Airplane food is an element of travel you probably didn’t expect to miss during the pandemic – and in most cases, that’s for good reason. But as the coronavirus drags on, one carrier is tapping into public feelings of longing and nostalgia with the launch of a pop-up restaurant that serves in-flight meals to grounded globetrotters

In early September, Thai Airways transformed the employee dining room at its Bangkok headquarters into an aviation-themed restaurant, featuring menus that pull from the best of its first-class offerings – think: stalwarts like pasta, shawarma, chicken tikka, yakisoba, cheesecake, and macarons appearing alongside local favorites like roast beef with nam jim jaew (dried chili dipping sauce) and khanom chin nam phrik, the classic rice-noodle dish. Self- and full-service set menus are both available. 

Thai Airways chairs with dishes
Thai Airways's plane-themed pop-up serves local and international favorites alike © Thai Airways

To evoke a passenger-cabin experience, the space itself is kitted out with airplane seats and furniture made from old plane parts. According to a press release, engine fans have been upcycled into table legs, rubber wheels converted into tables, and engine parts like the spinner core displayed prominently. Adding to the sense of adventure, guests climb a ladder car to reach the restaurant’s doors, and they receive a QR code on their smartphones that serves as a boarding pass to be scanned upon entry. 

Thai Airways chef preparing dishes for the plane-themed popup
Self- and full-service menus are both available © Thai Airways

Currently, the pop-up dining experience is only available at Thai Airways’s Bangkok office, but given the pilot program’s popularity, there are plans to expand to other locations later this year. But for now, the flagship is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm, with coffee, tea, and pastries are available from 7 am. Reservations for full-service set menus can be made up to three days in advance by calling 0-2356-1666. 

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