Many people are unable to travel right now, but that didn’t stop one woman from celebrating a birthday in style. With restrictions still in place, Dana Jondahl decided to recreate the entire flying experience from start to finish (including check-in, security screening, boarding and disembarking) in a hilarious a creative video.

Just turned 34, like many people, Dana’s life has been changed since lockdown was implemented. With a job that centres around travel and planning, being stuck at home with little to do was a big shift. She had even been in the process of visiting all 50 states (she is already at 46) by the time she turns 50, and has travelled to 29 countries around the world.

“As my birthday drew closer, I began to struggle with how to celebrate and make it memorable. That's when I started thinking of themes. As I was googling ideas on the internet, I stumbled across some inflatable airplanes. I justified to myself that for the price of a cheap plane ticket, I was getting a whole plane. How could I say no? I immediately ordered it and everything pretty much just escalated from there,” Dana told Lonely Planet.

The impressive video follows a would-be passenger’s journey through the airport, onto a plane and through arrivals. With stunning detail, Dana created check-in desks, TSA check-points (complete with uniforms and baggage scanners) and boarding gates. The large inflatable plane that she sourced then makes an appearance, as Dana sits through safety briefs and is even brought in-flight snacks by an alter-ego flight attendant. 

“I started making a list of the shots I wanted in the video and broke down what was going to be needed. I made almost every prop and uniform from things around the house. I painted and decorated an old box for an x-ray machine. After that, all it took was tying a string to my luggage and pulling so that it appeared to be on a conveyor belt running through the box. I used a bunch of wood pieces and wrapped them in paper to make a metal detector. The uniforms started from base pieces in my wardrobe. I googled images for hours finding exactly what I needed for accessories, printing them out and reinforcing them with cardboard. Apparently, they were so convincing that many people later commented on my video saying I must work TSA because I had a uniform!”

After sharing the video online, Dana got lots of positive comments from people who said they related so much to missing travel, and that the video lifted their spirits. Airline employees even got in touch to congratulation her on the details.

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