Grin and bare it -- German firm offers naked flights
Operator says they are bombarded with enquiries.
Erfurt, Germany -- Tour operator Enrico Hess had no idea what he was letting himself in for when a customer asked him to organize a flight for passengers who want to fly naked.
"I've been bombarded with enquiries," said the 34-year-old. "People are calling up by the minute to book tickets for our first nudist flight on July 5."
The flight will travel from the east German city of Erfurt, where Hess' company is based, to the town of Heringsdorf on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, famous for its golden, sandy beaches.
The day return trip costs 499 euros ($737).
Up to 55 passengers will be required to board the plane with their clothes on but can then strip off and enjoy their time aloft "completely in the nude", the company said.
For security reasons cabin staff remain fully dressed during the hour-long flight.
"We want to give passengers genuine freedom of the skies", said Hess, who insists he is not an afficionado of naturist movement known under its German acronym FKK.
"I don't see what pleasure people get in spending their holidays without their clothes on," he said.
Nonetheless he has been busy fielding calls from prospective passengers from countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
"We've got enough bookings to fill several planes with FKK enthusiasts, he said.
Before the collapse of communism in the eastern part of Germany nude bathing on Baltic beaches was a popular vacation pastime for those unable to leave the country because of severe restrictions on foreign travel.
Hess, who usually deals in package tours to destinations like Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary and Cuba, says he is considering expanding his naked air travel to the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.
"The airports would have to adjust to their new clientele and set up separate check-in areas where the nudists could be screened behind curtains so as not to cause offence to other passengers."
The businessman, who is also considering pick-up and drop-off services for his new group of clients, is convinced of the viability of nudist travel.
"Of course, I've had lots of calls from people who thought it was just a joke. But that's not the case. We are not doing anything offensive, we're serious about our intentions."
DPA with Expatica