With travel restrictions in place for people around the world, many miss the excitement of getting on a plane and going on holiday.
Finnair, however, has found that people miss air travel so much that they are even nostalgic for often-maligned aeroplane food.
The state-controlled airline’s pilot scheme selling its first-class meals, such as reindeer meatballs and Arctic char, fully sold out after being launched on Thursday.
“They miss the flights. Customers have been telling me that they want to celebrate the days they had planned to be in an aeroplane, that now they are sitting at home simulating it by eating Finnair food,” Kimmo Sivonen, who runs K-Citymarket in the suburb of Vantaa, told the Daily Telegraph.
If the scheme is successful, the meals will be sold in other branches in Finland.
“We want to offer the opportunity for a Finnair experience and everyday luxury at home now that travel has been restricted in many ways,” Marika Nieminen, Finnair Kitchen’s Director of Operations, said.
“At the same time, this is a new business opening for us and employs our chefs in Vantaa. It is especially great that at a time when most of Finnair Kitchen’s employees have been laid off, we can bring work and employment to our employees through this new experiment.”
Mr Sivonen said that as well as wanting to recapture the experience of flying, customers had also told him that they wanted to support their country’s national carrier.
“Finnair, like every airline, is in a bad situation right now, and that’s also why people are buying the products, to help Finnair,” he said.
He said that the recipes had been modified to remove the extra salt and spices put in to compensate for the loss of sense of taste is reduced by the dry air and cabin pressure.
Two main course options will be available each week from Monday to Sunday, with an additional starter sold only between Friday and Sunday.
The menu will change once a fortnight, with shoppers this week offered a choice of smoked carp and chanterelle risotto, or beef in teriyaki and radish sauce.
Mr Sivonen said that although the scheme was only an experiment, he expected it to continue.
“We think it’s not only for a short time. It’s not decided when we will stop selling it. We are starting right now and if it keeps selling, it’s probably going to stay.”