, EVA Air has decided to introduce an ‘alternative travel experience’ on August 8, Father’s Day.”
If it’s a clear day, passengers will be able to take in views of several Taiwan attractions including Guishan Island and the scenic Huadong coastline, as well as other nearby islands.
Passengers will be flying on the “super popular” Hello Kitty Dream jet.
The plane bears EVA Air’s special Sanrio-themed livery. An A330, it features many Sanrio characters including Hello Kitty, My Melody (Hello Kitty’s BFF), as well as Little Twin Stars’ Kiki and Lala.
Passengers can expect themed Hello Kitty in-flight amenities, free WiFi for texting and an inflight entertainment system that is usually reserved for long-haul flights.
MICHELIN-STARRED INFLIGHT MEAL
Inflight dining is another highlight of the trip.
The main courses are a choice of chirashi don (assorted sashimi over rice) created by three-Michelin-star chef Motokazu Nakamura, or a classic braised beef noodle dish.
The flight, departing at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, will be operated under flight number BR5288. Why the number 5288? When spoken, it sounds like “I love dad” in Chinese.
An economy class ticket is TWD5,288 (US$180). Passengers can choose to upgrade their seats to business class for an additional TWD1,000 ($34).
International tourism has been effectively stopped in much of the world as countries shut their borders to stem outbreaks of Covid-19 and Taiwan is no exception. The island locked down its borders in March amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign nationals are still banned from visiting the island but Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on June 24 that it would gradually adjust entry regulations in response to worldwide efforts to resume economic activity.