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Beachwood Air: We Fly Fast

I'm thinking about buying an airline.

I mean, I don't have any debt, so apparently I am in a better financial position than most of our flying companies.

Northwest and Delta are in bankruptcy, for example, and United is just getting out of bankruptcy.

I don't have a lot of money, but I'm not bankrupt.

So I guess I'm in a position to make an investment.

Tribune Air?
It could happen.
I'm not sure which of those three I would buy, but I know the first thing I would do would be to change the airline's name.

United, for example, is no good because it has the same name as the arena used by Chicago's hapless Bulls and Blackhawks. That doesn't inspire confidence. And it's just tacky.

I've never liked geographic airline names like Northwest because they send the wrong message to customers—that they are regional fliers serving limited territories. You mean I can fly Northwest to Florida? See, that's confusing.

I would choose a name like On-Time Air. Or Fast Flights Inc. Or Pleasure Rides.

The marketing campaigns write themselves. ("We're On-Time;" "We Fly Fast;" "Join Our Easy Connections Club . . . ")

My pricing system would be the reverse of how airlines currently operate. The longest flights would be the most expensive, not only to pay for the gas, but to pay for the meals and entertainment my customers deserve on such hauls. I would like to charge the same price for each seat, but I think as the departure date gets near I would make seats less expensive, not more. If I have an empty seat and you decide to fly on a whim some particular day, well, sure, you can have that seat—real cheap! Otherwise it's just going to go empty.

Some folks might try to game the system and wait until the last minute to buy a seat. A lot of folks, I'm guessing. So many, in fact, that almost all of them will get burned. And that will solve that problem.

After I buy my airlines, I will widen the seats. If I have to charge more for them, my customers will understand. They want wider seats.

And on longer flights, I will position some of the seats to face each other, so you can share a drink and conversation—maybe even a card game—with your friends. Flying shouldn't be boring and solitary.

I will return to the days when airlines provided magazines to its fliers. They will be my favorite magazines, mostly. Hey, it's my airlines.

Or maybe I'll provide laptops, iPods, DVDs . . .

There will be meals on some flights, but you will have to pay for them. On flights over traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours, you will be provided with a menu to order from. And then you will be served. I will instruct my flight attendants to reward particularly courteous fliers with free dessert.

Not that I plan to treat my customers like children, but everyone likes free dessert.

I will serve alcohol on my flights, but it will be expensive. Call it the drunken lout tax.

I won't exactly ban children on my airlines, but I will encourage parents traveling with kids to book their trips on my children's discount brand. This will be my version of Ted. I will call it Teddy. All-children or all-families planes will spare the rest of us. For a fee, parents will be allowed to abandon their children to the care of Teddy's professionally-trained staff and fly separately on the adult airlines.

My frequent flyer program will work a little differently than other programs. Frequent flyers on my airlines will earn perks such as a ride to the airport or a prime parking spot that doesn't require a shuttle ride.

Cell phones will be banned on my airplanes not out of safety concerns, but because annoying other passengers is just plain rude.

Inconsiderate passengers will be asked to fly on my competitors' airplanes in the future. I may even pay them to do so. I think that makes good business sense.

And after I buy my own airlines, I think I'll buy an airport and call it Undercrowded International. Or Mostly Clear and Empty Skies Field. And a hotel chain that I will name Convenient Days, Quiet Nights, and Sheets That Aren't Tucked In Inn. And a rental car company whose slogan will be We Don't Gouge For Gas—Or Insurance.

So who do I make the check out to?


Posted on February 27, 2006

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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