AIRLINES offering flights that take off and land back where you started. So, in August, Nadzri Harif, a D.J. at Kristal FM radio station in Brunei, set foot in an airport for the first time in six months. The experience, he said, was exhilarating.

Sure, moving through Brunei International Airport was different, with masks, glass dividers and social-distancing protocols in place, but nothing could beat the anticipation of getting on a plane again.

''His destination : nowhere''

Mr. Harif is one of thousands of people in Brueni, taiwan, Japan and Australia who have started booking flights that start and end in the same place. Some airlines call these ''scenic flights'', others are more direct, calling them ''flights to nowhere.''

''I didn't realize how much I had missed traveling - missed flying - until the moment the captain's voice came on the speaker with the welcome and safety announcement,'' Ms. Harif said of his 85-minute experience on Royal Brunei Airlines.

On its flight to nowhere, which the airline calls the ''dine and fly'' program, Royal Brunei serves local cuisine to passengers while flying over the country.

At a time when most people are stuck at home and unable to travel and the global airline industry has been decimated by the pandemic, flights that take off and return to the airports return a few hours later allow airlines to keep staff  MEMBERS WORKING.

The practice also satisfies that itch to travel - even if it's just being on a plane again. Although most people may think of flying as a means to an end, existing solely from one place to the next, some say that it is an exciting part of the travel experience.

For those people, flights to nowhere are the salve for a yearn which just just about all travel has been cancelled and people have been fearful that airlines are not enforcing social distancing and mask wearing rules.

Royal Brunei has run five of these flights since mid-August, and since Brunei has had very few cases of the coronavirus, the airline is not requiring passengers to wear masks, but staff members are.

Earlier in the month, the Taiwanese airline EVA Air filled all 300 seats on its Hello Kiity-themed A330 Dream  jet for Father's day in Taiwan, and Japan's All Nippon Airways had a - Hawaiian-resort -themed, 90-minute flight with 300 people on board.

Later one Thursday, Qantas announced a flight to nowhere over Australia. That flight sold out in 10 minutes.

''So many of our frequent fliers are used to being on a plane every other week, and have been telling us they miss the experience of flying as much as the destinations themselves,'' Allan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas Airlines, said in a statement this week, when that airline announced its airline  seven-hour flight in October that is to depart and land in Sydney.

 The World Students Society thanks author : Tariro Mzezewa.


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