A few days ago, there were reports that Singapore Airlines (SIA) is planning to launch "flights to nowhere" in end-October. As its name suggests, these flights cater to locals and they have no destination - they will depart from Changi Airport and take about 3 hours before landing back at the airport, according to The Straits Times (ST).
Credit: Bernard Spragg.NZ on Flickr
Besides that, several sources also told ST that SIA is looking to partner with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) so that passengers can use their tourism credits to partially pay for flights. (If you recall, the government announced last month that it'll be giving out $320m in SingapoRediscovers vouchers to locals.)
As Singaporeans won't be able to travel internationally yet, this is definitely one way to feed your wanderlust and it's perfect for those of you who miss the joy of taking flights!
Of course, the main question that'll be on your mind is: Is it worth it? At this moment, it's still too early to tell as the full details haven't been announced yet. But we've done up this list of things that you might want to consider before booking that flight when the time comes!
The first thing you'd definitely want to look at is the price. Usually, the price of the flight you pay for includes the destination but in this case, you're paying solely for the experience. To put it into perspective, a 3-hour flight is like taking a flight from Singapore to Hanoi. Based on our search on SIA's website, the flight prices from Singapore to Hanoi start from $281.80 for Economy Class and $1051.80 for Business Class. It might seem unfair to compare a "flight to nowhere" and a flight to somewhere, especially when the price for a typical flight would include airport/government taxes and check-in baggage. But taking the usual price of a 3-hour flight on SIA is a realistic benchmark.
As of now, there are no indications on the price but a survey by Singapore Air Charter revealed that travellers are willing to pay around $288 for an Economy Class seat and $588 for a Business Class seat. If these are the prices for SIA's flight to nowhere, we'll definitely consider it!
2. The view
One of the reasons that you might want to take the flight is because of the view. There's nothing like the scenic view of clouds or flying above breathtaking landscapes. Other airlines in Asia Pacific have offered such flights to nowhere, but with a promise of amazing views. Australian carrier Qantas is planning to revive its 12-hour flights to Antarctica from November to February during the summer months while Taiwan's EVA Air has launched flights to Taiwan's northeast cape and the Ryukyu Islands. Closer to home, Royal Brunei Airlines also has its "Dine & Fly" sightseeing tour over Brunei's coast and Borneo island.
As for SIA's flights, the location that it'll fly to has yet to be determined and whether or not you're guaranteed the window seat is another question.
P.S. Miss travelling? Check out these 8 hidden gems in SG that look like they're overseas!
3. Travelling in the new normal
Love it or hate it, the flights to nowhere will probably introduce you to what it's like to travel in the new normal. Wearing a mask throughout your flight, frequently sanitising your hands, temperature screenings, safe distancing measures (and more!) will definitely be part of your experience. While it might seem like a hassle, it'll most likely be an eye-opening experience too. So, before booking this flight, you must be prepared to travel in the new normal.
But one good thing about safe distancing is that you probably won't have to worry about a full or cramped flight as seats in between travel groups will most likely be blocked off. Check out our article here to find out how flying is like in the new normal!
P.S. Exploring Jewel Changi Airport? Our guide here will help you out!
4. Environmental impact vs helping the economy?
Many have argued that the flights to nowhere are a waste of resources and might have negative impacts on the environment as there is no real need for air travel. Others have also mentioned that taking the flights might be seen as "frivolous" when the money could be spent on a better cause. On the flip side, experts say these flights are meant to boost SIA's business and the aviation sector as the airline has been badly hit by the pandemic, causing thousands to lose their jobs. Many others have also said that this is similar to paying for a travel experience or a staycation.
There are many sides to the argument and ultimately, it is best for you to weigh the options and make an informed choice instead of jumping on the bandwagon.
With that, we hope we have given you something to think about! While there is much joy in being up in the skies, is it worth it to pay for a 3-hour no-destination flight? We'll surely bring you the updates once SIA announces its flights. But for now, let us know in the comments section whether you'd consider booking SIA's flight to nowhere ?