Airlines around the world have embraced the "flights to nowhere" idea, including our own Qantas which announced its first sightseeing flight to nowhere back in September and it sold out in 10 minutes.
But the latest interpretation of the "flight to nowhere" concept by EVA Air has got many hearts racing, especially those looking for love, and where else but at 30,000 feet.
The Taiwanese carrier has launched "Fly! Love is in the air", its first ever matchmaking flight, and the first-ever of its kind to launch in Taiwan, in partnership with travel experience company Mobius.
The airline, which has been listed by SKYTRAX as one of the world's 10 best airlines for in-flight comfort and customer service, will provide seating on fly three special lonely hearts flights whereby singles will get to mingle and hopefully find "the one" on a Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day flight departing from Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport.
Proving that there seems to be no limit to the way airlines are keeping busy during this turbulent year comes, this latest "flights to nowhere" speed-dating flight is already proving to be a hit. One of the three-hour flights (the Christmas flight) has already sold out, with 400 applications for 40 spots (20 men and 20 women).
"Because of Covid-19, EVA Air has been organising 'faux travel' experiences to fulfil people's desire for travel," Chiang Tsung-Wei, the spokesperson for You and Me, the speed dating arm of Mobius, told CNN Travel.
"When single men and women travel, apart from enjoying the fun in travel, they may wish to meet someone - like a scene in a romantic movie."
Unlike a standard flight, singles will be randomly assigned a seat and if nothing sparks with their neighbour, they can get up and wander around. The crew will also be acting as "love cupids". The singles will, in these current times, be asked to keep masks on when they're not eating or drinking.
Each of the three "love flights" will offer different experiences but will include sampling meals prepared by Michelin-starred chef Motoke Nakamura and will be followed by two hours on the ground for more time to get to know each other.
The Christmas Day flight will take singles above the east coast of Taiwan with an afternoon tea date back on ground; the New Year's Eve flight will be a dinner before boarding where singles will count down to 2021 together; and the New Year's Day flight will be a breakfast trip for those hoping for a new years resolution.
A translation from the MOBIUS YOU & ME website reads that singles "need to register and make a booking on the Mobius website. Fill up their personal details including birthday, education degree, residence area, profession, company name, confirmed to be single, dietary enquiry (for inflight meal]s and EVA Air infinity mileage membership number."
Bookings are on a "first in first served" basis, the website said.
EVA Air "love flights" are operated only in Taiwan and are available to Taiwanese residents aged between 24 and 38 who have have at least a university degree . The flights, which cost TWD8388 ($A404).
The details for the three flights are as follows:
- Christmas day: 25 DEC, 9am-4pm, aircraft type by EVA AIR exclusive Hello Kitty them jet – romantic afternoon tea date when grounded.
- New Year's Eve: 31 DEC, 7pm-1am, aircraft type by EVA AIR exclusive Hello Kitty them jet – candlelit dinner before boarding.
- New Year: 1 JAN, 4am-11am, aircraft type by 787-10 Dreamliner – breakfast date.
The schedule for the sold-out Christmas flight, which will be in the air for two and a half hours, is as follows:
9:15-9:30 Meet and chat
9:30-10:30 Before boarding, duty-free shopping
10:30-13:30 Boarding, deep conversation and build connection, taste EVA Air Michelin Star cuisine
EVA Air operates routes to more than 60 international destinations, including Brisbane, where it once flew five days per week. Due to COVID-19, the airline has reduced its Brisbane route to two passenger flights per month, flying passengers home from Brisbane to most Asian cities via Taipei. The airline is currently also operating cargo flights from Brisbane to carry Australian export cargo.