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Flights to nowhere. The latest ‘cunning plan’ by Thai Airways



Sort of counter-intuitive, but you get on a plane, take off, and land at the same airport. Not usually the way it’s meant to work, but that’s the latest brain child of the Thai Airways management, via their budget Thai Smile brand, who are already back in the air.

The idea is to offer people who have missed the experience of flying to get back into the sky and fly around for a few hours, including an airline meal (because we know HOW much you’ve missed those!), and then return back to the airport they took off from. We hate to remind the braintrust at Thai Airways that you can already get that experience on an aeroplane, and actually go somewhere at the moment. Then again, as a novelty, it might just get a few takers.

The national carrier has gone from being a much-loved flag bearer to a national disgrace as decades of mismanagement have racked up debt totalling 352.4 billion baht. Rather than reaching back into their pockets again, the Thai government sold off a number of shares and sent the company for a major restructure and bankruptcy proceedings.

The ailing airline’s management have already launched pop-up cafes at the Bangkok HQ for a grounded ‘flight’ experience, complete with aircraft seating and an airline meal, but the new joy flights will use more of the current unused resources, including planes and staff, and flight training simulators.

Australia’s QANTAS Airways launched the same idea earlier this month, also called the “flight to nowhere” and discovered it was one of the fastest-selling flights in the airline’s history. All the tickets snapped up in 10 minutes with passengers throwing between A$575 and A$2,765 at seats on the Boeing 787.

The Aussie flag carrier launched a 7 hour scenic route around the country, taking off and landing in Sydney, as the usual schedule of flights around the country remains restricted.

The flights are on October 10, the flight won’t stop anywhere, but gives passengers the change to enjoy views over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, and other landmarks.

There were 134 seats up for grabs on the Boeing 787 aircraft, priced between  depending on the class of ticket.

Thai Airways is preparing to operate its own ‘flights to nowhere’ and ‘rides’ in the airlies’ flight simulator under a program called ‘Thai Flying Experience & Beyond’.

Thai Airways is going through the permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand to conduct the scenic aircraft ‘flights to nowhere’ .

A Thai Smile Airbus A320 will be in use for the flight which would include the beautiful aerial scenery of popular tourist destinations across the country such as Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

The ‘Thai Flying Experience & Beyond’ flights to nowhere program features 3 packages starting from 16,000 – 36,000 baht. For the flight simulator experience budding pilots can select their preferred aircraft between Airbus A380, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing B747-400, and Boeing 737-400. The ‘flight to nowhere’ would approximately cost about 5,000 baht/person.

“Thai Airways has come up with this idea to adjust itself and to earn more income during the financial crisis. We believed that both programs would catch public attention especially for those who would like to try sitting and flying in an aviator operating room.”

By the way, if you’re in Australia and want to participate in a slightly colder round trip, QANTAS is running “joy flights” to Antarctica.

Planes, originally delivered to fly UK-Australia non-stop are being redeployed on the 13 hour roundtrip from Melbourne. Passengers are paying from A$1,199 for the flight to the frozen continent and back. Around one-third of it spent above the Antarctic continent.


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  1. Gary

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Why not have the stranded tourists buy these flights, have them check out through immigration, fly outside the territorial limit and when they land back in Bangkok, process through immigration and get a new 30 day tourist visa?

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:32 am

      Now there’s some lateral thinking! You’re hired as the new Immigration Chief

    • mario

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:47 am

      great idea

    • Randall

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:03 am

      Great idea! Thai Airways should know about that, then they could sell it to the government.

    • Randall

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:06 am

      Great idea! Thai Airways should know about that. They could promote it to the government.

    • Whiro

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:25 pm

      Sounds like a Mae Sai border run.
      You get on a plane instead of a bus or your bike.

      Gary, it’s a great idea.
      BUT, how do you know they won’t force you to be on 14 DAY QUARANTINE when you land back in BKK. You know they will :))

      • rinky stingpiece

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:29 pm

        You’re wasted in Thailand.

        • Whiro

          Monday, September 28, 2020 at 9:17 pm

          Wasted ???
          Nope, I don’t drink.
          Nope, I am not in Thailand anymore, I flew out before Sept 26th deadline after thanking Thailand for 6 months of free visa extension.

          I am in Japan enjoying their hospitality and fresh Sushi and yummy ramen noodles, not Thai Airways in flight food :))

    • Mike

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      Good idea – except only the airline stands to make money. It doesn’t give enough opportunity for lazy fatties to take their cut.

  2. Ssm

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Some folk have money to waste to get in a metal tube and then to return to same place few hours later

  3. Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Yes good idea Gary. And it would not violate any bans, plus the passenger would be entitled to buy duty frees

  4. Glenn

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:32 am

    ‘flights to nowhere’

    does anyone wonder how this airline went bankrupt?

  5. Jason

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Credit where it’s due. Singapore Airlines came up with the idea, QANTAS adopted it and now Thai Airways is doing the same. Not such a crazy idea when it keeps planes flying, pilots keep their hours up and crew get some work.

    • Issan John

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Exactly. If people are prepared to pay, as they are elsewhere, then “why not”, however weird it may appear to others.

  6. freestylefletcher

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Flights to nowhere? Isn’t it great that the world is finally taking global warming seriously…

    • Peter T

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Glad someone thought of the planet. Maybe increased smog levels in Bangkok with suppress the virus?

  7. Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    This is like paying to “look but don’t touch”

    I Can’t Go For That
    No Can Do

  8. Jan Sweden

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Great idea! Let all those foreigners spend their money on this and fly out and go through immigration again and get a new stamp.
    I will do that for sure
    Instead of spending 12 hours waiting in line in immigration to get a extension…
    Please fix this and I will book a flight right away to get a new immigration stamp.
    Much easier and good solution.. everyone wins.

    • Whiro

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      they will put you on 14 day quarantine when you land back in BKK :))

  9. David White

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Give us our money back Thai airways.

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