Plane cafés provide a fix for travel addicts

With the pandemic making travel much more difficult for many, THAI Airways and a private company are feeding the wanderlust of frequent flyers by opening plane cafes in Bangkok and Pattaya where diners sit in airplane seats and eat airplane food without experiencing jet lag.

It may not be two tickets to paradise, but “it’s a lot of fun,” 26-year-old Thipsuda Faksaithong told the AFP news agency while visiting the café in the beach resort city of Pattaya. Aside from the fare, the venue gives her a chance to see how the other half lives. “With this café I can sit in first class and also mess around in the cockpit pretending to be the captain of the plane.”

Apart from repatriation flights bringing Thais back home, air travel in and out of Thailand has been restricted to prevent the spread of Covid-19. That and other measures have proved remarkably successful, as Thailand has recorded fewer than 3,500 infections and just 58 deaths.

But for those who love to travel, air travel has been considerably missed.

“Normally I’m a person who travels very often, and when we should stay home, it’s kind of depressing,” said Intrawut Simapichet, who brought his family to the THAI Airways café in Bangkok. “This café fills that void.”

Thais can still fly domestically, and many are taking advantage of that opportunity, although in far fewer numbers than before the pandemic. People, in general, are still being cautious about the risks posed by the virus.

Last week, the government also approved in principle a proposal to begin issuing longer-stay visas for foreign tourists that would be good for up to 90 days. However, the government will require those arriving to undergo a 14-day quarantine to prevent possible spread of COVID-19.

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