What is it about air travel—the concrete, everyday logistics of it—that captures our imagination and our hearts? Just last month, New Orleans International Airport announced it would be selling a guest pass program for those who just want to bask in the glory of the concourse’s shops and restaurants; now, Malaysia-based airline AirAsia has opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant serving its beloved in-flight menu.
According to CNN, Santan—the quick-service restaurant located in a Kuala Lumpur mall—has identical branding and the same offerings you’d find at 30,000 feet, such as chicken and rice dishes with chili sauce. This is the first location, but the airline plans to expand to as many as 100 other restaurants worldwide over the next five years.
AirAsia is already the largest low-cost airline in Asia, and these moves on the ground could help make it loom even larger in customers’ minds. American travelers have their own outsized enthusiasm for airline treats, and famous chefs are often tapped to design in-flight menus, so it would make sense if we soon saw the opening of Delta Delicacies or American Way Cafe. But they’d be wise to hold the peanuts.