Hopes of a bird's eye-view of Ganesh visarjan is driving elders and families to book helicopter rides during the on-going festival.
The airline operators are using marketing portals and social media to reach out to prospective clients in order to gain maximum bookings for such rides.
"Most of the bookings are from families and elderly passengers who want to seek Ganesh darshan in comfort and a helicopter ride promises so," says Saptarshi Chhaterjee, a manager with MAB aviation, a Juhu-based private charter company. MAB aviation has tied up with online marketing portal Groupon for seat bookings. "The bookings are on for September 6, 7 and 8 which translates to the 9th, 10th and 11th day of Ganpati festival," he added.
With the aircraft set to be positioned just over 1,000 meters above ground level, the ride will cost between Rs 6000 to Rs 7,500, depending on the operator and the duration. The planned stretches of flight include Girgaum chowpatty and/or to the beaches in the north of the city like Gorai.
Charter (accretion aviation), another Mumbai-based helicopter company which is organizing Ganesh visarjan tours said that the demand has been great this year. "We are sold out for September 7th which is a Sunday," said Rahul Muchhal, owner of the company. The rides are being operated on a three-seater and a four-seater helicopter sourced on lease.
However, the rides have been timed during the afternoon because of which the devotees will not be able to see the large, popular idols which are out only during the late evenings. Also, the rides can get cut short or can even be cancelled, depending upon the weather, at the last moment.
Subash Raut, an accountant from Andheri who booked four tickets for his family, is all upbeat about the upcoming ride. "I am eagerly waiting for the darshan of Ganpati bappa with my family from the helicopter."