For the middle-class Pagdala family from Sanpada, a helicopter ride is undeniably a luxury. But on February 14, Gopalrao, 55, and his wife Lakshmi, 50, will board a four-seater helicopter at the Juhu aerodrome and go for a 20-minute spin.
The ride will cost Rs 10,000, but their son Mithilesh, 28, an assistant producer with a city-based film production house, decided to book it for his parents because they have never been in an aircraft.
“It’s worth it, given the occasion,” he says.
A growing number of Mumbaiites would agree.
Bookings for helicopter joyrides on Valentine’s Day have increased almost five-fold since 2009, when they were first introduced in Mumbai.
In fact, to accommodate the rising numbers, some operators have begun booking ‘Valentine’s Day’ sorties on February 12 and 13 as well.
Vile Parle-based private charter company Airnetz Aviation has received bookings from 26 couples, up from five couples in 2009.
Leo Air Charters, also based in Vile Parle, has received 50 bookings and will conduct V-Day joyrides for three days this year.
Some couples even plan to propose amidst the clouds. Worli resident Preeti Gupta (name changed, 25) has bought a diamond ring and plans to pop the question to her boyfriend mid-air.
“I am excited and nervous,” said the finance professional. “Hopefully I will get engaged on board the helicopter.”