While some parts of everyday life look like they're beginning to return to normal—the National Football League has kicked off its fall season and New York City recently announced plans to restart indoor dining—many people are still looking for ways get back to the life they had pre-pandemic, even the sometimes-annoying bits, like flying.
With airlines adopting stringent safety measures like mandatory face coverings and high-tech cleaning and sanitization routines, air travel has mostly been seen as safe and civilized during the pandemic—even as the destination itself may not always be.
Now, Singapore Airlines, regularly regarded as one of the world's best carriers, has just announced they're considering adding a "flight-to-nowhere" route as soon as next month. The flight would take off and land at Singapore's Changi Airport and is intended for the airline's loyal customers who miss the experience of flying but don't necessarily want to take a trip. (It also has the added benefit of keeping pilots' certifications on the airline's flagship Airbus A350 aircraft up-to-date.)
The airline said it was working towards a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board to allow would-be flyers to pay for the flights with tourism credits issued by the government. The three-hour flight would likely be part of a package including a stay at a local hotel, as well as shopping vouchers and private limousine transportation to the airport, said Singapore Air Charter director Stefan Wood.
The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and these flights, while not expected to be lucrative, would help the airline cope with the losses seen in the past few months. Singapore Airlines alone announced last Thursday that it plans to cut nearly 4,300 jobs, with another 2,300 workers being affected.
While the novelty of a flight to nowhere may quickly wear off as travel reopens around the globe, the flights may represent a return to the hectic nature of everyday travel for some. In a survey conducted by the airline, 75 percent of participants were willing to pay for such a flight—and handsomely, too. Those surveyed said they were willing to spend as much as $288 for an economy seat and up to $588 for business class digs.
Singapore Airlines does have some previous experience as well with a "flight to nowhere" and isn't the first airline to do so. A charity event held in 2015 flew 300 children with specials needs and disadvantaged elderly, while last month, Taipei-based EVA Air flew a similar Father's Day flight with a "Hello Kitty" theme.
Of course, if you don't want to actually head to the airport, you can always take a virtual flight for six hours from the comfort of your own home.