Would you trust an artist to provide you with a hassle-free, enjoyable travel experience? Artist Qinmin Liu is certain you can count on her to do so, and has created her own airline that guarantees “flying with happiness.”
Named Angelhaha Airline, the unique service flies passengers only to art events, namely art fairs. Its first stop: Art Basel Miami Beach, set to depart from New York City in just over a week. While this first voyage flies on a private jet owned by the China-based Meisihang Private Aviation, Liu hopes to eventually own her own, larger airplane. Tickets, as you might imagine, are pricier than those your average airline would sell, costing between $2,700 and $3,500, although Liu wants to make seats more affordable. Of the nine available on board, only two are left as of this writing.
In addition to a trip, passengers are essentially paying for some sort of airborne performance, choreographed by Liu. The artist, who serves as the company’s CEO and representative, will also act as the chief flight attendant.
“The entire thing is a performance,” Liu told Hyperallergic. “Service is performance. Environment is choreographed. I am going to use airplane, time, and this contained space to offer all my passengers a choreographed experience. Happiness is ahead of you.”
As Angelhaha’s name suggests, happiness according to Liu is very much tied to laughter. She first launched the project through an advertisement on Chinese state television, and the 15-second spot simply features a close-up of her laughing. Promotional images for the airline are similarly ambiguous, showing her smiling widely while holding a mini model of an airplane. More curious is her decision to seemingly appear topless — perhaps this is part of her performance persona, but without further context, it risks coming off as a cheap eroticization of the Asian female body.
However successful this maiden voyage is, Liu is dedicated to her art world airline. She has already scheduled several flights in the coming months, with the next one set to depart in January, from New York City to San Francisco. Future trips will fly into and depart from cities including Beijing, Shanghai, London, Paris, Venice, and Berlin.
“I always ask myself, Can I become a real player in a social system? How to crash it? How to disturb it ? Can I imitate it ?” Liu told Hyperallergic. “I want to push the limit. So why not start something that can redefine the function of art?”