Bengaluru, Aug 25 (IANS) An elderly couple from Kerala flew to Bengaluru and back in a helicopter after attending their grandson’s wedding. They bypassed all the hiccups generally faced during road, train or airline travel, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It was like flying from my backyard to Bengaluru and back again. I don’t think this will happen even if I take a flight from an airport in Kochi or Coimbatore,” Lakshminarayan, the grandad told IANS.
The 90-year-old former IRTS officer and his 85-year-old wife took the helicopter from Palakkad in Kerala to Bengaluru, which is 394 km by road. They flew to Bengaluru on Saturday and returned in the same chartered helicopter on Monday.
The nonagenarian’s grandson, who got married at the ISCKON temple, arranged the helicopter flight, enabling the old couple to escape the threat of Coronavirus infection as they bypassed the usual travel modes, including a commercial airline flight.
Lakshminarayanan said it takes some three to four hours just to reach the airport in Kochi and two hours to Coimbatore airport.
“Reporting to an airport two hours before, especially in this Covid situation, going through all these procedures and still we stand a chance to get some infection. I have been literally picked up from my backyard,” he said, highlighting the ease of his helicopter journey.
As a helicopter flies lower than a commercial flight, the former railway officer said it felt just like gliding through the clouds without the cabin pressure or the typical ear issues usually associated with commercial flights.
“While flying to Bengaluru, we flew very low. I think that was 6,000 feet above ground. While returning it was same. It was like gliding through the clouds. In just 1 hour 10 minutes we were in Bengaluru,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lakshminarayan said the helicopter services shouldn’t have been banned during the lockdown.
“I must tell you something, helicopters are a mode of transport for any situation. This is the mode of transport when all other modes fail. It can penetrate even into a thick forest if there is a place to land,” said the former IRTS officer.
According to him, helicopter travel would have been of great help to people like him during the lockdown as many people lost their parents and near and dear ones who could have been easily visited in a chopper.
“Just between two cities, they could not attend funerals. But if this was not stopped, people could have used it for exigencies like that,” he pointed out. Since helicopters are flying with 4-5 passengers, they are either flying family members who are living under the same roof or they are flying a corporate group who are working together in the same office. There is no problem of social distancing in helicopter because they are already living together or working together, he reasoned.
The elderly couple paid Rs 90,000 per hour for their chartered helicopter flight.