The spoof airline that could actually predict the future of travel - CNN

(CNN) — Thought 2020 had run out of surprises? Try this contender for the least likely news to finish the year in travel: a new airline.

As the aviation industry struggles to remain afloat, with airlines hemorrhaging money left right and center, it came as a surprise to see the “launch” of Mom Air, a soon-to-be-skyward airline (or so the website promised), connecting Iceland to both sides of the Atlantic.

The routemap connecting Europe to North America — servicing major cities including London, Paris, Berlin, Boston and Toronto — seemed sensible enough.

But it was Mom Air’s other proposed policies that raised eyebrows.

The airline appeared to be taking a leaf out of the Ryanair playbook, by charging not only for seat assignments, in-flight Wi-Fi and cabin bags — but also toilet paper, soap and even lifejackets (which is illegal).

It even offered “Covid flights,” for those testing positive and those who had already had the disease. These, it claimed, would be staffed by workers who’d also already had it and developed antibodies.

It seemed like a hoax — but encouraged by its more passenger-friendly policies like giving away two free tickets per flight, not demanding payment until two days before takeoff, free cancellation and cheap standby seats, potential customers flocked to its website.

Mom Air also appeared to tick socially right-on boxes, by shining a light on gender equality and vowing to employ as many women as men; and promising to “protect nature to the best of our ability” by carbon offsetting, using recycled materials and going paperless.

The result? Just under 10,000 Instagram followers and 6,000 booking enquiries, according to the CEO, in just two weeks — before the airline had even announced dates and prices.

The great reveal