India’s new “airline” only has grounded flights

A clever entrepreneur in India is selling plane tickets for just $4. The catch: The Airbus 300 never takes off!  Passengers just get to experience what it’s like to sit on a plane. They get to fasten their seat belts, watch the safety demonstration, be waited on by stewardesses with drink carts, and hear announcements such as, “We ...

598902_071003_airplane_05.jpg
598902_071003_airplane_05.jpg

A clever entrepreneur in India is selling plane tickets for just $4. The catch: The Airbus 300 never takes off! 

Passengers just get to experience what it's like to sit on a plane. They get to fasten their seat belts, watch the safety demonstration, be waited on by stewardesses with drink carts, and hear announcements such as, "We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence." The plane, by the way, has only one wing; a chunk of the tail is missing; and the bathrooms are out of service.

Photo: Gizmodo

A clever entrepreneur in India is selling plane tickets for just $4. The catch: The Airbus 300 never takes off! 

Passengers just get to experience what it’s like to sit on a plane. They get to fasten their seat belts, watch the safety demonstration, be waited on by stewardesses with drink carts, and hear announcements such as, “We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence.” The plane, by the way, has only one wing; a chunk of the tail is missing; and the bathrooms are out of service.

Photo: Gizmodo

The “virtual journeys” are turning out to be a success in a country where only 1 percent of the population has ever experienced real off-the-ground air travel. Commenters have pointed out that it’s not much different from city folks who take their kids for pony rides (or to petting zoos, for that matter) at county fairs, or people who pay to spend the night in a cabin of the Queen Mary ship docked in Long Beach, California. People will pay for simulated experiences; just look at some of the most popular video games.

The “virtual journeys” could serve a practical purpose, though. With India’s rapid economic growth, more people are flying for the first time. A report about unruly Indian passengers quoted an airport manager as saying that many are first-time fliers who don’t understand airplane etiquette. One tried to open the door right before takeoff, for example. The report recommends that Indians be taught the do’s and don’ts of plane travel. “Virtual jouneys” may be the place to start.

There’s no word yet, though, on whether long security lines, lost luggage, and getting bumped for a free ticket later will be added to the experience.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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