They say “life is just a culmination of moments which restore our faith in our species”. One such instance occurred when daughter Ashrrita Chinchankar piloted the farewell flight of her mother, Pooja Chinchankar, who served as an air hostess for 38 years.
“It was a special day, so I had put in a request to be in the same flight,” says Ashrrita to Livemint. “Both of us have worked hard for this day. Even though I got my license in 2008, I only started flying in 2016 because the market was very bad and there were no openings.”
Ashrrita started her career as a pilot in 2016 and on a special request being granted by Air India, got the opportunity to co-pilot her mother’s farewell flight. She told News 18, “It was my mother who had always wanted me to be a pilot. I was a mass media student before she suggested I pursue this”.
In an interview given to Livemint, Pooja Chinchankar talked about her final journey and also her overall experience. She said, “[On the flight] I was pampered. None of the cabin crew members allowed me to work. During our time it was considered ‘abnormal’ for a woman to become a pilot. In fact, Soudamini Deshmukh became the first female commander in [Indian] aviation only in 1988. A lot has changed since then—there are equal opportunities for women in this field now.” Pooja Chinchankar joined Air India in 1980 and has been flying with them since then.
She also talked about her daughter, and The Hindustan Times quoted her as saying, “Ashrrita was a mass media student when I casually happened to ask her if she was interested in flying. To our surprise, she was prepared to go for the course in two days. I wished to see her as a pilot, looking at how such few women take to the profession. After getting her a commercial pilot licence from Canada, Ashrrita got offers from private airlines, but she chose Air India.”
She also revealed that the surprise farewell plan got known to her only on that fateful day when she met her daughter at the airport.
Ashrrita shared her excitement on Twitter and posted tweets before and after the flight.
She also shared an emotional video where her mother is seen walking down the aisle of the aircraft amidst applause by the passengers and crew.
Twitterati also commended the amazing gesture. Among the prominent ones was Former Aviation Minister Praful Patel who tweeted,
Air India also congratulated and wished success on her future. They tweeted:
Some of the other tweets by people were:
Reportedly, Air India last year got noticed for two noteworthy achievements. Firstly, Anny Divya became the world’s youngest female commander of a Boeing 777 aeroplane. She was 30 years old and hailed from Vijayawada.
Secondly, Air India also flew an all-female crew operated flight from San Francisco to New Delhi on International Women’s Day, after-which it even applied for a Guinness World Record.
Also Read: Avani Chaturvedi: First Indian Woman Pilot To Fly Fighter Jet Solo