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Couple transform plane into B&B

1 May 08 15:02 GMT

Hayley Rothwell
Lanarkshire reporter, BBC Scotland news website

It could be the perfect solution for the customer who wants all the comforts of a luxury airliner but is petrified of flying - because the Convair 440 Metropolitan will be staying firmly on the ground.

The 1950s aeroplane has been bought by South Lanarkshire couple Tricia and Andrew Scott who are planning to transform it into a luxury B&B.

Mr Scott, who runs the Reynard plant nursery in Carluke where the plane is now based, said the plan started as a gimmick for the business.

He said: "It wasn't my idea, it was the wife - and what a woman wants, a woman gets.

"We originally went to look at a fighter plane, but this larger plane was behind."

The aircraft, which was first flown in New York in 1959, cost £10,000 but Mr and Mrs Scott had to pay out £20,000 to transport it from Coventry to Carluke.

Mr and Mrs Scott, who already have a Red Arrow fighter plane, had intended to turn the Convair 440 into a restaurant or coffee shop, but once they saw inside the aircraft they began to think it had greater potential.

They have obtained planning permission from South Lanarkshire Council to turn the aircraft into a hotel, with the working title "Flight of Fantasy" and have commissioned Gary Doy of Design Q in London to transform the interior.

Mr Scott said the B&B should be open to its first customer in early 2008 and he is hoping to attract high-flying clientele.

"I hope John Travolta finds out about the plane," he said. "I'd be interested to hear what he thinks about it. Our houses are quite similar now, as we both have two planes outside our homes."

Airline theme

And at £400 per night perhaps only those with movie-star sized wallets will be able to check-in. Mr Scott believes it will be the most expensive B&B in the UK.

He said: "People will save up and treat someone special. It's a fantasy type of idea."

The airline theme will run through the guest's entire stay. They will be given a boarding pass on arrival, the option of wearing a flight attendant or pilot's uniform, and will be able to operate controls within the aircraft such as the seatbelt signs and the in-flight tannoy.

Mr Scott said: "There will be a manual inside the plane so anyone who is a keen aircraft enthusiast can go through all the checks.

"We envisage a bit of fun here."

The last time the Convair 440 Metropolitan was in flight it ran into difficulties when the port engine caught fire. The engine has now been removed from the aircraft, which has been securely chained to the ground.

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