In a true parable for 2020, one of the first flights to nowhere never even took off. Singapore Airlines recently announced that it was abandoning the idea of a flight for travelers so desperate to catch a flight that they would board a plane, fly for a set period of time, and then return to the same airport – all without actually reaching a new place. . Do you want to get on a plane that goes nowhere? getty The airline, faced with protests from environmental groups citing the company’s wastefulness, decided to take a different route with an airplane restaurant on the ground. Housed in an Airbus 380, the A380 @Changi restaurant allows diners to choose menus from each cabin class with a Peranakan menu designed by Singaporean chef Shermay Lee. The airline also runs tours where children can pretend to be cabin crew and adults can use a flight simulator. If you really miss food on an airplane, Singapore Airlines offers you an airplane cabin … [+] meals … without leaving the ground. Photo provided by Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines is far from the only airline to have tried the concept of flying to nowhere. When Qantas first offered its version in September, it sold out in 10 minutes (although the flight is billed as a sightseeing adventure offering “low-level flyovers of unique Australian destinations across Queensland, the Territory North and New South Wales, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay and the iconic Sydney Harbor, ”according to the Qantas website). Using the fleet’s B787 Dreamliner, travelers embark in Sydney after breakfast, dine on board with a lunch menu designed by chef Neil Perry, and presumably stay awake in Qantas Business pajamas. Similar flights have taken off from Taiwan. You can’t blame the airline industry for seeking to diversify into new revenue streams, while still keeping the travel experience in mind at a time when it has withdrawn from the disposable income stream. The travel industry, much like the hospitality and restaurant landscapes, has been profoundly and irrevocably changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) now forecasts a 66% drop in traffic for 2020 compared to 2019. “The disastrous traffic performance in August limits the industry’s worst summer season. The recovery in international demand is virtually nonexistent and domestic markets in Australia and Japan have actually regressed in the face of new epidemics and travel restrictions, ”said Alexandre de Juniac, Managing Director and CEO of IATA in a statement. “A few months ago, we thought that a drop in demand of -63% in full year compared to 2019 was as serious as it gets. With the sad peak summer travel period behind us, we have revised our expectations down to -66%. There is a poetic sadness in repeating the similarity and isolation of pandemic social distancing by taking a plane that just doesn’t go anywhere. In the absence of new experiences and stimuli, are we so necessary for a change of scenery that we will grasp the mechanics of the travel experience (and potentially endanger ourselves and others by entering a confined space? for hours at a time during a pandemic) as a replacement for the destination? In that case, maybe we replace the reward of arriving at a new place with the more tedious part of the journey itself, and redefine the idea of what it means to travel – while also paying for the privilege of it. to do. “Theft is what I least want to relive,” Brian Huang, blogger for the travel advice site, told The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper followed a traveler, Sarah Lin, on one of the flights to Nowhere from Taiwan. “SP. Lin’s enthusiasm for the flight waned somewhat as they returned to Taiwan. She remembered how loud and cold airplanes could be,” wrote Dasl Yoon and Joyu Wang. “She had become a little restless in her aisle seat. Even though she craned her neck to admire the view, she had difficulty seeing Jeju Island clearly. The weather that day was overcast. After all, if the trip is really more important than the destination in terms of a shift in mindset, then at least that trip should involve getting off the plane – if not, it’s about not experiencing much at all.