The airline that never flies

  1. It's amazing what there are markets for out there :confused1:,23599,22510446-13762,00.html

    AN Indian entrepreneur has given a new twist to the concept of low-cost airlines.

    The passengers boarding his Airbus 300 in Delhi do not expect to go anywhere because it never takes off.

    All they want is the chance to know what it is like to sit on a plane, listen to announcements and be waited on by flight attendants bustling up and down the aisle.
    In a country where 99 per cent of the population have never experienced air travel, the "virtual journeys" of Bahadur Chand Gupta, a retired Indian Airlines engineer, have proved a roaring success.

    As on an ordinary aircraft, customers buckle themselves in and watch a safety demonstration. But when they look out of the windows, the landscape never changes.
    Even if "Captain" Gupta wanted to get off the ground, the plane would not go far: it has only one wing and a large part of the tail is missing.

    None of that bothers Mr Gupta as he sits at the controls in his cockpit. His regular announcements include "We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence" and "We are about to begin our descent into Delhi".

    "Some of my passengers have crossed the country to get on this plane," said Mr Gupta, who charges passengers about $4 for taking the "journey".

    The plane has no lighting and the lavatories are out of order. The air-conditioning is powered by a generator.

    Even so, about 40 passengers turn up each Saturday to queue for boarding cards.
    Mr Gupta bought the plane in 2003 from an insurance company. It was dismantled and then put together again in a southern suburb of Delhi.

    The Indian Airlines logo on the fuselage has been replaced by the name Gupta.

    Passengers are looked after by a crew of six, including Mr Gupta's wife, who goes up and down the aisle with her drinks trolley, serving meals in airline trays. Some of the flight attendants hope to get jobs on proper planes one day and regard it as useful practice.
    As for the passengers, they are too poor to afford a real airline ticket and most have only ever seen the interior of an aircraft in films.

    "I see planes passing all day long over my roof," Selim, a 40-year-old tyre mechanic, was quoted as saying.

    "I had to try out the experience."

    Jasmine, a young teacher, had been longing to go on a plane.

    "It is much more beautiful than I ever imagined," she said.
  2. Isn't it interesting that something many of us dread is looked at as a luxury by others?
  3. At first thought, I was like :wtf:, but I see now that something so ordinary for me is such a luxury for many. There are such varying levels of money around the world- interesting and humbling.
  4. I mean I can totally see the fascination if you have never been on a plane and perhaps never will due to finances. It's like being in a themed restaurant or something.
  5. Yeah, I read this in the paper, pretty interesting.
    I'm always really surprised when people tell me they've never been on a plane, it just feels so normal to me, like riding in a car.
  6. Very enterprising of this man!
  7. It's like a themed restuarant. Interesting. It's a very humbling story though.
  8. For some reason I find this story very touching.
  9. It sounds like a fun thing to fo if you have never been on a plane, plus you get to experience customer service and they bring you food.
  10. I've never heard of this... that's really interesting that someone would do that!!!
  11. hey... that might be useful for those folk who have a fear of flying, they can practice before hand!

    I was 10 before i ever got on a plane and 14 before i ever left the state. both were for school events... the first was fundraised & the 2nd was state-sponsored.

    flying is expensive, and there's no way my family could've afforded it for all of us.
  12. me too. i can't put my finger on EXACTLY why.
  13. That's kind of sweet. It reminds of children playing.
  14. That is so weird !
  15. I agree that this is a humbling and touching story. There are a lot of things most people take for granted that many others would love to experience. Likewise, I am sure there are aspects of their lives that we would love to taste.