According to Anthony Toth, the founder of the Air India 747 experience back in the 1970’s, Air India could best be described as a country on wings… and perhaps one of the most unique ways to fly. A flight on Air India in the 1970’s, and even the 1980’s, was special for 3 key reasons: Culture, Design & Hospitality.
So first is Culture.
When you stepped on board their 747, the Indian culture came alive. From the vibrant and colourful Sarees of the air hostesses or the Indian-inspired menu to the movies and music selections onboard the airplane.
Next is Design
The creative team at Air India designed some of the most memorable interiors ever created.
Third is Hospitality
The welcoming smile of an Air India hostesses as she greeted you at the entry door with folded hands. I remember these small moments vividly.
Because each and every one of these elements stimulated all my senses.Anthony Toth; Air India Experience
To Re-create The Air India Experience
Anthony Toth has spent most of his 2020 re-creating the golden Air India experience in his B747 mock up.
“While I have some experience in recreating vintage aviation for our famous Pan Am experience, I found the Air India project really challenging…because I was also recreating those special flying moments ….and this required a level a detail that I was simply was not used too.” Anthony said.
The experience focuses on every detail, the wallpaper décor, the seat fabrics, anything with the Air India logo has had to be reproduced. Every single item from boarding passes, menu cards, coasters, nut packaging, dining and glassware were custom made to resemble the former Air India service.
The Air India Experience
After few months of work, the entire B747 was transformed to the former glory of Air India B747. Different wallpaper adorned different zones of the B747. The upper deck resembles the lounge of 1970s Air India 747.
“On the trial night last October, we had only 12 guests in the cabin and 5 hostesses…and I was excited about the high crew to passenger ratio, we quickly began to understand the complexity of the service delivery.”
“For example….warm the samosa appetizer, but maintain the mango chutney cold. Or maintaining the right temperature for all our Indian bread selections (naan and roti)….But even with our entrées, keeping our Chicken Tikka warm, hot and fresh at row 1AB as well as row 4JK. We definitely had some re-heat moments in the cabin…but this is why we do the trial. So that we can get it just right.”
It takes this type of practice and service delivery to really appreciate all that goes into serving passengers on a 747. Anthony plans to continue to trial runs through 2021, with hopes to operate a fully functioning Air India experience when the pandemic is over; when his customers can safely immerse themselves and enjoy every detail in a re-created palace in the sky.
If you're interested in experiencing the Pan Am or Air India Experience, please leave a comment below.