Markets in everything

Tyler Cowen points us to the market in fake plane trips for people who want to get a taste of the real thing, but can't afford an actual flight:

All they want is the chance to know what it is like to sit on a plane, listen to announcements and be waited on by stewardesses bustling up and down the aisle.

In a country where 99% of the population have never experienced air travel, the “virtual journeys” of Bahadur Chand Gupta, a retired Indian Airlines engineer, have proved a roaring success.

As on an ordinary aircraft, customers buckle themselves in and watch a safety demonstration. But when they look out of the windows, the landscape never changes. Even if “Captain” Gupta wanted to get off the ground, the plane would not go far: it only has one wing and a large part of the tail is missing.

But at least part of the journey is realistic:

The plane has no lighting and the lavatories are out of order. The air-conditioning is powered by a generator. Even so, about 40 passengers turn up each Saturday to queue for boarding cards.
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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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