Originally when we found out about the Rickshaw Run we were immediately on board. It’s easy to say, on a whim, “Yeah lets do it”. But as I started looking more into it the obstacles were adding up, the biggest one being $$. With the cost of the flights, the rickshaw run signup fee, the *required* donations to non-profits, and all the travel expenses we were looking at somewhere around $13,000 for a 3 week trip. Although this would be a trip to remember, with that kind of money we could spend another year on our boat without working. So the trip was put on the back burner and we revisited the thought of it every now and again. I was pretty stuck on the idea of it though and so I decided to pour my full time and energy (well what I had left to spare after dealing with the kids and regular life) into seeing if we could make this happen.
What tipped the scale was the day I got an email back from Air India. After many emails back and forth, Air India offered to SPONSOR us 2 return tickets from JFK-Delhi. I was jumping up and down, for real. With these free flights, and the grandparents offering to come and watch our girls for the duration of the trip, everything seemed to be lining up and there was no way we could say no. We were now 100% in. We did the fundraising to help with the *required* donations for Cool Earth and Live Different and some of the costs of the trip, and the rest was on us. But with all this help the trip did not cost us quite as much as my original tally.
We had no idea what to expect of our flights with Air India, given that they were sponsored to us. All we knew was that we were given economy seating for JFK-Delhi, and then Guwahati-Delhi-JFK. We were told when and where to show up, and we rolled with it. The flights were great, they had everything that Eben and I needed to be happy on an international flight.
We had our own tv screens with a huge list of new release movies for us to catch up on. On our boat we have sort of lost track of what is new and hitting the movie theatres, so plane rides are a great time for us to watch everything that we have missed. So even though we should have been sleeping on the plane and trying to adjust to time changes, we were too busy enjoying our “movie theatre” experience.
Then there was the food. Free food. Enough food to feed a very hungry army. I have no idea what time zones we were in, but it felt like every few hours the flight attendants were coming by with more food. And not the cheap stuff. They were offering full on meals, everything for the foreigner and Indian tastebuds alike. I was all too excited about getting to India and eating all the delicious food that I jumped right into it on the plane and was ordering whatever Indian food I could get. By the end of the flights we were stuffed, overly stuffed. Which is a nice change from some other airlines where you are practically starved and leave the plane looking for the closest restaurant. To our very pleasant surprise the alcohol was free too. So yes, there were drinks with dinner, and again a few more for Eben and I while we enjoyed our above mentioned movie marathon.
Lastly, one other thing that I find can make flights a drag is being cold and uncomfortable. Well Air India had that covered too. There was an endless supply of airplane pillows and blankets. So many that we didn’t even use them all. We did, however, stack enough pillows under our bums and backs that our economy class seats now felt closer to first class! We were warm and cozy the entire way. Enough so that I didn’t have to sleep with my shoes on and hoodie tied tight around my head. So I guess I should also thank you for keeping me warm and not looking like a complete fool!
This was business class, I put the camera away after this because I don’t know if you are actually allowed to take pics inside a plane!
I want to thank Air India for sponsoring us our plane tickets so that we could be part of the Rickshaw Run. Without your help we most likely would not have done so. And thank you for tending to all of our in-flight needs. Eben and I had great international flights with your airline. We were proud to travel with your logo as part of our rickshaw design, it sparked some good conversations with the locals that were proud to see “their airline” on our rickshaw.
Lots of views of the back Air India logo as we spent a lot of time checking our engine.
The locals also got some good views of it while checking our engine.
Rain or shine, or muddy!
Thanks Air India, we had way too much fun
**I mentioned *required donations* in here, that is because the idea of the Rickshaw Run is to get people out of the ruts of the “everyday life” and also to raise money for a good cause. Every year they choose one charity which you are “asked” to donate 500GBP to and you choose a 2nd charity, we chose Live Different, to donate to as well.**