Singapore Airlines converted its jets into pop-up restaurants allowing hundreds of travel-hungry diners to eat lunch and watch seat-back films.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic leading the aviation industry into a deep crisis, airlines have turned to new ways to raise revenue, from offering “flights to nowhere” to tours of aircraft.
Singapore’s flag carrier, which has cut thousands of jobs and grounded almost all its aircraft this year allowed passengers to dine on board two A380 superjumbos, the largest passenger jet in the world.
More than 400 diners checked in at Changi Airport and, before arriving for lunch, went through the regular security checks.
Zhou Tai Di, a 17-year-old student in the economy class said, “The food is pretty amazing, it’s better than the one they serve during the flight”.
While waiting for the meals, the passengers can take a nap or they can enjoy films on the seat-back entertainment systems.
In compliance with social-distancing guidelines, about half the seats were left empty.
A 29-year-old civil servant and aviation buff, Calvin Teo, paid $236 to be served a business-class six-course meal, saying he missed flying and hoped to recreate the experience.
“Of course the feeling of actually flying will be better, because there’s the excitement of going to a new destination, to explore a new destination, and even though we can’t do it now due to COVID, this is a good substitute, for now, to recreate the feel of taking a long-haul flight,” he told.
A $473 eight-course meal in a first-class suite is the most costly option, while the cheapest costs $39 and consists of an economy-class three-course meal.
It was also possible for a small number of diners to visit the double-decker aircraft and take selfies with cockpit pilots.
The tarmac meals proved surprisingly popular, after more than 900 lunch tickets sold out within 30 minutes of bookings opening earlier this month, the airline announced six additional sessions.
The airline also offers home deliveries of plane meals, but after an outcry about the potential environmental impact, it has abandoned plans for “flights to nowhere”-short trips starting and ending at the same airport.