Boys and Girls Club kids board Boeing 777 to learn about aviation

Dozens of area kids got a behind-the-scenes tour Wednesday of what it takes to fly. The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington organized the special field trip.

It looked like a typical day at the airport, but the young travelers{ }ran through security for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Forty kids had a free ticket aboard one of the world’s largest jets. The majority had never stepped foot in an airport or on an aerotrain before.{ }

“I thought it would be just like a big bus, like a big train station,” says Quienten Bennett, a student at Our Lady Victory Catholic School.

Qatar Airways invited them for a taste of the miracle of flight.

“It’s not cool, it’s amazing,” says Jahvon Gilles, “because you get to fly across oceans and other countries.”

“I’ve never been on an airplane and I’m afraid of heights,” says Liatu King, a student at Turner Elementary.{ }

Eleven-year-old King overcame her fears.

“First I was really scared, but then I’m starting to get a hang of it and getting used to it,” she says.

She and her friends kicked back on the Boeing 777, playing games and learning more about aviation and new technology.

“I thought the airplane would really be an oversized car, but it was really, really cool.”

While they never took off for the skies, the fantasy flight certainly peaked their interest.

“I like conquering my fears so it made me want to do it more,’ says Meleika Palmer, a student of Friendship Collegiate Academy.

“At the end of the day, it helps them to inspire and aspire to be pilots, stewards, stewardesses, aviation engineers,” says Eric Liley, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.

And it didn’t take long before the kids and teens started declaring themselves future frequent fliers.

“It was very intriguing since I want to be a flight attendant,” says Yasmin Lazo, a sophomore at Washington Lee High School. “I’m into traveling a lot and I think that fits me more than any other job would.”

Qatar Airways hopes the field trip inspired a lifelong curiosity for science and technology. There are always new jobs to fill. Last year, Boeing forecasted a need for about 460,000 new pilots by 2031.