Air India – a palace in the sky

Our tail followed him to Heathrow where he caught a plane to Delhi…
-Bond to M-
In Octopussy 1983, Bond has to fly to Delhi in pursuit of Kamal Kahn. He arrives in Udaipur (in the state of Rajasthan) by helicopter after flying over the Taj Mahal. Since Udaipur is a rather small town (only 450 000 people) you can’t fly there non-stop from London. This is the reason why Bond is arriving in a helicopter. 
The name on the helicopter says “Air Charter”, thus Bond has flown to New Delhi and there changed to a local helicopter shuttle. It makes sense since the distance between New Delhi and Udaipur is approximately 650 km and Bond is not likely to spend 6-8 hours on a train in India. (It is possible however that he did take a train to Jaipur and there jumped on the helicopter to Udaipur.) The helicopter is an Aérospatiale SA 316 Alouette III 
But the most interesting and previously unknown fact about Bond’s choice of airline can be found in the scene at M’s office. Here we get a brief glimpse of Bond’s plane ticket. On the ticket jacket that Moore is showing to M you can clearly see the name “Air India”. One would have thought that Bond should fly British Airways when going to India but apparently Bond wanted to delve into the local treasures. 
                            “-Book yourself on the next flight out! 
                                    -Well, I have 55 minutes to catch that flight sir.” 
                                      -M to Bond-
In 1971 Air India took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200. This coincided with their introduction of the new plane livery and branding “a palace in the sky”. This livery featured the paintwork around each aircraft window, in the arch style of windows in Indian palaces, a design that also can be seen on Bond’s ticket. One could imagine that the palace in the sky-service was something that caught Bond’s attention in 1983. 
Since 2006 Air India has faced multiple problems, including escalating financial losses and poor customer service. The Indian government has bailed out the airline on numerous occasions and it is probably not an airline that Bond would choose today. Air India also has a record of 6.82 fatal events per million flights.*
A vintage Air India ticket jacket. Even though it is not the same as Bond’s you can clearly see the resemblance. The ticket feature the “palace in the sky” design 

*information from wikipedia*

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