'Love is in the Air!' in the COVID-19 era.
Love is in the air on this flight to nowhere.
Taiwanese carrier EVA Air has launched a speed-dating event for singles in which 20 men and 20 women will board a plane for a three-hour ride, then land right back where they started. The full-circle trip will then be followed by a two-hour date back on land, CNN Travel reports.
The airline teamed up with Mobius, a travel experience company, to organize these flights, called “Fly! Love Is In the Air!” set to take place on Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Each flight will take off from Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, then circle the island nation’s airspace for those several — hopefully romantic — hours. Daytime treks will soar over Taiwan’s east coast with views of mountain ranges, while the nighttime ascents will fly over the western shore with vistas of illuminated cities below.
Inside the plane, travelers won’t be able to choose their seats. Instead, they’ll be seated two-by-two by a lucky draw. Beyond talking to each other during the flight — and, yes, passengers can mix and mingle with those in other rows — the single crowd will also munch on dishes prepared by Michelin-starred chef Motokazu Nakamura, although they’ll need to keep masks on while not eating or drinking.
“Because of COVID-19, EVA Air has been organizing ‘faux travel’ experiences to fulfill people’s desire for travel. When single men and women travel, apart from enjoying the fun in travel, they may wish to meet someone — like a scene in a romantic movie,” Chiang Tsung-Wei, the spokesperson for Mobius’ speed-dating arm You and Me, told CNN Travel.
Flights to nowhere have literally soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, during times of travel restrictions and needed distractions. In Australia, a seven-hour Qantas flight to nowhere scheduled for October sold out in 10 minutes. They’ve also been buzzy in Hong Kong as a method for sightseeing.
Taiwan’s love flights have also received a good response. The first flight sold out within a week.
The participants on these Taiwanese matchmaking journeys must be men between the ages of 28 and 38, and women between 24 and 35. All must have university degrees and Taiwanese citizenship.
CNN notes the age differences sparked some controversy online.
“From different surveys we have done, most of the male participants would like to meet women younger than them while female participants would like to meet men older than them. That’s why there is a different age criteria for the event,” Chiang told the site, adding “But You and Me have organized different dating events that cater to different age groups.”
The trips all end with a “confession” section, in which passengers reveal those with whom they felt a spark.
The cost? $295 per person.