With airlines around the world struggling for survival and their traditional ways of generating revenue limited on non-existent, many are coming up with innovative ways to make a buck.
Thai Airways, for example, has opened a pop-up restaurant at its Bangkok head office that’s open to the public and has been given a special aviation theme.
Airline seats and cabin attendants
It uses airline seats, uniformed cabin attendants and is decorated with various airline paraphernalia. And the menu is based on the standard meals served in-flight by the airline.
News agency Reuters reports that opening day on Thursday was a sell out and additional pop-up restaurants are now being planned at other Thai Airways offices.
Home delivery of in-flight meals
In Canada, a regional carrier called Air North that operates in the remote Yukon region, has begun bulk home deliveries of its pre-packaged in-flight meals.
Private individuals or businesses can order up to 20 frozen meals at a time that will be delivered the next business day.
Online fresh-produce sales platform
AirAsia, a low-cost carrier in Malaysia, is using its expertise in logistics, cargo handling and online payment systems to create a specialised online sales platform.
This links Malaysian farmers directly with businesses looking for fresh produce such as pineapples, potatoes and chicken. Typical customers include supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.
Aircraft hired out for Antarctic viewing
In Australia, Qantas is renting out one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners and full crew to a business venture called Antarctica Flights.
This offers charter flights from major Australian cities to anyone who would like an aerial view of the mysterious and virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass.
Care packs full of in-flight goodies
Speaking of Qantas, it has had so much success selling in-flight ‘care packs’ online that these are currently out of stock.
Among the items in the care pack were a business class sleeper suit (pyjamas to you and I), 12 individually wrapped Tim Tam biscuits, lemongrass & ginger tea bags, and a pack of smoked almonds normally served to first class passengers.
According to the Businesstraveller.com website, Qantas has been marketing these as an ideal gift for a friend or family member, or as a treat-yourself gift.
Ideal meals for aged care facilities
Tamam Kitchen, an Israeli company that supplies El Al airlines, Turkish Airlines and other international carriers flying out of Tel Aviv, found itself with a lot of stock it couldn’t get rid of in the normal way when the virus struck.
So it created a simple TV ad that showed food trays gliding over a cloudy blue sky. “Fly to order!” it says in Hebrew. The meals are priced at as little as US$3 a tray, reported National Public Radio in the US.
Clients include a frail care centre that closed its dining room due to the coronavirus and a factory whose cafeteria is no longer operating for the same reason