The two major Taiwanese airlines, Star Alliance member EVA Air and SkyTeam’s China Airlines, are running flights to nowhere in August. Both carrier’s flights instantly sold out.
Taiwan has been one of the real Covid-19 success stories, although the World Health Organization under China’s thumb has refused to recognize this. Even the Johns Hopkins tracking dashboard asterisks Taiwan, with fewer than 500 cases and only 7 deaths. Part of the price of their early lockdown is that they’ve cut themselves off from the rest of the world for longer than most.
For instance there are currently just 5 weekly flights between Taipei and Shanghai. (There are six Beijing flights per week, Hong Kong however now has more than daily service across three airlines.)
In June Taipei’s near-empty regional Songshan airport offered pretend flights where people could come to the airport and pretend to leave the country, boarding a plane and then getting back off.
Now the nation’s – and yes I’m calling Taiwan that – two main carriers have taken things a step further, “taking passengers around the nation for several hours before landing at the same airport.”
- EVA Air offered this August 8 only, their local Father’s Day
- China Airlines offered it for both August 8 and August 15
The China Airlines flights include meals at the airport lounge prior to flight and afternoon tea on board. This was limited to children between the ages of 6 and 10 along with their parents, and coach tickets for one child and a parent sold for $205 (an additional parent cost $122.50), while business class for a child and parent sold for $272.
The EVA Air flight is operated by a Hello Kitty aircraft. Inflight meals are branded by a Michelin three star chef. Coach cost $180, while business class sold for $214.
Low cost carrier Tigerair Taiwan reportedly is operating a similar sold out flight on August 6 including “Michelin meals and champagne.”
The Tigerair pleasure flight, which will hover over Taiwan and Japan’s Kyushu island, is priced at NT$8,888. The flight is limited to only 90 passengers, who will each be gifted with a round-trip ticket for any destination in Japan to be used within a year.
New carrier Starlux Airlines has applied to Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration to offer a flight August 7 on board an Airbus A321neo, and piloted by the airline’s chairman, but they haven’t received government approval to sell tickets as of this writing.