Calling out all the wanderlusty people, because Air India is planning to launch its ‘Flights to Nowhere’ programme soon! Do you remember the last time you packed your bags, loaded your trunks and drove to the airport? Is it just me or other people miss the airport vibe too? Heck, travelling through any medium will be a blessing after the pandemic. But there’s just something about air travel which beats all other modes of transport.
Following the footsteps of Taiwan’s Starlux and Australia’s Qantas Airways, national carrier Air India is planning to introduce low-flying scenic joy flights. They will give the passengers an aerial tour of famous spots in India, and drop them at the same airport. “Of late, many flyers have taken to social media to narrate how they feel about not being able to go on vacations or fly out of their cities because of the coronavirus outbreak. The ‘joy flights’ will get the experience of flying back, and will also be something never experienced before. It is expected to be welcomed by the Indian flyers also.” An Air India official told Hindustan Times.
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These flights will operate at Minimum Obstacle Clearance Altitude (MOCA). This is the lowest safe level for flying, and this will allow passengers to see the intended sights. The MOCA varies from city to city and prevents crashing into buildings and other obstacles. The wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 will be used for the service. Qantas Airways sold its flight tickets in 10 minutes. The flights lasted for seven hours and included sights such as The Great Barrier Reef. Meanwhile, Starlux had sold over 188 tickets in just 30 seconds in early August.
It’s true that Taiwan and Australia were able to pull off this risky yet refreshing feat given the current circumstances. One may have to consider a lot of things to implement the same in India. The country is still witnessing a surge in the coronavirus cases. Thus, medical professionals are still deliberating the option of encouraging joy rides, when even essential travel seems like a struggle. But on the other hand, airlines have been going through a dry phase too and these joy rides may prove to be beneficial for this business sector. Nevertheless, if Air India finds a way to pull this off smoothly, it could be a win-win situation for the airline sector, as well as our wanderlust. Because even if we’re going nowhere, it’s the journey that matters and not the end!
Read why Singapore Airlines cancelled its ‘Flights to Nowhere’ due to environmental concerns. Air India may need to consider these factors too.