17 MAY 2018: Here’s the shocker announcement: “Flair Airlines is delighted to announce that David M. Tait OBE has joined the Kelowna BC based low fare carrier in the capacity of Executive Chairman.” What? Our David Tait? Yes. It’s no joke folks – he’s crossed to the other side.

Did Flair read what he said about them right here in Travel Industry Today? Seems they did, and they want him anyway.  

Okay, so he does know airlines. I worked (and partied) with him at Wardair, way back when, and knew him through his Laker Days in Toronto and Miami (he was best man at Sir Freddie’s wedding). Then came the glory days at Virgin Atlantic when he moved to New York and as one of the airline’s very first employees helped the pre-and-post-Sir Richard Branson build Virgin Atlantic into the wild success it has become.

Those were fun times, and Helen Tilston and I made the trek to New York (at least) once a year for art, music, theatre, shopping and long laughter (and libation) filled evening reunions with David at the Plaza’s Oak Room – 18 years whizzed by. And you can’t say he wasn’t appreciated even at the highest levels – in May 2001, David was awarded an OBE (Officer of The Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for, “Services to British Aviation in North America.” So there!

Perhaps missing Canada, he is Canadian after all, David headed back – to Montreal this time - and to a stint at Air Canada as senior vice president, Customer Service.  Did customer service improve?  Almost certainly – so he told me modestly.

In the years following, he has provided his considerable expertise to various aviation related organizations, and has become a published author and a columnist.  His column “Tait on Travel” has been much enjoyed by readers in this publication for the past eight years.  Truth be told – it has also irritated and infuriated quite a few readers – the people at Flair probably included – though clearly smart, they’ve found a way to shut him up.  Time to strut your stuff Tait!

So, will TIT be waving goodbye to TOT?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, to the weekly column – he says he’ll be too busy. No, because he promises he will write the occasional column when he can – so we can look forward to that.

Meanwhile, congratulations and all good wishes David … and we’ll most certainly be watching (and writing about) Flair with renewed interest.  

The last word, as always, goes to David, “Canadians have been denied the services of an independent, truly low cost, low fare carrier for way too long. With Flair, I am thrilled to join another airline that, like Virgin, can shake up the status quo with innovative quality, friendly air service at consistently low fares and, most importantly, get more people flying.”

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