Travelers take 'flights to nowhere' to celebrate Valentine's Day

08/22/2020 09:01 PM
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A passenger proposes before one of the StarLux flights. Photo courtesy of StarLux
A passenger proposes before one of the StarLux flights. Photo courtesy of StarLux

Taipei, Aug. 22 (CNA) Taiwan-based StarLux Airlines and China Airlines (CAL) took passengers Saturday on three sightseeing flights that had no destination, in celebration of Chinese Valentine's Day, as international travel remained restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

StarLux' flights JX8025 and JX8520 left from Taoyuan International Airport at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively, taking passengers on a four-hour trip southward to Taiwan's Pratas Islands in the South China Sea and back to Taoyuan.

The airline decorated the departure gate with a backdrop depicting the Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple, where people usually go to pray for a marriage partner.

Before boarding one of the StarLux flights, a man proposed to his girlfriend, who accepted his proposal.

Meanwhile, CAL flight CI2099 took off at 3:15 p.m. from Taoyuan, but changed its flight plan due to bad weather.

The Boeing 737-800 jetliner, which was scheduled to fly to southern Taiwan and then north to Japan's Ishigaki Island before returning to Taoyuan, instead took passengers over Hong Kong and back on a two-hour flight.

Passengers pose with China Airlines staff at the boarding gate. CNA photo Aug. 22, 2020
Passengers pose with China Airlines staff at the boarding gate. CNA photo Aug. 22, 2020

Meanwhile, budget airline Tigerair Taiwan canceled its Valentine's Day special sightseeing tours that were scheduled for Aug. 22 and 25, saying it had not met its sales target.

The Chinese Valentine's Day "flights to nowhere" are the latest in a series of similar tours being sold by Taiwan airlines, in an effort to recover from the sharp drop in passenger volume due to border restrictions and quarantine regulations in Taiwan and many other countries around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Chinese Valentine's Day falls on Aug. 25, but many people are celebrating on the weekend because Tuesday is not a holiday.

(By Yeh Chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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