Is the title slightly confusing? I promise you that by the end of the post you will know exactly what it means. Blogging 101 teaches you to make your titles descriptive and clear. I went to class, listened, and then decided to do the opposite. That might be why I still have not gone viral.
When I think of travelling, one of the first songs that comes to mind is “Fly me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra. Go ahead – hit play and sway to the music as you continue reading this post.
Last year, those who felt that international travel had turned too mundane, were focusing on flying to the Moon. This year, it is a completely different tale. You can say that people feel more grounded (more than one meaning here) and are itching to have the mechanical bird spread its wings and carry them far, far away.
The reports from the front-lines (of travel) vary. Some people have had pleasant stories regarding their air travel within the past few months, while others not as much. You can read my side of the story in a post I wrote back in May. NROP: Traveling in times of a pandemic + BONUS! A personal tale. Since then, I have not traveled farther than two hours away from my city (by car). Why? The location I was booked for back in May was off limits and so my holiday got canceled. Ever since then, I just did not want to put myself through researching all the restrictions, getting my hopes up, and risking having it all come crashing down. I do not need to fight the airlines for another refund (I still have not received the one from April…). Of course, I also worry about safety. Many of you have told me how the people near you are adhering to social distancing, and other preemptive measures. While I see considerate people here and there, I am also fully aware of those who could not care less about the potential risk. Pandemic or not, there will always be such two groups.
Among my family and friends, I have a mix of people who had traveled for leisure across the country, and/or internationally without more than a second thought, as well as those who have not been outside their own city limits. I understand both sides – those who want to maximize their safety/minimize potential for trouble, and those who refuse to be negatively impacted by the virus.
Do I miss traveling? Of course! Which part exactly? I definitely do not miss the security lines at the airport, but I do miss seeing new places, eating new food, and meeting new people. When I step somewhere I have not been to before, it feels like my lungs expand more than they normally would. My breath is so much deeper. With that inhale, excitement fills my bloodstream. Yes, it is some sort of a high for me.
Apparently, some people miss the actual airports and/or planes, which I consider means to an end. While I remember flights “back in the day” quite fondly, they have become a lot less comfortable and fun the past several years.
Have you heard about flights to nowhere? There are countries like Brunei, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia that offer flights that land in the same city they depart from. Yes, you read that right – people go through all the hassle just to get on the plane, stay on it for an hour or so, and then return home without having gone anywhere. Yes, the plane does take off. At first, I thought that you just sit in a grounded plane. Thankfully, that is not the case (but it would not surprise me if people did that, too).
It seems like a win-win situation for you AND the airline. You get to satisfy your itch (as long as it is not like mine where you actually have to go somewhere to scratch it) and the airlines get to make a few bucks during these trying for them times. Royal Brunei served local cuisine on board while flying above the country. To me, it sounds like airplanes have become air restaurants.
Are safety protocols followed? On the Brunei flights, passengers are not forced to wear masks due to a low number of COVID-19 cases in their country. However, the staff does wear personal protective equipment (PPE). I am not sure how many people were present for any one of those five Brunei flights but the Taiwanese and Japanese planes had 300 or more people on board. (I shudder thinking about getting on a plane only to fight for an armrest and then land in a place where I have to go to work the next day.)
About a week ago, Quantas – Australia’s airline announced “A Flight to Nowhere” and it sold out in 10 minutes. Now, this one is a little bit more interesting than the Brunei one. There were only 134 tickets available for sale. 104 economy tickets available at $787 each, 24 premium economy tickets available at $1,787 each, and 6 business class tickets available at $3,787 each (in Australian dollars). The flight is due to take off October 10th and will last seven hours. Passengers are promised to be able to see a few of Australia’s touristy locations (Sydney’s Opera House, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef) without having to step off the plane. On top of that, there is supposed to be a celebrity host, which makes this trip sound like a fun time! The airline also brought back their Antarctica sightseeing flight. Again, you only get to see it from up in the air. But, still – How cool is that? I believe that those 134 seats are window seats, which would make for nice viewing AND help people adhere to social distancing rules.
Countries like India and USA are considering such flights in the future.
“(A)ll I want is to be in a window seat and see clouds go by. I miss that sight. I just want white fluffy clouds!” – a travel agent from India was told by one of their clients. “Some people just want to drag their bags through the airport and go check them in.” That just sounds weird to me.The Flight Goes Nowhere. And It’s Sold Out.
Naturally, environmentalists are objecting, due to the fuel emissions.
What is your take on flights to nowhere?
Would you take a flight to nowhere?
What would such a flight have to feature for you to agree to pay to fly to nowhere?
Are you itching to travel?
Have you been traveling since the pandemic?
If you are considering international travel (and live in the US), Kayak has a nice, comprehensive map of countries you can/ cannot travel to. Check it out –> HERE <–. CNN also put together a list of countries (incomplete) with details regarding restrictions.
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