By Cailey Rizzo
August 02, 2018
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Pooja Chinchankar, a flight attendant for Air India, had one wish for her last day of work before retirement: She wanted her daughter to pilot the flight. Flying is a family profession, one that was encouraged by Pooja.

“I wished to see her as a pilot, looking at how such few women take to the profession,” Pooja told the Hindustan Times. “After getting her as commercial pilot licence from Canada, Ashrrita got offers from private airlines but she chose Air India.”

On Tuesday, Ashrrita Chinchankar was the first officer aboard her mother’s last flight for Air India.

“So happy and honoured to be able to pilot the one flight that mattered,” Ahrrita wrote on Twitter. “As she retires after her glorious 38 years of service, I will be carrying on with her legacy.”

The event was a surprise for Pooja, who did not know her daughter would be operating her final flight until they both showed up at the Mumbai Airport.

About 10 minutes before the plane landed, the pilot got on the intercom and announced that it was Pooja’s last day working for the company. She walked down the aisle while passengers applauded her service.

Pooja has been working for Air India since 1980; Ashrrita joined the carrier in 2016.

Retirement won’t keep Pooja from flying. “She plans to travel for a couple of months, after which she will decide what she wants to do,” Ashrrita told the BBC. “The best part about traveling without a fixed itinerary is not having a plan.”

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