Travel-starved passengers in Taiwan are now taking their selfie sticks on “flights to nowhere,” thanks to StarLux's flight JX-8227, billed as "Fly to the Moon".
Scheduled during the Mid-Autumn Festival, it takes passengers on a sightseeing trip, to look at the world from above.
While many flights around the world are grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this one takes off and lands at the same airport.
"On a conventional flight, you are not sure where you are. Passengers can only watch a map and guess where they might be," explains Emma Liu, cabin chief for the flight.
"And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people cannot travel abroad. But we are able to provide this kind of service and I feel proud and happy about that."
Phones are out as passengers snap pictures of their aerial view.
The Airbus A321neo takes a route over the Japanese island Miyakojima and also flies around Taiwan twice; first clockwise, then counterclockwise.
When they get close to a place of interest, the aircraft descends to a lower altitude, so everyone can take a closer look.
"I was very surprised that it flew over Miyakojima. Seen from above, I discovered that their lands are very well organized, they are very beautiful seen from the sky. Fortunately, there was not much cloud over the island. It was a very special experience," says passenger, Tessa Ko.
It's a whole new reason to fly.
Instead of being merely a way to get from A to B, cabin chief Emma Liu says it becomes a more engaging experience for both passengers and cabin crew.
"Passengers have deeper experiences on 'flights to nowhere' and we (flight attendants) have more interactions with them," she says.
The flights to nowhere take off and land at northern Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport.
EvaAir, another Taiwanese airline, is also offering "flights to nowhere" until the end of this year to meet the needs of passengers who want to experience the joys of air travel.