Ukraine International Airlines’ Unusual Flights To Nowhere

Filed Under: Ukraine

We’ve seen airlines around the world operate “flights to nowhere” as a way to both generate revenue and engage those who want to travel but can’t due to travel restrictions. Well, here’s an especially interesting flight to nowhere concept.

Ukraine International Airlines’ “flight over Kyiv”

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will be operating a couple of flights to nowhere in March, “at the numerous requests of beloved passengers,” which the airline calls “a real spring gift.” The flights are described as showing “the world through the eyes of a pilot.”

Tickets for these special flights cost $95 per person, and include the following:

  • A 70 minute flight over Kyiv on an Embraer 195, at an altitude of 900 meters
  • A tour of a Boeing 777 on the apron at Boryspil Airport
  • A photo in the cockpit and selfie with the pilot
  • A drawing for souvenirs and gifts

The flight will even feature “tour guides” in the form of UIA pilots, who will be in the cabin and share aviation stories. As UIA goes on to explain:

“And pilots will be happy to answer many questions and dispel the myths that are shrouded in aviation. What professional superstitions do pilots have? Is it true that the autopilot does all the work in flight? Can you fly without engines? What is turbulence and should you be afraid of it? And many more secrets and life hacks!

The tour is especially recommended for those who are afraid of flying!”

Flightseeing over Chernobyl & Antonov Airport

Most airlines operating flights to nowhere don’t fly at a particularly low altitude, so these flights are unique in the sense that they’ll only operate at around 3,000 feet. But arguably even more interesting is the path the flights will take.

Here’s the schedule of events for these special UIA flights:

Two things in particular stand out:

  • The flight will operate over Chernobyl, home to the world’s worst nuclear disaster; UIA describes this as flying over “mysterious Chernobyl,” which seems somewhat at odds with this being “a real spring gift”
  • The flight will fly over Gostomel, known as Antonov Airport, where the AN-225 is based (this is the world’s largest aircraft)

This isn’t just your average flight to nowhere, in the sense that this isn’t just about enjoying food and drinks and being in the air, but rather this will go over some pretty noteworthy areas.

Bottom line

Ukraine International Airlines will be operating some flights to nowhere in March, where an Embraer 195 will fly for around 70 minutes, offering views of Chernobyl, Antonov Airport, and more.

As of now the airline has only scheduled two of these flights, though it seems like there’s quite a bit of interest, so we could see more of these added.

What do you make of UIA’s version of a flight to nowhere? Is specifically flying over Chernobyl cool, or just kind of strange & creepy, given the context?

(Tip of the hat to Simple Flying)

  1. Maybe the Chernobyl flight is something of a sight seeing tourist looksee operation. I remember Chernobyl (barely) and I’ve seen pictures and videos of the abandoned residential areas. It is interesting if anything for preserved Soviet era architecture. Supposedly the area is still “hot” but flora and animals have thrived there without a whole lot of issues. For a lot of older people in the inner former Soviet bloc I can imagine nostalgia tours would be popular. When my father was based in Berlin in the early 70s for NATO it was not uncommon for veterans to visit the East before and after the fall of the Wall on such tours. Today E Berlin has mostly modernized but you can still tell.

  2. This will be a super-spreader event. Getting up on the flight deck (especially the flight deck of an Embraer 195, which is a very small jet) with dozens of others shuffling through the same space puts you in a very cramped place (like squeezing into an old telephone booth) with many others, after a dozen people shuttle through there, the viral load in that space is going to be very high. It’s just a very, very small space, with effectively zero ventilation. Even with masks on (I wonder just how good is mask discipline in Ukraine?) this will surely result in spreading the pandemic.

    While this sounds cute and fun, people will die because of this. Spectacularly stupid.

  3. I agree with Craig. Pripyat and Chernobyl tourism is actually pretty popular for international visitors to Ukraine – probably even more so in the wake of the miniseries.

  4. Thank god they’re using an Embraer for the sightseeing flights. So many of these flights are operated by widebodies. I don’t really understand the logic of a sightseeing flight when half the seats don’t even have windows…

  5. Who doesn’t love a good fly by of Chernobyl? Too bad it’s not on the water, Cruise companies would be eyeing it now as a stop over in their new “Luxury Destinations of Disaster.”

  6. @Stuart – boy do I have good news for you! Chernobyl is on the water, in fact the entire plant is right on the banks of the Pripyat River

  7. Guys
    I want you to know They have nothing else than a tourist industry to Chernobyl Half population is on quarantine with no job NO social fare to those who are on quarantine While the war is raging they are using the country as bargaining chip Trade with aggressor in bypass of international sanctions Fake steps to assure foreign creditors that reforms are implemented Divide and rule law inside the country And you Westerners are putting a blind eye on what is going on cause for you trade with russia is more important Tell me I made a mistake in my description

  8. @peter. I toured Chernobyl in December of 2019 and met a young woman from Baku, Azerbaijan that was visiting her first foreign country because of the HBO show. There is a fair bit of touring there, for sure.

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