During the pandemic, several airlines have been experimenting with selling “flights to nowhere”. Thai Airways takes this idea further and offers a pilgrimage flight over Thailand’s holy sites.
Thai Airways (THAI) flight TG8999 will take off from Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) at 1.30pm and return at 4.30pm on November 30, 2020. For the duration of the flight, Buddhist mantras, led by Thai astrologist Dr. Katha Chinbanchorn, will be chanted over 99 sacred sites. The plane will be flying over the capital and 31 provinces.
“There will be no landing during the flight and passengers will receive positive energy from chanting while onboard”, said Wiwat Piyawiroj, executive vice president at THAI. The three-hour flight is part of the THAI’s “Magical Flying Experience” campaign aimed at supporting the tourism sector.
Instead of the usual flight souvenirs, the passengers will receive a prayer book and a Buddha amulet. Along the way, the flight attendants will serve food and drinks.
Flight tickets are around THB10,000 ($322) for business class and about THB6,000 ($193) for economy.
The ongoing travel restrictions negatively impacted the country’s tourism industry and its national carrier. THAI filed a restructuring plan back in May 2020. Its rehab plan was approved by the Central Bankruptcy Court on September 14.
Thai Airways ended 2019 with a net loss of $371 million (THB12 billion) and had $667 million (THB21.6 billion) of cash reserves.
To generate revenue, the national carrier has been selling “flights to nowhere” as well as flight simulator rides. Earlier in 2020, it also launched an airline-themed cafeteria selling in-flight meals in Bangkok.