Singapore Airlines scraps flights to nowhere, launches A380 plane restaurant instead

Sep 29, 2020

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

Singapore Airlines is has dropped its plans to launch “no destination” flights, replacing them with an opportunity for would-be passengers to dine in a parked Singapore Airbus A380.

The airline’s original plans were to use an Airbus A350 aircraft for domestic flights that would take off from the country’s only major airport, Singapore Changi (SIN) and last around three hours before landing right back where they started. However, the plan drew concerns from environmental bodies.

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Instead, it’s going for a different, on-the-ground series of experiences. In a unique way to offer travel-starved locals a way to experience flying again, the airline has turned to allowing passengers to remain on the ground. The airline announced on Tuesday that it’s launching the Discover Your Singapore Airlines set of experiences, which will launch over the next few weeks.

The highlight of the new program is Restaurant A380 @Changi, which, as you may have guessed, will feature the full Singapore Airlines dining experience inside one of its superjumbos.

“Diners can choose from special menus for each cabin class,” the airline described. “Options include our signature international cuisine, as well as the best dishes from our special Peranakan menu that has been designed by acclaimed Singaporean chef Shermay Lee.”

Currently, the Restaurant A380 @Changi will operate only on Oct. 24-25, 2020, and attendees will get a goodie bag, KrisShop discounts and “additional gifts if they turn up in traditional heritage wear.” Reservations open on Oct. 12.

In addition to the Restaurant A380 @Changi option, Singapore Airlines will also offer a behind-the-scenes tour of its training facilities over two weekends in November, called Inside Singapore Airlines. With activities for both children and adults, there will also be the opportunity to purchase popular meals served on board. Bookings open on Nov. 1, 2020, and tours will be held on Nov. 21, 22, 28 and 29.

Finally, Singapore Airlines is introducing SIA@Home, which is for those interested in experiencing Singapore’s dining experience in their own home. You can choose from 10 first- or business-class menus, which will be delivered to the buyer’s home — complete with wine or Champagne. Bookings open on Oct. 5.

With the launch of the three Discover Your Singapore Airlines program, the airline has chosen to do away with its proposed flights to nowhere.

“An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a ‘flight to nowhere’, was also initially considered but not pursued after review,” the airline said in a statement.

At the time when the flight was proposed, it had raised environmental concerns, though noting Changi has already seen far fewer flights in 2020 than usual. Along with raising some much-needed revenue, the struggling airline was thought to use the flights to maintain pilots certified on the aircraft.

Asiana recently operated dozens of Airbus A380 flights without passengers or cargo to keep maintain their pilots’ certification. In the aftermath of Singapore’s flights to nowhere possibility, Australian carrier Qantas also announced scenic flights to nowhere, promising views over the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

Related: Qantas latest in growing list of airlines to launch scenic flight to nowhere

Taipei-based EVA Air, operated a special “Hello Kitty”-themed flight on local Father’s Day last month to grounded Taiwanese aviation enthusiasts. It featured a multi-course gourmet meal from three-Michelin-starred chef Motokazu Nakamura.

Singapore has imposed tough entry COVID-19 restrictions on foreigners, with most arriving passengers subject to a 14-day mandatory at-home quarantine period. These travelers are issued with an electronic wristband, which will track their location to ensure they are not leaving their quarantine location. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance. As such, it’s likely travelers won’t be able to take advantage of these new programs from Singapore Airlines.

Also, all residents of Singapore have been advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad for the foreseeable future. This has meant that for keen travelers living in what has traditionally been one of the world’s largest aviation hubs, they have not been able to board an aircraft for many months.

Additional reporting by Emily McNutt.

Featured photo by Toh Ting Wei/Getty Images.

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