The coronavirus has been a blow to the airlines. But some manage to fill the planes, throwing their imagination …
Most airlines make their living from tourism and business, two sectors that have drastically reduced their activity in recent months. With the additional problem that, with or without passengers, planes have to fly in order not to degrade. But the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways has found a solution for its flying turtles. He hopes to fill his flights with trips that go … nowhere. And the tickets are not cheap, with prices reaching 400 euros.
Let’s start from the beginning. As Cerodosbé tells us via Business Insider, a few months ago All Nippon Airways (ANA) bought three Airbus A380, some aircraft that stand out for their large size. Since they were intended to cover the Tokyo – Honolulu (Hawaii) line, they were decorated with three funny blue, green and orange turtles (the latter has not yet been delivered).
But then the pandemic hit, and Hawaii banned foreign planes from landing. This is a huge problem for airlines, not only because of the money they lose by not flying, but because aircraft are required to fly at least once every three months to avoid degradation of their systems. And organizing a passenger plane flight, without passengers, is extremely expensive.
In times of crisis you have to use imagination. And that is exactly what ANA has done. This August has organized a flight with one of his flying turtles … to nowhere. The plane will take off from Tokyo and will circle the airport for an hour and a half, and then land in the same place. They will charge 154 euros for the ticket in tourist class, 283 euros in Business, and 400 euros in First.
It may sound crazy, but the idea has been so popular that they have had to organize a lottery system, because there were many more requests than seats on the plane.
Why would someone pay so much money to circle in the sky? There are various incentives. First of all, many people don’t travel by plane because … they don’t have to go to a distant place. It is an opportunity for many people to fly by plane without having to go anywhere.
The Boeing 747 is one of President Donald Trump’s preferred modes of transportation, but it also joins Marine One, a helicopter, and The Beast, the Cadillac limousine for ground travel.
In addition, the Airbus A380 are huge and very attractive aircraft. It is also a unique occasion to ride the flying turtles without having to go to Hawaii, their only route.
Finally, ANA offers a series of gifts to passengers. From a festive atmosphere with Hawaiian decoration on the plane (passengers who come with a Hawaiian shirt receive an inflatable plane as a gift), to a coupon of 50 euros for future flights, and points to accumulate and exchange for free flights, or gifts.
Finally, all passengers will receive a welcome kit, depending on the class. From a backpack and bamboo cutlery for economy class, to hygiene accessories and toiletries from the luxury brand Globe Trotter, for First class.
A curious idea that, if successful, will surely be copied by other airlines …