A former Indian air hostess has converted an airbus into a restaurant to give people a feeling of dining inside a plane.
Shruti Kakkar and her husband Kshitiz, both 32 and a hotelier, bought an Air India A320 and converted the plane into a luxurious restaurant complete with a virtual simulator for those who have never experienced a flight journey.
Tactically set up on National Highway 1 connecting Punjab and New Delhi-the states famous for foodies, the restaurant is named Runway 1.
It has been catching eyeballs of travellers and locals alike for its near-flying experience complete with boarding passes, announcements and waitresses dressed as flight attendants.
The multi-cuisine restaurant is also popular among underprivileged children who are invited on special occasions and given heavy discounts on food bills.
The restaurant has a sitting arrangement for 80 people at a time and has an elaborate menu of more than 300 Mexican, Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
And while aeroplanes are not generally known for its meals, Runway 1 is popular for its Sharabi Butter Chicken which is cooked in Old Monk rum.
Shruti said: ” I am overwhelmed with the response. It was a long cherished dream and I am delighted that within three months it has hit the right card with food lovers.
“There is a waiting for two hours and we get 100-150 guests on daily basis.
“What excites me more is that people from small towns and nearby villages and children from underprivileged backgrounds come here and get the pleasure of dining inside an aeroplane. It gives me immense happiness.”
Shruti, who quit her job four years ago said the idea hit her two years ago.
The couple spent nearly ten months in buying and setting up the restaurant that has a staff of 60 persons.
She said: “When I was flying I would come across people who would be eager to know about my experiences. They would ask me how it feels to be inside the plane.
“Over the years, flights have become common but it is still out of reach for a certain section in the society. My dream was to give those people an unforgettable experience in a small budget.”
Shruti says the biggest moment for her was when a young man brought his 80-year-old parents before taking them to Australia to experience a plane as the octogenarians had never flown before.
“It is moments like this that I feel proud. There are endless luxurious hotels but our restaurant is not only about luxury, it is also about making memories and experiences.
“I feel wonderful when kids from deprived section come to the restaurant where they not only enjoy food at discounted prices but also get their hands on simulators.
“We issue boarding passes and passports for them and make announcements for turbulence to make their experience near real.”
“Our restaurant is also popular among middle as well as upper classes as it gives them a feel of luxury at reasonable costs.”