Without a doubt, lockdowns and travel restrictions put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 have driven many people a little stir-crazy—all the more so given that vacation season is upon us but the world’s destinations remain tantalizingly out of reach.
In an apparent attempt to assuage those feelings of global FOMO, Taipei’s Songshan Airport is giving locals the opportunity to rediscover the joys of travel, or at least what is arguably the least appealing aspect thereof: check-in and boarding.
Starting on Thursday, Songshan began offering fake itineraries that allow customers to experience the joys of picking up a China Airlines boarding pass, clearing passport control, and waiting around to get on a plane that is going literally nowhere.
Some 7,000 people applied to take part in the unique experience, with a first batch of 60 winners chosen at random, Reuters reports.
"In addition to letting the participants go through security screening, identification inspection and other immigration clearance procedures, they actually boarded the plane to experience the fun of boarding," Ting Hsu, who works in Songshan Airport's planning department, told CNN Travel.
Again, just to be clear, the plane never takes off.
Taiwan is uniquely suited to putting on the bizarre “trips,” given its resounding success in curbing the coronavirus’ spread. Since the outbreak began, the country of nearly 24 million has reported just 448 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and only seven deaths.
Songhshan also just so happens to be using the promotion to show off recent renovations, and to highlight the COVID-prevention steps the airport is taking. The airport plans to offer more of the unique non-flights in the coming weeks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, netizens were mostly bemused by the stunt.
“I think Covid-19 may be making some of us quite crazy,” mused one Twitter user.
Another astutely noted that the tours are akin to “offering a fake restaurant experience where you get seated at a table and just wait for your food.”
One summed things up even more succinctly, asking, simply, “Seriously!!!!!!???”