Airfares headed higher during vacation season
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Fantasy camp for those who love to fly
News from Muncie Star Press:

ABOARD AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 9454 — Eric Mueller’s vacation started when his plane filled with smoke. Soon, people slid down an emergency chute, inflated life vests and climbed into a raft.

Mueller loved every minute of it.

Most days he runs a book review website. But on this day he was living out a fantasy at American Airlines’ flight attendant academy, practicing evacuation procedures most people hope to never use.

“I look at the safety card. It’s not supposed to be a comic book of things you want to try, but it all just looks cool,” said Mueller, 40, of Los Angeles.

There are people who grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle. They go to Yankees fantasy camp. Others dream of playing Carnegie Hall. They join the summer orchestra at the shore. Then there are aviation geeks like Mueller. People like him — and there are more than you think — charter a commercial airliner and hop across the country visiting the Meccas of the aviation world.

The most recent journey had 160 people paying up to $ 1,699 for a seat and access to spots normally off limits: Boeing’s sprawling 737 factory, American’s mission control-like operations center and the cockpit of the world’s largest passenger jet.

Tickets sold out in 17 minutes.

“This is sort of the ultimate airplane nerd event,” Mueller said.

Most people board a pla…………… continues on Muncie Star Press

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