SEOUL – South Korean air carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. said Thursday it will offer domestic sightseeing flights to pandemic-weary air passengers next month, Yonhap news agency reported.
The “flights to nowhere” — air travel purely for the purpose of the journey, not the destination — will be offered on Oct. 24 and 25, said Asiana, the smaller of South Korea’s two full-service airlines.
The nearly two-hour journey will take place on an Asiana A380 superjumbo passenger jet that has been grounded in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sightseeing flights will take off from and land in Incheon International Airport, flying over Gangneung and Pohang on the east coast, Gimhae close to the southeastern port of Busan and the southernmost resort island of Jeju.
Fares range from 205,000 won (US$175.5) for economy class to 305,000 won for the business class suite, with only 310 seats offered due to social distancing rules, about 185 shy of the available seats.
In-flight meals will be provided to all passengers, together with an amenity kit, 50 percent discount coupons for domestic routes and mileage points.
“Asiana has come up with the idea of special flights for passengers eager to take to the skies,” an airline official said. “We hope the COVID-19 outbreak will come to an end as soon as possible, so that anyone can take air trips without any misgivings.”
Asiana will become the first local airline to launch sightseeing flights for general passengers. On Friday, low-cost carrier Air Busan offered a domestic sightseeing flight for 60 university students majoring in aerotourism.
A day later, Tigerair Taiwan flew a sightseeing flight from Taipei to the skies over South Korea’s Jeju island with 120 passengers on board.
The coronavirus pandemic has pounded airlines across the world, sending demand for international air travel hitting the skids.