Airline sells tickets to mysterious location through vending machines


Japan’s low-cost carrier has an unusual new strategy for selling domestic tickets.Photo/Peach Aviation

After more than 19 months of boarder restrictions, it’s not uncommon to hear people say they’d travel “anywhere” if given the chance.

But what if the destination is determined by an arcade game?

Japanese travelers can now take such a gamble at a vending machine made by Peach Aviation.

Known as “gachapons,” these capsule vending machines are popular in Japan and can hold a variety of unusual items, from gas meters and toy figures to hand sanitizer and certified pearls.


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If you visit Peach Aviation’s airport in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, what you’ll receive isn’t an oddball appliance or a toy, but a round-trip ticket to a domestic destination.

The destination will only be revealed after you pay 5,000 Yen (NZD) and receive the mystery capsule. Players will then be given a code that can be converted into JPY 6,000 in mileage credits that can only be used in certain destinations.

All flights depart from Tokyo Narita Airport.

Mao Otani, a 19-year-old college student, told VICE he received a trip to the remote city of Kushiro in Hokkaido.


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“I’ve never been there, and I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m excited anyway,” he said. The young student planned a week-long trip because it had been more than two years since his last sabbatical.

The capsule also comes with a small pin badge and “missions” that the pilot can perform when they reach their destination.

Otani was tasked with creating a fried chicken bowl, a popular dish made of seafood and rice, available at the Washo Market in Kushiro.

According to Shuntaro Kosasa, Peach Aviation’s brand manager and project director, the team was surprised by the machine’s popularity.

Since launching their first machine in Osaka in August this year, they have sold more than 3,000 capsules, far exceeding their expectation of selling one capsule per day.

However, the project has not been very lucrative, and Kosasa said the unexpected wave of social media support has worked in the airline’s favor.

As for why people opt for Gacha instead of simply buying tickets, Kosasa said the excitement and anticipation are the biggest draws.

“Not only is it new, but it’s the thrill of the excitement that comes from not knowing where you’ll end up. It’s time to do something fun,” he told VICE.

The vending machines in Shibuya will remain open until December and may be rolled out elsewhere in Japan.


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