“The concept of going on a flight to nowhere isn’t appetizing if it’s the same rushed cattle-being-thrown-in experience it is when you’re going on a trip,” Mr. Malby-Tynan said. “If it changed and felt like you were going on a spa date or checking into a luxurious hotel, and you were allowed to stretch out, then it would make sense.”
When Nadiah Hamid’s parents forced her to join them on Royal Brunei’s flight to nowhere, she thought the idea of flying above her home was “ridiculous,” she said, but she had a change of heart just a few minutes into the trip because it allowed her to see her home in a new way.
“Normally when you’re flying you don’t really know where you are, so it was nice to have someone contextualize things in our country and in Malaysia, and the views were really beautiful,” Ms. Hamid, 22, said.
Katie Chao, a spokeswoman for the Taiwanese airline Starlux, said that the airline has been working to make the flight-to-nowhere experience a luxurious one by allowing people to buy packages for the flight and a hotel stay.
Since August, the airline has run six flights to nowhere and has about a dozen more scheduled through October. Most of the flights have sold out within 10 minutes of being announced, Ms. Chao said, adding that wearing a mask and social distancing are mandatory on all these flights.
“We try to provide a different and fun event at the boarding gate,” Ms. Chao said. “We also arrange some special decorations in-flight. And, of course, a special-made giveaway to go with the theme each time is a must.”