Taiwan airlines offer sight-seeing flights during pandemic

TAOYUAN • Faced with the coronavirus collapse in travellers, Taiwanese airlines have begun offering sight-seeing “flights to nowhere” on their passenger jets including flight attendant lessons for children.

At the headquarters of Taiwan’s China Airlines in Taoyuan on Saturday, 50 children took a morning course on how to serve passengers aboard a mock cabin.

Cheng Yu-wei, who works in the fashion apparel business and enjoys travelling abroad, came with his wife and six-year-old daughter to “revive that old feeling of travelling”.

“Maybe it’s because we have been bored for too long,” Cheng said to AFP.

Later in the day, the excitable gaggle of kids took to the skies in their new uniforms for a two-hour flight over the island and the soaring mountain range that runs down its spine.

The flights are part of an innovative attempt by airlines to scramble up some extra cash at a time when their business has all but dried up.

Like most airlines around the world, both China Airlines and its main competitor Eva Air have had to mothball a huge chunk of their fleet as international travel evaporates during the pandemic.

The two also have a limited domestic business to fall back on. — AFP