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ANA To Fly A Chartered Airbus A380 Sightseeing Flight

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Japan’s All Nippon Airways is laying on another A380 scenic flight to nowhere. The flight, slated to take off on December 20, is for members of an ANA Facebook group. The Facebook group is made up of keen ANA Mileage Club members. The scenic flight is open to them, their family, and friends on a first-come-first-served basis.

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ANA will operate another scenic flight to nowhere in December. Photo: Getty Images

A flight to nowhere put on for a Facebook group

The news about this upcoming flight was first reported on the Japanese blog, Traicey.com. They’ve got the flight running out of Narita in December. The ANA fans will only be in the air for 90 minutes. Seats are available in all four classes on the A380 and priced accordingly. All Nippon Airways only have two A380s. Normally the airline exclusively uses them on their Hawaii routes

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. Both planes are among the most eyecatching in the skies, with elaborate turtle-inspired liveries. Seats run from get friendly with your neighbors economy class to big enough to live in first class.

To date, All Nippon Airways has operated a handful of scenic flights to nowhere using their A380 planes.

The first was in late August for 334 passengers. That flight was so popular it was oversubscribed by a factor of 150. All Nippon Airways resorted to conducting a lottery-style draw. That encouraged the airline to run a couple of more scenic flights. The next one is coming up soon, on November 15. This upcoming flight is a bit longer than ANA’s usual 90-minute scenic flights. The November flight will stay in the air for three hours

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. But good luck snagging a ticket. Again, the airline is running a lottery-type draw.
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ANA is renowned for its distinctive livery on its A380s. Photo: Getty Images

An interesting new angle for airlines to pursue

The December flight represents an interesting departure for the norm in that it’s only open to members of a particular Facebook group. It’s a fair-sized group, and they are clearly keen on their planes, so filling the plane shouldn’t prove an issue. But All Nippon Airways may be onto something here, targeting particular groups rather than the broader public.

Of course, the obvious market any airline could target is its frequent flyer members. Given many members are still busy accruing points, a flight to nowhere allowing members to burn some points could work well. Most of these scenic flights are not about revenue per se. Most run on a cost-recovery basis. The benefit for the airline is to get the plane and pilots in the sky, working and clocking up some flying hours.

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All Nippon Airways operates a pair of A380s. Photo: Getty Images

The other interesting aspect of these flights to nowhere is that most are coming out of the Asia-Pacific region. That could be read from many different angles. For instance, there could be enough regular flights available in North America to meet demand from people who just want to go for a ride. In Europe, some experts have said the environmental footprint from an essentially unnecessary flight would get weaponized by some interest groups.

Whatever the reason, the Asia-Pacific region is where the action is when it comes to flights to nowhere. ANA’s latest move, even if to a select group of people, continues this trend. What’s new about this flight is that it isn’t being marketed to the general public in Japan.

What do you think? Is running a flight to nowhere for a closed group of people a clever idea? Post a comment and let us know.

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