Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Forget air miles, Thai Airways offers flyers the chance to earn heavenly points

'There is no landing during this flight. Passengers will receive positive energy from chanting on board.'

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Nervous flyers often say a prayer as they come in to land, and even the most devout atheists may find themselves unexpectedly praying as their plane thumps along through prolonged turbulence.

Thai Airways is now offering a flight on a wing and a prayer which will get passengers that much nearer to heaven and back home in time for tea.

Embattled airlines around the world have been offering sold-out flights to nowhere to raise desperately needed cash. Thai Airways has tried everything from selling fried dough sticks on the street to renting out flight simulator time to captain wannabees and chopping up life jackets and emergency chutes for handbags.

Now it is aiming to help passengers gain paradise points.

Billed as an “auspicious flight in the sky”, the national airline is launching what it calls the “Thai Magical Flying Experience”.

The Nov 30 flight will take off from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and overfly 31 provinces in three hours. Passengers will get an angel’s-eye view of 99 sacred sites including famous Wat Arun and Unesco-listed heritage locations in Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, reports The Guardian.

Tickets range in price from 5,999 baht (RM800) to 9,999 baht (RM1,300) and passengers will be given a free prayer book and special meal. They will be guided through “in-the-sky prayer chanting” by famed astrologist Kata Chinnabanchorn.

“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.

The pandemic is costing airlines worldwide hundreds of billions of dollars. Thailand, where tourism generates around 20% of GDP, remains mostly shut to foreign travellers, and Thai Airways was deeply indebted and struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic, but the long closure of Thailand’s borders has been a devastating blow.

The Thai flag-carrier declared bankruptcy in May but the government refused to bail it out.

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