McFlights take burgers on to a different plane

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The Independent Online
"This is your captain speaking on the McPlane flight from Zurich to Palma. Big Macs and milkshakes will now be served."

Not content with providing burger bars across the world's holiday destinations, McDonald's will shortly take to the sky in a big red aeroplane.

The aircraft, dubbed McPlane in Britain and the Flying Ketchup in Switzerland, where the idea was conceived, makes its maiden voyage on 1 April. But the bright red 161-seat aircraft, with McDonald's emblazoned across the fuselage and a trademark yellow "M" on the tail, is an earnest attempt by the fast food giant to make "flights fun for families" and to trailblaze the company's name across the heavens.

The joint venture between McDonald's Switzerland, charter company Crossair and Hotelplan, the Swiss tour operators, will feature a McDonnell Douglas MD-81 aircraft customised to create an "ambience close to that of a McDonald's restaurant", but with red leather seats for comfort.

However, a large fries will be out of the question at the Flying McDonald's. The company is anxious to avoid a chip-pan fire at 30,000ft and counter service will be replaced by conventional meals on a plate.

Crossair, a subsidiary of Switzerland's national airline, Swissair, usually specialises in upmarket charter flights for business clients, with flight attendants serving champagne rather than Chicken McNuggets. A spokeswoman said: "It is moving downmarket for us, in a way, but we were glad to be doing something different, with families in mind.

"Children get very bored and we would be offering them souvenirs, a certificate and toys, as well as a McDonald's-style meal."

Children will be able to visit the cockpit, under supervision, with a range of holiday souvenirs on sale to complete the outing.