Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave.
The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere.
About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
“I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,” said Hsiao Chun-wei, 38, who brought her young son.
The passengers received boarding passes, and proceeded through security and immigration before boarding a China Airlines Airbus A330, where flight attendants chatted to them.
“I hope the epidemic ends soon so we can really fly away,” a 48-year-old woman surnamed Tsai said.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
The airport is using the event to show off renovations completed while passengers have stayed away and show people what COVID-19-prevention measures they are taking.
The airport usually offers flights to Tokyo, Seoul and several Chinese cities, and is also an important domestic hub.
With fewer flights operating, passenger numbers have plummeted 64 percent in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year, official data showed.
Still, in one bright spot, domestic travel is booming.
The two main domestic carriers — China Airlines unit Mandarin Airlines and EVA Airway’s Uni Air — have added extra capacity over the summer on routes to outlying islands and the east coast.
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