Indian man offers realistic flight experience to people who are too poor to travel

Barcroft TV/YouTube

The Flight to Nowhere offers people who might never be able to afford to get on a real flight the experience of being on a plane.

Some of India's poorest residents will never get to travel outside of their hometowns, let alone see the inside of an actual plane.

But retired aircraft engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta is changing that, offering school children and curious locals flight re-enactments in his decommissioned Airbus A300 for less than $1.

While the flight never actually leaves the ground, the "passengers" can enjoy the experience of receiving their very own boarding pass, a safety presentation, and in-flight catering.

Unlike on a real flight, those onboard Gupta's plane are offered the added novelty of cockpit tours - and even better, get to exit via the emergency slide. 

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Gupta, who comes from a small village in the Indian state of Haryana, said he began working for Indian Airlines in 1980, and found his neighbours were fascinated by his job.

He even snuck one local man past security and into the airport so they would be able to see a plane for the first time.

"That day I realised that it is very difficult for a poor man to see an aircraft," Gupta told Barcroft TV.

"I thought that I should have something out of the airport like this so that I can show them the aircraft."

In 2003, he decided to sell his land and purchase the old Airbus, for 600,000 Rupees (NZ$13,500).

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He charges his passengers only what they can afford, whether that be $1 or nothing at all.

Gupta said he has managed to fund the project thanks to some airlines using his service to offer training courses to their flight attendants.

"It gives you a very, very good feeling. If you help somebody, you can feel that," he said.

"I feel fully satisfied with my life."

 - Stuff


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