Because of the international health crisis, going to the airport is becoming a sort of museum-like experience. One international airport in Taipei, Taiwan, is banking on that, offering fake flights to nowhere – and the complete airport experience.
Said airport experience includes everything from checking in to going through security and passport control. Fliers then board the plane and are directed to their seats by flight attendants, get comfortable and ready for the flight. It never leaves the ground, though.
This happened for the first time this week, at the Songshan Airport in Taipei, and will be turned into a regular event in the coming weeks. Over 7,000 people signed up on social media for the fake flight and about 60 of them were chosen at random.
In addition to this, they were allowed to have snacks at one of the airport’s restaurant and do some shopping at a duty-free center. In short, they got the full airport experience – except for the one thing that should have made all the difference: flying out.
After about 15 minutes on the grounded Airbus A339 owned by China Airlines, they walked off the plane and went back home. Taiwan doesn’t allow international travel except under special circumstances, and most international flights have been canceled since mid-March.
This sounds like the silliest thing to put together, but there’s more behind the airport experience than meets the eye. During lockdown, the airport has gone through massive renovations, and this event allows authorities to showcase whatever improvements have been made.
This way, they get to see firsthand passengers’ reactions to the new facilities and services, and also the new health measures, in-flight hygiene practices and the post-flight sanitizing operation. Frustrated tourists get to experience the thrills (?) of the airport experience, while authorities use the opportunity to gauge their reactions to recent renovations to the airport. It’s a win-win.