The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Airplane restaurants

Where can you eat and sleep on an airplane without paying for a ticket? At airports, retired hangars, rural farmlands, and on bustling city streets, dining and sleeping are elevated to new heights with airplane restaurants and hotels across the world.
See Airplane Restaurants and Hotels around the World Slideshow
Whether it’s your fantasy to sleep in the cockpit, pretend you are flying a jumbo jet, or eat gourmet food in first class, airplane restaurants and airplane hotels around the world give travelers the chance to live their aviation dreams for a few hours or for the night.

The decommissioned planes, from small turboprop planes to Boeing 747s, have storied pasts that include hauling manure, carrying cargo, and playing a role in covert missions in Southeast Asia,. Many of the aircraft have been claimed by airplane enthusiasts and turned into fanciful airplane restaurants and hotels.
One of the planes, a DC-3 that has been retrofitted to look like the space shuttle, still logs miles, on the road, that is. And should you decide you want your very own airplane, the mobile kitchen is for sale.

Link - by Jon Dunbar and A. Abrams

The first Jumbo Jet to be flown commercially - rusting away, haunted by kitchen smells

We've seen "Airplane House & Boat Conversions", now it's time to check out converted-aircraft eating establishments - which lure customers inside the decommissioned planes (in hope to distract them from the quality of food?) Anyway, one such super-fast-jumbo-sized joint apparently is not in use any more:

all images copyright Jon Dunbar, used by permission

Jon Dunbar, whom you might remember from his "Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia" article, sends us another account of his urban exploring in South Korea. This time it's an abandoned Boeing 747 restaurant, looming huge over the highway, and yet dwarfed by a swarm of apartment buildings all around.

Jon says: "Thanks to the helpful people at Urban Exploration Resource I discovered that this was the second Boeing 747 ever made and apparently the first to be flown commercially." Here is the photo of its better days (see more here) -

(image credit: Marc Lehmann)

Then later it was disassembled and partially reassembled over here to be used as a restaurant. It clearly was closed up very quickly and now just sits next to a railway wasting away.

On approach, one can see the apartment buildings, which in Suwon look somewhat like milk cartons:

Here it is, a strange sight in the neighborhood...

This is somewhat surreal shot: it almost looks like this Jumbo 747 landed on a poor little building, which still tries to be cheerful with all these painted Pokemons and a satellite dish:

The jet engines don't look very authentic, however:

Look at its proud cockpit, and try to reflect on this unique aircraft's history:

Inside the plane, the cockpit is no longer a cockpit - but a seating space with a view:

The menu, and typical restaurant bar trinkets are still there -

When airliners fall into disrepair, they spawn some unusual-looking mushroom growth on their wings... On the right, nicely-used landing gear:

On this photo the airliner looks like it's ready to join the flow of city's traffic -

all images copyright Jon Dunbar, used by permission

In its day, this particular Jumbo Jet (the second ever built, and the first one to be flown commercially) was subjected to rigorous testing - here is a "Tail Strike" Test video, plus its history holds some minor accidents and damage. Here it is shown being disassembled before reaching Korea - and a Boeing employee talks about its history:

(image credit: Duncan Stewart)

Then Humpty Dumpty was put together again, to host the hungry customers and thirsty bar drinkers.

Airliners used as restaurants seem to be quite popular in South Korea: there is one in Daegu, and here is another on in Mokpo:

(image via Cary, more info)

One more aircraft "cafe" was one time in Seoul, but is gone now (more info, the place now is used for screen golf)

El Avion: Iran-Contra-Cargo Plane Converted Into a Bar in Costa Rica

This cargo plane was apparently delivering supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras and was shot down in 1986... leading to the Iran Contra scandal and investigation of Reagan administration' involvement - for the full info and directions to get there click here

UPDATE: Andrew Hoskin writes: "Actually, this is the sister to the plane that got shot down. The US government had purchased and was running two of these planes. When the one that sparked the Iran Contra affair was shot down this one was abandoned at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica. It was many years later that the derelict plane was purchased and moved to its new location."

(images credit: Scott)

A plane inside a restaurant might be a better idea -

... then the unique (and often historic) aircraft is spared the wear and tear and spilled food from many customers, plus it's protected from weather elements. One restaurant owner in Switzerland - map - decided to put an old Russian Ilyushin-14 into his restaurant and called it "Runway 34":

(images credit: Runway 34)


  1. Um... I'll pass, I eat 'enough' airline food to want to go eat in 'another' airplane... :-)

  2. I know that feeling....for the same reason I will not drink airplane coffee;) unless they bring it on in in a thermos

  3. come home jumbo, america needs ya.

  4. come home jumbo, america needs ya.


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