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Taiwanese Airlines Introduce Mini-Travel During The Pandemic

An EVA Air Boeing 747-400. The airline is one of multiple from Taiwan offering “mini-travel” flights to nowhere. Photo: By 湯小沅 (B-16410) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Taiwan is seeing a surge in demand for the so-called “mini travel” during the pandemic as multiple airlines have introduced special flights to bring Taiwanese people back to the skies, Focus Taiwan reports.

The situation of Taiwan is quite different from the rest of the world. Coronavirus cases have remained extremely low since the pandemic began. However, Taiwan’s citizens are not allowed to travel abroad due to a strict travel ban around the globe.

Low-cost airline TigerAir introduced a three-hour, $302 flight last week. The flight, IT8240, is scheduled to leave Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Aug. 6. 10:20 in the morning, but the flight is going nowhere and will return to Taiwan at 2 p.m.

Passengers will be served Michelin-starred meals with champagne. In addition, a free ticket to any destination in Japan will be given to passengers; the tickets will be valid for one year after the travel ban in Japan is lifted.

Meanwhile, EVA Air introduced a similar program: a special flight will bring Taiwanese to the skies again on Taiwan’s Father’s Day – Aug. 8. BR5288 – 5288 is homophonous to the Mandarin pronunciation of  “I Love Papa” – is estimated to leave Taiwan on Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m. and return at 1:15 p.m. EVA will use the “Hello Kitty” themed aircraft to operate the flight.

BR5288’s airfare is $180, and the business class surcharge is $34. The flight also features a Michelin-starred restaurant dining experience.

China Airlines also joined the “mini travel” battle. The airline scheduled two flights on Aug. 8. and Aug. 15; tickets were sold out within six minutes. Tickets were reserved exclusively for children from six to 10 years old and their parents.

StarLux Airlines has offered a three-hours for $159. The carrier also offered a business class package which includes hotel accommodation for one night for two passengers in Taiwan.

The flight will be piloted by StarLux founder Kuo-Wei Chang. As a result of the strong demand, the tickets were sold out five minutes after going on sale. StarLux hasn’t ruled out adding an extra flight in the near future.

In addition, according to local media, StarLux is considering launching domestic services, but the brand new carrier has not confirmed any at the moment and is willing to serve based out of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

In response to StarLux domestic market expansion, Chia-Lung Lin, Minister of Ministry of Transportation and Communication, welcomed the airline’s planning but encouraged StarLux to use Taipei Songshan Airport instead. Lin believes Taoyuan Airport is designated as an international airport. StarLux currently owns a fleet of three aircraft and provides services to Macau and Penang, Malaysia.

Pete Ainsley


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