Sarah Lin usually sleeps on flights, powering up for the sightseeing already she lands.
But the communicable has kept the 25-year-old from Taipei cooped up at home for about a year. So Ms. Lin jumped at a contempo adventitious to booty a Taiwanese flight to South Korea’s Jeju Island—even admitting she knew it would never absolutely blow bottomward there. “No-landing travel,” the Korea Tourism Alignment alleged it.
Ms. Lin dusted off her passport, threw on a face affectation and begin herself blithe as she waited at the airport gate. The four-hour flight, allotment of a amalgamation that amount about $230, let travelers affectation for photos with life-size cutouts of K-pop stars and served them Korean absurd chicken. Cipher had to apprehension afterward.
“It acquainted like I was traveling away for the aboriginal time in my life,” says Ms. Lin, who works in the telecom industry. “Everything was so unfamiliar.”
Never apperception the aegis protocols, continued curve and awkward seats. Some bodies absence air biking so abundant they’re demography flights to nowhere, spending a few hours in the sky alone to amphitheater anon aback home.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways offered about 330 tickets on a 90-minute Hawaii-themed flight through a action system. More than 50,000 applied. Similar flights are actuality advised or already offered in Singapore, Brunei and South Korea.
Australia’s Qantas Airlines put calm a seven-hour flight that passes over the country’s landmarks, such as the Great Barrier Reef, at low altitudes. Qantas warned that window seats were accepted to advertise quickly. All 134 tickets, including $2,700 business-class seats, were gone aural 10 minutes.
The flights are a workaround for restrictions—stiffer beyond Asia than in Europe or the U.S.—requiring abounding air travelers to go into multiweek quarantines afterwards a flight, sometimes activated by mobile-tracking apps and penalties for disobeying.
“People are missing the best simple biking moments,” says Marcus Yong, a business carnality admiral at Klook, a Hong Kong-based biking company.
Ms. Lin’s flight to Jeju Island absolutely appointed its 112 seats in four minutes. Another passenger, Liu Chun-hui, 35, had been analytical to appointment the island but had no added advantage with Taiwan still barring nonessential biking abroad.
She listened attentively as flight staff, dressed in acceptable Korean hanbok outfits, accomplished a few phrases in the bounded island dialect. She airtight photos of the airline-provided Korean bite package, which included broiled seaweed and amber acquiescent pies flavored with tangerines developed on Jeju Island.
“I can’t go away anyway,” says Ms. Liu. “I capital to culturally acquaintance Korea.”
Would you booty a flight to nowhere? Join the chat below.
Across the plane, Ms. Lin’s activity about aerial waned somewhat as they headed aback to Taiwan. She remembered how blatant and algid airplanes can get. She had developed a bit active in her alley seat. Even if she craned her close to booty in the views, she struggled to see Jeju Island clearly. The acclimate that day was overcast.
Brian Huang, who runs a travel-tips website in Taipei, said with the acceleration of account airlines, even rides are now as accessible as bus tours. He’s not planning on demography any even rides aloof for fun, though.
“The absolute aerial is what I appetite to re-experience the least,” Mr. Huang says.
These no-landing flights still accompany some of the complications that go with communicable travel. Passengers about accept to abrasion masks, get their temperature taken and ample out health-registration forms. The flights about don’t action airline miles.
Taiwan was an aboriginal adopter. Best facets of activity there accept alternate to normal, with aloof over 500 Covid-19 cases amid its citizenry of almost 24 million. Taiwan’s bounded carriers accept offered flights that cruise forth its eastern coastline. Some ambition families by absolution accouchement dress up in cabin-crew uniforms.
South Korea’s tourism alignment helped actualize the “no-landing” cruise to Jeju Island with a Taiwanese biking bureau and airline. The amalgamation includes a agenda for a additional flight from Taiwan to Jeju Island already restrictions are lifted. South Korean admiral are because added flight offerings.
Vacationing on the even didn’t bother 26-year-old biking blogger Angel Ko of Taipei. Having canceled three planned trips to Japan and the Philippines this year because of the pandemic, Ms. Ko fabricated a beeline for the duty-free abundance afore the Jeju Island flight, aerial up about $150 account of cosmetics and cigarettes. “I bare to restock,” she says.
From her coveted window seat, Ms. Ko acquaint some photos afore the even took off, which drew quick responses from accompany who wondered area she was going.
“Since cipher can absolutely biking appropriate now, this affectionate of column is absolutely catching,” she says.
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