Home > Magazine > ChaiTime > AIR INDIA MAKES HISTORY



Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
April 2017

Air India recently made history when it became the first airline to complete a flight around the world with an all-female crew.

The Boeing 777 flew east from New Delhi, crossing the Pacific to get to San Francisco. Then, after a mandatory rest period, the plane continued its journey east, crossing the Atlantic to get to New Delhi, where passengers uttered sighs of relief: “Phew! We made it to India alive!”

Actually, it’s not clear if passengers were even aware that they were part of history. Perhaps the pilot made an announcement: “Thank you for flying Air India. As you may have noticed, your entire crew today is made up of women. If there are any male passengers with flying experience, please stay in your seats. We know what we’re doing.”

What’s amazing is that it wasn’t just the crew on the plane that was fully female. It was almost everyone connected with the flight: the check-in staff, the engineers, and the air traffic controllers. Air India didn’t say whether its baggage-handling employees were also female, but perhaps the airline hired Olympic medalist wrestler Sakshi Malik for a day to throw the heavy suitcases into the cargo hold.

Most of Air India’s record-setting flight crew wore saris and jackets, but the pilots wore their regular suits. It was a missed opportunity for Air India, which came close to setting another record: “First airline to complete a flight around the world with a sari-wearing crew.”

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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