While airlines around the world are flying to nowhere, Thai Airways is plotting a course to heaven.
Teased as an “auspicious flight in the sky over 99 sacred venues,” the national airline yesterday launched a campaign dubbed Thai Magical Flying Experience which will pass over 99 (lucky number!) religious sites nationwide.
Taking off from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 1:30pm on Nov. 30, the three-hour flight will traverse 31 provinces including Ayutthaya, Chonburi, Suphan Buri, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima and Surat Thani. It will then return to the airport at around 4:30pm. On board, passengers will be led through “in-the-sky prayer chanting” by famed astrologist Kata Chinnabanchorn.
Every passenger will get souvenirs: a Buddha amulet and prayer book.
“There is no landing during this flight. Passengers will receive positive energy from chanting on board,” said Wiwat Piyawiroj, executive vice president of Thai Airways’ commercial operations.
Economy class tickets are THB5,999 (US$193) and business will cost THB9,999 (US$321). Tickets are on sale now through Nov. 25.
The campaign received a mixed reaction. Some were sincerely interested in booking a three-hour “holy flight” while others were in disbelief that humanity had reached this point.
“We have aviation technology, yet they came up with an obsolete idea like apes. WTF,” Facebook user Holland Novak wrote.
One user questioned whether flying above such sacred places could be deemed “disrespectful.”
“I have a question for experts: Flying in a plane above Buddhist temples would be considered sitting on a Buddha image? Just curious,” wrote Facebook user Wong Kot.
After declaring bankruptcy in May, the government did not bail out Thai Airways. The pandemic travel freeze was a knockout blow to the already deeply indebted national carrier – which has been trying everything from terrestrial pop-up restaurants and selling fried dough sticks to renting flight simulator time and cannibalizing its safety equipment to create handbags.