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Airlines are now selling tickets for scenic 'flights to nowhere'

Catherine Garcia

They take off and land at the same airport, but for some jetsetters, these "flights to nowhere" are enough.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines says because of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a 97.5 percent drop in international travel in the region. Taiwan's EVA Air and Japan's ANA wanted to find a way to make money and ensure their pilots could keep their licenses, so they started offering special scenic flights. Last month, an ANA plane that is typically bound for Honolulu instead flew around for 90 minutes with "a Hawaiian experience on board," Reuters reports.

Qantas is now following in their footsteps, offering a flight that takes off from Sydney and, after flying low over the Australian Outback and the Great Barrier Reef, lands back in Sydney seven hours later. Tickets ranged in price from $575 to $2,765, and with 134 seats available, the flight sold out in 10 minutes. A spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday it was "probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history. People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we'll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open."

Chen Shu Tze, an engineer from Taipei, took advantage of Tigerair Taiwan's flight to nowhere that travels over South Korea's Jeju island. For $236, she got a seat on the plane and a one-year voucher for round-trip tickets from Taiwan to South Korea, as soon as travel bans are lifted. "The pandemic has a devastating impact on the tourism and airline industry, so I want to help boost the economy, and I miss flying," she told Reuters.

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