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Socialite evening at sarkari airline

On Thursday, India's A-list socialites descended on the Air India building. Why? Nandini R Iyer finds out.
None | By Nandini R Iyer, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2006 03:49 AM IST

On Thursday, India's A-list socialites descended on the landmark Air India building at Nariman Point. Their mission? To rummage through Hermes and Rochas products and point out the differences between them.

Parmeshwar Godrej, Maureen Wadia, Avantika Birla, Marshneil and Sunil Gavaskar, among others, were the guests of Air India Chairman V Thulasidas to help the carrier choose luxury products for its giveaway toilet bag to first and business class travellers.

The goodie bag comes with such  handy basics as mouthwash, moisturiser and perfume to keep passengers bright and perky on long-haul flights. "If passengers retain the  A-I kit, it's unspoken publicity for us," a senior official commented.

And who better than front-end passengers themselves to decide what makes the grade?

Thulasidas came up with the idea of roping in the celebrities to rummage through 116 amenity kits after he requested India Inc's top names like Ratan Tata and Deepak Parekh to test various passenger seat options.

"It is good to see that a revamp is underway," said Maureen Wadia who, incidentally, was an airhostess with A-I before marriage.

However, she felt, "Why use foreign products when Indian products, particularly herbal cosmetics, are such a rage abroad?"

But A-I wants kits that can match up with the best internationally. Bidders have included such brands as Hermes, Rochas, Lancome, Ferre, Aigner and Delsey.

Air India is clear that, unlike some competitors, it does not subscribe to a minimalistic kits. “Our passengers will not need to ask for extras," says Thulasidas.

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