An Indian entrepreneur has come up with the ultimate low-cost airline: one that doesn't fly anywhere. Bahadur Chand Gupta, a retired Indian Airlines engineer, bought an old Airbus 300 from an insurance company in 2003, rebuilt it, and it now sits in a Delhi suburb where people pay $4 per "trip" so they can experience what it must be like to fly.
There are six crew on the plane, which is missing a wing and a chunk of the tail. Gupta plays the role of captain, while his wife serves drinks and trays of airline food to the passengers alongside the other stewardesses.
As the passengers listen to Gupta's announcements regarding turbulence and the descent into Delhi, the fact that the bathrooms are out of order, the air conditioning is powered by generator and they are still seeing the same view out of the window does not faze the passengers one bit.
Just one percent of Indians have experienced plane travel for real, but Gupta's virtual flight?which includes a safety demonstration?wows his employees (who hope that their work as static air hostesses will lead to the real thing one day) as well as the customers. One of Gupta's Saturday passengers, a young teacher, described the experience as "more beautiful than [she] ever imagined."