A Russian airport sells a fake flight experience – with check-in but no take-off – as war roils aviation

A view of empty seats and spaces at Vnukovo International Airport after Western countries closed their airspace to Russia. The airport pictured is not Anapa Airport. (Nuran Erkul Kaya/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

  • Russia’s Air Transport Agency suspended flights from some airports after the invasion of Ukraine.
  • One started selling a bundle of pre-flight procedures without any flying, per Russian media.
  • Anapa Airport’s “I Wanna Fly” program offers everything a flight does, except movement.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A Russian airport is selling a bundle of pre-flight procedures  without the actual flight  to cope with the chaos roiling the industry in Russia since its war with Ukraine began.

Details of the package at Anapa Airport, called “I Wanna Fly,” were published by independent Russian news outlet The Insider.

(The Insider is a Russian news outlet and has no affiliation with Insider.)

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency suspended all flights from the airport at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Anapa is near the border between Russia and Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014.

The closures are an extreme example of restrictions facing Russian fliers. Many regular destinations became inaccessible after the invasion began as dozens of countries closed their airspace to Russian planes.

The tour, which costs 1,500 Russian rubles (about R440), involves check-in, security, waiting at the gate, and boarding a plane which doesn’t go anywhere.

Customers are allowed to visit the cockpit and get served an in-flight meal, The Insider reported.

The plane also receives a water salute, which normally only occurs for ceremonial purposes and involves the plane going underneath plumes of water expelled by fire trucks.

Anapa Airport did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The “I Wanna Fly” tour is similar to when different airlines started offering “flights to nowhere” during the COVID-19 pandemic, though these often did involve taking off.

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