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Rethinking air travel: Asian airlines offer The Inflight Experience, at Home

Photo by Ethan McArthur on Unsplash

Thanks to COVID-19, we are all grounded.

While airlines are reeling from the devastating effect of a near 92% drop in international air traffic (source: IATA), some companies in Asia have found innovative ways to stem their losses.

In April, 200 passengers boarded a Starlux Airlines flight, to nowhere. The flight cruised over Taiwan and the Philippines to return with a planeload of satisfied passengers who finally got to fulfill their wanderlust. For those who crave airline food, you can now order Garuda Airlines in-flight meals or a bottle from Cathay Pacific’s wine selection, to enjoy by the window or aisle side of your kitchen table. And for that little extra pampering while lounging at home, why not indulge in Qantas’ care packs, usually reserved for business or first class passengers? At last, for those who are looking for a quiet spot to chill-out or to hold a meeting, Changi Airport has opened its Jewel Lounge to the public on a pay-per-use basis, drinks and complementary newspapers included.

With hindsight, we wonder why airlines did not offer all of these earlier? We would certainly love to see these innovative offers continue, even when allowed back 35,000 feet in the air.

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