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Travel & Leisure

Flights to nowhere give homebound Taiwanese a taste of travel

Starlux and other airlines respond to locals' hunger for international trips

Taiwanese carrier Starlux has teamed up with Hong Kong-based travel startup Klook to offer flights that start and end at the same airport. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TAIPEI/TOKYO -- Taoyuan International Airport has been rather empty since the coronavirus pandemic shut the door on overseas travel, so it was a rare sight on Friday morning when nearly 200 passengers lined up to board a flight. The only catch: they weren't actually going anywhere.

The Starlux Airlines flight, which took off at 11 a.m., cruised along Taiwan's east coast and over the Philippines before retuning to Taoyuan. The flight did not touch down anywhere, but for travel-starved Taiwanese, it was enough.

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