All Nippon Airways (ANA) carried 334 passengers from Narita Airport, only to land back at Narita Airport 90 minutes later. Surprisingly, it’s on purpose due to it being a ‘sightseeing flight’.
Normally, their double decker Airbus A380 flies to Hawaii. But since flying so far is pretty much impractical during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘sightseeing’ idea was worked out.
The flight was only available to lucky winners of a lottery who were able to score a seat. ANA said that the number of applicants for the lottery was 150 times the number of seats available for the charter trip.
The aircraft has a capacity of 540 passengers. However, the boarding rate was reduced to 64% due to minimising contact with individuals. The plane–painted blue to represent the Hawaiian skies—took off from Narita Airport on 22 August. This flight is the first for the airline since 23 June.
The flight treated customers to a Hawaiian resort experience onboard. There were exclusive drinks like pineapple juice and mojitos, as well as video screenings, a raffle, and a selection of souvenirs prepared. At the same time, all ground staff wore Hawaiian-themed shirts for the occasion.
“While the spread of COVID-19 is yet to settle, “The ANA FLYING HONU Charter Flight” today was brought to life with an idea that came from our customer, and we are ever grateful and also very proud for these opportunities where we could make our customer’s ideas come true. We didn’t go to Hawaii, but we tried to get people to feel the atmosphere,” said Senior Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ANA, Shinichi Inoue.
I’m not sure if the ‘sightseeing flight’ experience is going to catch on, but those who miss being on flights might see the appeal. But at least these passengers are getting a more fulfilling experience than these guys.
If you’d rather use a plane to get to an actual destination, you might need to wait a long while if you aim for Japan. But for flights closer to home, Firefly has a travel pass for unlimited flights to domestic destinations.