- Title: Check in but go nowhere: Taiwan offers fake flights for travel-starved tourists
- Date: 2nd July 2020
- Summary: TAIPEI, TAIWAN (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF SONGSHAN FAKE FLIGHT PARTICIPANTS GOING THROUGH INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURES GATE DOCUMENTS CHECK AIRPORT STAFF SPEAKING VARIOUS OF PARTICIPANTS GOING THROUGH CUSTOMS PARTICIPANTS AND AIRPORT STAFF WALKING PARTICIPANTS BOARDING PLANE (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 48-YEAR-OLD TAIPEI RESIDENT WITH THE SURNAME TSAI, SAYING: "I saw a friend shared a post about this activity. It sounded really fun. So I thought I'd also like to go take a look too." REPORTER ASKING: "Why did you decide to attend?" "I haven't been abroad for so long. Before I'd go abroad two to three times a year, every year. It's such a pity that this year because of the coronavirus epidemic I haven't been able to go abroad at all. I feel very lucky to have had my name drawn out of the hat to attend this activity." VARIOUS OF PARTICIPANTS SITTING ON PLANE / MAN TAKING SELFIE WITH PASSPORT AND BOARDING PASS AIRPORT STAFF DEMONSTRATING DISINFECTANT PROCESS VARIOUS OF PARTICIPANTS SITTING ON PLANE PARTICIPANT TAKING PHOTO ON PLANE AIRPORT STAFF SPEAKING TO PARTICIPANTS, STAFF IN DINOSAUR COSTUME HOLDING UP PICTURES FOR DEMONSTRATION PARTICIPANTS GETTING OFF PLANE PARTICIPANTS WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SONGSHAN AIRPORT DEPUTY CHIEF, WANG CHIH-CHING, SAYING: "Today we wanted to use the opportunity of this period when there are not so many international flights to hold this event so that some people who have never flown abroad from Songshan airport, or some who really want to fly abroad somewhere but because international flights haven't gotten back to normal and they have felt like they've been stuck at home for a long time, can have an opportunity to take part in this activity of ours. And we can use this chance to introduce some of our airport's recent developments to them." AIRPORT STAFF HOLDING SIGN READING (Chinese): "HAPPY FLIGHT" AIRPORT STAFF DOING A ROUTINE ABOUT COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS SUCH AS HAND WASHING AND WEARING A MASK VARIOUS OF AIRPORT STAFF STANDING AND WEARING MASKS PARTICIPANTS WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 38-YEAR-OLD EVENT PARTICIPANT, HSIAO CHUN-WEI, SAYING: "After receiving the confirmation that my number had been picked out to attend this event I thought, this is brilliant! And what's more my kid also wanted to come along to take a look at the plane. So we came. This really is a very special opportunity. And throughout this activity I've noticed, he (son) has been so, so happy." VARIOUS OF AIRPORT STAFF AND AIRPORT DOG (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 38-YEAR-OLD EVENT PARTICIPANT, HSIAO CHUN-WEI, SAYING: "We played going through customs both on leaving and entering (Taiwan)." HSIAO'S SON SAYING: "Going through customs andâ€¦." HSIAO: "What other performances did you see? On-flight spraying (of disinfectant). Right? And?" HSIAO'S SON SAYING: "And a small dinosaur." HSIAO: "A small dinosaur." AIRPORT STAFF GIVING PASS TO PARTICIPANT PARTICIPANTS AND AIRPORT STAFF WALKING PAST SHOPS INSIDE TERMINAL BUILDING PEOPLE WALKING OUT AT ARRIVALS
- Embargoed: 16th July 2020 10:19
- Keywords: COVID-19 Taiwan airline airport coronavirus fake travel fake trip masks security tourism virus
- Location: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- City: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- Country: China
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL47HHJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Starved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One airport in Taiwan has the solution - a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. You just never leave.
Taipei's downtown Songshan airport on Thursday (July 2) began offering travellers the chance to do just that, with some 60 people hungry to get going, albeit to nowhere.
Around 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen at random. More fake flight experiences will take place in coming weeks.
The passengers got boarding passes, and proceeded through security and immigration before boarding an Airbus A330 of Taiwan's largest carrier, China Airlines, where flight attendants chatted to them and explained coronavirus prevention methods.
The airport is using the event as a publicity opportunity to show off renovations it has completed while passengers have stayed away.
Songshan usually has flights to Tokyo, Seoul and several Chinese cities, and is also an important domestic hub.
Taiwan has emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic thanks to early and effective prevention steps, but has largely closed its borders since mid-March and advised its citizens against all overseas travel unless absolutely necessary.
While a handful of international flights have continued, passenger numbers plummeted almost 64 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according to the government.
Still, in one bright spot, internal travel is booming.
Taiwan's two main domestic carriers - China Airlines unit Mandarin Airlines and Eva Air's Uni Air - have added extra capacity over the summer to Taiwan's sun-soaked offshore islands and rugged east coast.
(Production: Ann Wang, Martin Pollard, Ben Blanchard)
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