Japan’s ANA All Nippon Airways has put their Airbus A380, also called the Flying Honu to good use and offered passengers sightseeing flights around Japan.
Airlines around the world have been trying to put their planes and facilities to good use and keep up brand visibility as well as keep their staff busy which is still on payroll and burning a hole in the companies pocket as long as they can’t operate the bulk of their flights.
ANA has already offered a few of these sightseeing flights starting in August of this year when they first announced it:
The “FLYING HONU”, operating on the Narita-Honolulu route in usual circumstances, welcomed passengers aboard for an hour and a half scenic flight.
The design of this special aircraft comes from the Hawaiian sea turtle—a symbol of good luck and prosperity, and we hope all passengers traveling with ANA will be blessed with happiness.
ANA sought to provide customers with the pleasures of air travel during these difficult times, and approximately 300 lucky passengers who were able to purchase the “platinum” tickets through a 1:150 chance enjoyed a Hawaiian resort experience at the airport and onboard.
As with our regular flights, the ANA Care Promise safety and hygiene protocols including wearing masks, social distancing and continuous air ventilation were thoroughly implemented at all stages of the flight.
Although there are plenty of flights within Japan available and destinations such as Okinawa are served regularly these flights are more for people who want to go on a day trip paired with a special event.
ANA also provided a new video on their Youtube channel today:
From the announcement it seems the demand was rather high considering the 300 passengers who got a ticket for this flight had a 1:150 chance to get it.
Other airlines have done similar things. Singapore Airlines initially planned to do such flights but caved to environmentalists and eventually just transformed their A380 into a restaurant and served meals in all classes. This event also sold out in a flash.
Thai Airways transformed the canteen at their head office into a restaurant full of airline memorabilia with flight crew attending the event. We visited that place and it’s still open for visitors in Bangkok for the time being.
Qantas performed several sightseeing flights in Australia as well which were in high demand and from the pictures I saw in some social media groups very fun to attend.
This limited / no travel period has a very bad effect on peoples mental health, especially those who usually travel a lot and are now confined to their homes without the possibility to travel by air. The lucky ones have the opportunity to at least engage in domestic or regional travel even though more and more countries are opening up again.
I wish there were more of these events by airlines, helping folks to escape this dull situation we’re in and at least have a bit of fun for a day.