Hong Kong (CNN) – I was on numerous flights where people clapped when the plane landed. But this was the first time I was on a plane where everyone was clapping on takeoff.
In addition to giving airlines a chance to recoup lost profits, these flights also give aviation freaks a chance to return to the skies and enjoy small extras.
Although at first the idea of these flights seemed to me somehow meaningless – you have to deal with all the worries about airport security, and then there is nothing to show? – When I learned that the airline of my hometown offers this, I just could not resist.
Trip to work
My favorite way to get to the airport is the high-speed train, which departs from Hong Kong station.
As everywhere in the city, the train station is littered with signs reminding people to wear masks. However, I felt brave enough to slip a little to drink a little water. Removing the mask in Hong Kong is currently illegal, and I felt a slight hint of danger, although no one around me was seen. (After all, it’s not hard to distance yourself socially when you’re the only person on the platform.)
Although several other backward people boarded other train stops in Kowloon and Qing I, I had the whole car to myself for half an hour. I used both free phone chargers and free Wi-Fi.
An express train is usually a pleasant experience, but doing so without luggage has changed the game. Or at least a shoulder.
Arrival at the airport
Despite the fact that we did not leave Hong Kong airspace, everyone who flew still had to go through the usual security processes at the airport. This meant taking my passport out of storage and putting socks in my wallet in case I had to take off my sandals.
Temperature monitoring has been at Hong Kong International Airport since the time of SARS and bird flu, but the tightened protocols meant a large number of free bottles of hand sanitizer located throughout the terminal and the constant presence of a cleaning crew.
It’s good that there weren’t many in the security queue – at the last minute I had to pull things out of my pockets and take the Kindle out of my sleeve. It’s official: I’m out of practice. A year ago, I would have rudely complained to someone else about doing the same thing on security scanners.
Most of the shops and restaurants at the airport were closed, and there were more signs demanding social distance from people than people doing social distance.
Up: The bathrooms were sparkling.
Disadvantage: the absence of an international flight meant that the duty-free shop was banned.
In the sky
In my work as a traveler and editor, I flew at least once a month. When traveling is your job, it takes away some of the glamor – each $ 12 stale pastry and loud snoring add up quickly.
But as the plane slowly moved away from the gate, I felt strangely emotional. Suddenly we exploded with spontaneous applause.
A Hong Kong Express spokesman told us that one of the motivations for their flights to nowhere was to remind people of the magic of travel. Thirty seconds into the flight, I could feel myself holding my breath. I remembered my late grandmother, who grew up during the Great Depression and did not fly a plane for the first time until she was thirty years old.
It is easy to forget that aviation is a miracle.
Usually I’m a strict pass. But for the 75-minute loop around Hong Kong, it was all about the window.
However, it was not only the lack of a final destination that made this flight different. There was no food or drink service – it was easier to keep masks along the way – and luggage. The landing was distributed, and all middle places were blocked. More than just a pleasure cruise in the sky, it was a spy on what the flight would probably look like when it resumed around the world.
Currently, anyone coming to Hong Kong is subject to a 14-day quarantine either at home or in an approved hotel.
To make sure that Hong Kong Express passengers were not quarantined, each of us received bright purple lanyards to wear upon arrival.. It looked like the quarantine was a vampire and our straps were garlic, but the system worked.
Although there is no jet lag or stamp in my passport, my trip to nowhere ended up feeling a little – quite a bit – like a vacation.