Japanese airline offers up worst part of flight for $540

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A customer has his meal on a parked plane at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Japanese carrier ALL Nippon Airways (ANA) has customers flocking to sample luxury in-flight meals on its parked planes. AFP

Airline food might be one of the last things people are missing during the pandemic, but one Japanese carrier has customers flocking to sample luxury in-flight meals on its parked planes.

Foie gras, crabmeat mousse and wagyu beef fillet are all on the menu aboard aircraft belonging to Japan’s All Nippon Airways – for a cool 59,800 yen ($540).

The airline launched its “restaurant with wings” for just a single day on Wednesday, but with demand proving sky-high, they are now planning to expand the offering.

The restaurant offered either first class or business class meals usually served on international flights, with “passengers” boarding a Boeing 777 at Tokyo’s Haneda airport holding tickets designed to look like boarding passes.

The experience came complete with crew announcements, according to the company, with meals served in cabin seats, though seatbelts were not required.

Demand appears strong, despite the prices – 59,800 yen for first-class meals and 29,800 yen for a business class offering.

“The tickets for the restaurant sold out in a day,” a spokeswoman said on Thursday, and the company now plans an additional 11 dates.

The airline said it could extend the service further if virus restrictions are not tightened.

The “restaurant” already observes virus measures, using only 60 seats on the plane to ensure customers can maintain some distance between them.

The Japanese carrier is not the first Asian airline to offer meals aboard grounded planes to travel-starved customers.

Hundreds of travel-starved diners ate lunch and watched seat-back films on two parked Singapore Airlines jets in October last year, with tickets selling for up to Sg$642 ($470).

Like airlines around the world, ANA has been hit hard by coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

In January it upheld its forecast for a record $4.9 billion net loss this financial year to March 2021, compared with 27.6 billion yen in net profit the previous year.

ANA Holdings’ nine-month net loss came to 309.6 billion yen ($3 billion) – also a record – and a sharp drop from the 86.4 billion yen in profit it logged during the same April-December period last year.