Flying the McDonald's McPlane

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



April 10, 2023

DALLAS — Have you ever wished for a Big Mac while flying instead of the standard airline meal? 27 years ago, it happened, not just the Big Mac but an entire McDonald's jet.

In April 1996, a Swiss carrier, Crossair (LX), gave out its Mcdonnell Douglas MD-83 to a local tour operator that went by Hotelplan, aimed at flying families for vacations. The two firms partnered with the iconic fast food chain and worked together on a special project that year, and the McPlane was born.

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

The McPlane

The type was originally an MD-81 and joined Swiss in 1991, bearing registration HB-IUH. Later, after being modified and converted into the MD-83, it made its way to Crossair.

The conversion took place in Shannon, Ireland, and so did the eye-catching paint job which featured the iconic “M’ of the fast food king on the tail. The standard seats were out and in place were 161 bright ketchup-red seats. Every headrest had the “M” on it too.

All that said and done, the first flight for the McPlane took off from Basel, Switzerland (BSL) to Heraklion, Greece (HER), in April of that year. The McPlane would be on active flight duty to tourist spots across the European Mediterranean.

But Why Were There No Fries?

Aside from the Mc Nuggets, a variety of McDonald's hamburgers were available as part of the overall experience. But no McDonald's meal is complete without fries!

As stated by The Independent, "However, 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."

The experience was a delight for any kid that flew; a bunch of toys and materials were distributed on every flight, and the best part was that kids were allowed into the cockpit for a visit.

Featured image: HB-IUH McDonnell Douglas MD-83 Crossair (Mcdonald's livery) ZRH 20MAR99. Photo: Ken Fielding, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons