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Flights of fantasy

india Updated: Aug 19, 2006 15:41 IST
Highlight Story

Serving tea, toffees and pillows doesn’t exactly sound glamorous. But that’s a little price to pay for those who wish to be highfliers. As more and more starry-eyed girls aspire to be airhostesses, academies claiming to groom them have mushroomed all over.

And though these schools don’t guarantee placements (they claim to offer ‘100 per cent job assistance’), the lucre just got more tempting with film stars promoting them, either directly or indirectly.

While Soha Ali Khan has been at the job for sometime, Kareena Kapoor launched another school recently.

What is it that makes girls, generation after generation, dream to be airhostesses?

Dreams sky high: It’s all about getting glamour and money without pouring over books. Says Sweta Bhardwaj of AHA airhostess academy, “An airhostess begins early in profession and doesn’t have to study too hard. The package is upward of Rs 20,000 and can go up to Rs 60,000 for international airlines.”

Money lures, not just freshers but also those already settled in other jobs. Mansi Kaul (name changed), who left her job with a TV channel to become an airhostess with an international airline, says, “I got a better pay package and since there is not much intellectual effort involved, it is easy enough to pursue.”

Even aspiring models and actresses end up in the aviation industry with the hope of catching the eye of a filmmaker (or catching a groom in business class!).

Big money: However, fulfilling this dream isn’t easy on the pocket. An academy can charge anywhere between Rs 50,000 to a lakh depending on the course.

Considering that there are only a limited number of airlines and academies don’t guarantee placements, it’s a risky investment. But that isn’t much of a factor for those sure about their dreams. And that is what these schools encash.

Says Priyanka Khosla of Flying Cats, “Small town girls need exposure and need to polish their personality. As they can relate to a celebrity, we had Kareena for the launch of the school.”

Sweet ’n’ sour: There is a flip side to the story as well. Says Kaul, “With international airlines, you’ve to watch your weight or else you’re grounded without pay.”

Even erratic flying hours cause problems. Says Pooja (name changed), who works for a low cost airline, “Transport is a problem, especially if the flight lands at midnight. And sometimes you end up flying more than the allotted hours in a week.” That’s the price one pays...

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