The 55-metre-long, 150-tonne former jet that’s been permanently parked at ChangChui for 17 months is finally whisking passengers off on culinary adventures, its cabin whimsically decorated with stuffed animals.

The one-time member of the Thai Sky Airlines fleet was about to be shredded for scrap when Somchai Songwatana, the celebrated clothing designer and founder of fashion label FlyNow, flew to its rescue.

He and his team hauled the plane in 20 massive chunks from Don Mueang Airport and painstakingly reassembled it on-site.

It originally had 450 seats, but there are only 90 in the taxidermy-stocked restaurant named Na-Oh, a pun on Noah of biblical ark fame.

Upon boarding for what’s billed as a “futuristic food journey”, guests have three set dinners to choose among – five courses for Bt1,500, eight for Bt2,500 and the “chef’s selection” for Bt5,500.

An antique cage elevator lifts guests from ground to fuselage, where a glass cabinet holding a mama and baby stuffed polar bear greets them.

The team has replaced the airline seats with vintage Art Deco sofas and chairs and added fancy chandeliers and framed prints of Noah and his menagerie riding the high seas. Old steamer trunks serve as tables.

It’s a bit disconcerting at first having stuffed animals staring at you while you eat, but the taxidermists have certainly done wonderful work. And the silent creatures are certified legal and ethical, meaning they died of natural causes. An eland and a baboon, looking quite life-like, peer calmly out from behind glass.

The animals, antique furniture and vintage decorative items came from Somchai’s personal collection. He owns 30,000 perfume bottles, and a bunch of them were turned into a counter bar on which stuffed birds perch.

The former baggage compartment is now a 10-seat lounge with high-backed maroon sofas and a large display cabinet of beasts escaping Noah’s flood – among them white lions, a black bear, a warthog, caribou and more birds.

The cockpit is a private dining room with a classic chesterfield. The tail end has been fitted with a large window affording views of the grounds.

According to