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David Tait

The quintessential "airline guy," as executive VP of Virgin Atlantic Airways, David set up, and then ran, the company's hugely successful US operation for almost 20  years. He also has had stints at Wardair, Laker Airways, Air Florida (pre-Virgin) and Air Canada (post). 

Named executive chairman of Canadian low cost carrier, Flair, in May 2018, David's writing talents are no longer available to us on a weekly basis, though he has promised he will entertain and enlighten us when time permits and the muse strikes.

David's column is Tait on Travel.

Check his bio.

RECENT ARTICLES


INHOSPITABLE BRANDING

20 SEP 2018: Remember those simpler times when you could say, “I’m staying at the Marriott” and people would know that you were, well, staying at the Marriott? If you were staying at the Hilton you were staying at the Hilton. But that was then…


THE BAGANALIA II
Just get it to the gate

06 SEP 2018: Remember me? I’m the guy that used to write columns here every week before I took off for a return to commercial aviation – an industry I thought I had managed to shake. It seems however that all that time on the therapist’s couch went for naught!


SELF-DRIVING CARS
Fuggedaboutit!

26 APR 2018: In my humble opinion, all this chatter about the amazing benefits autonomous vehicles will manifest on humanity, road safety and the planet in general is just so much hokus-pocus. If the whole world, or at the very least whole countries, could overnight switch to 100 percent driverless cars, then maybe it could work.  Absent that however, and any long-term co-mingling of fallible humans and robotic drivers will be an unmitigated disaster! Take for instance what happened to me just the other day -



THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES

22 MAR 208: Of course it had to happen on United Airlines! The whole subject of pets on planes has been reignited by the sad tale of Kokito, the 10-month old French bulldog that came to a tragic end last week. The poor pup died en route from Houston to New York after – for reasons yet to be determined - a flight attendant demanded that the dog (in its approved carrier) be stowed in an overhead bin. Although this may have been a first, four US State Senators have already introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit storing live animals in overhead compartments – if passed it will be known as ‘Kokito’s Law.”

 


THE WAY WE WERE

15 MAR 2018: The other week, while glacially shuffling my way forward in an airport security line, I found myself watching what the shufflers ahead of me were presenting to the TSA officer. Obviously, it had to include an acceptable form of government ID - a driver’s license or passport - but it was what went with it that caught my attention.

 


THE GLASS CEILING
In the glass cockpit

08 MAR 2017: When next you hear that first, "This is your captain speaking, " PA coming from the flight deck and it's a woman doing the speaking, take a quick glance around your fellow passengers and note their reactions.


WHY WHY Z

01 MAR 2018: There's a hilarious YouTube piece by comedian Gary Gulman that's built on what may be the most unlikely idea for a comedy routine since 'Who's on first?" It's a fictitious version of the conversations that might have taken place among the group hired by the US Postal Service to abbreviate all 50 US states into two-letter codes.

 


IF GETTING OFF AN AIRPLANE IS THE BEST PART

22 FEB 2018: Getting on is certainly the worst. Much as we all love to bicker about eroding standards of inflight service, the worst part of flying is surely what passengers have to endure to get into their seats.

 


DESTINATION FLEECE
Resort fees go urban

15 FEB 2018: The late George Carlin once asked, “How can you possibly talk about a ‘free gift?’ – if it’s not free, it’s not a gift.” Such a notion had clearly never occurred to Hilton Hotels or their res agent with whom I spoke this week. It started with a simple question: “I see on your website that you have a double room available tomorrow night for $164 at the Hilton Midtown, Manhattan. Can you please tell me what the total will be after taxes, fees etc. as none of these show up online?”
 


HOW TIME SLALOMS BY
Eight years since the BC games

08 FEB 2018: And you thought it was only Super Bowls that, for no apparent reason, played with the Roman Numeral thing! Well, with the opening of the XXIII Winter Olympiad in PyeongChang, South Korea, we get our second dose of X’s, L’s and I’s in less than a week.


TUSKS HORNS AND HOOVES
On the no-fly list

01 FEB 2018: Frequent fliers will likely tell you that their favourite travel companion is an empty seat. In recent years however that ‘Chatty Cathy’ in the next seat might look a whole lot better than the menagerie of so-called ‘emotional support animals’ that have slowly been infesting the airways.


PUB TALK
Mind what you say

25 JAN 2018: While international visitors to the UK, still put “the pubs” near the top of their “places to go” lists, it’s no secret that Britain’s boozer business is in serious decline.  In a fall of 2016 column titled ‘Closing Time’ I chronicled the dismal fact that the UK was down to its last 52,750 pubs - this from a peak of some 75,000 in the 1970’s. 


AIRLINE SPEAK
A language of its own

18 JAN 2018:Last week saw one of the more unusual airline incidents in a long time. As the operating carrier’s initial press statement explained,  “the Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Pegasus Airlines Flight PC 8622 Ankara-Trabzon scheduled at 18:25 UTC had a Runway Excursion Incident during landing at Trabzon Airport.” It then ended on a happier note saying, “All 162 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew disembarked safely from the aircraft with no loss of life or injury to anyone on-board.” Looking at the, “You gotta be kidding me” pictures, it was truly miraculous that nobody was hurt!


GOOD RIDDANCE 2017
A year that will live in infamy

04 JAN 2018: My youngest son was about eight when he shocked the family by saying goodbye to his grandmother with a cheery, "Good riddance!" Fortunately, my mother-in-law knew the lad had got it wrong and laughed hilariously as she gave him a big hug.

 


TIS THE SEASON
For airport nightmares

21 DEC 2017: "Deck the halls with electrical folly." Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson - one of the world's busiest airports with an average of almost 300,000 passengers per day and about 2,500 flights - kicked off the festive travel season with an 11-hour blackout that resulted in 'terminal' passenger misery and some 1,500 flight cancellations. "Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!"


PASSENGER RIGHTS
Government wrongs

14 DEC 2017: Airlines have a lot in common with the weather. In any social setting where people get together, if there's a lull in the conversation the inevitable default subject is either something like, "It looks like we're in for rain tonight" or, "Did I tell you about what airline X did to me last week?" The latter will typically be followed by a retort like, "Huh, that's nothing! Wait 'til you hear what airline Y did to me when …"


NO TRUMP
SoHo NoMo

30 NOV 2017: What’s in a name? Quite a lot it would seem, especially when that name is Trump. Many observers believe that Donald Trump’s run at the presidency was all a HUGE brand-building stunt. If so, it began to go terribly wrong, even before his against-all-odds election victory.

 


CASUAL FLYDAY
Uniformly dressing down

It came as no surprise to read that, following the example of Alaska and Southwest, American Airlines has made the wearing of hats optional for its pilots. A more accurate description might be that the airline, “no longer requires pilots to carry their hats while in uniform.”

 


PEOPLE ARE THE PRODUCT
Not seats and eats

16 NOV 2017: Why do most airlines do things the way they do? Well, simply stated, because that’s the way they’ve always done them! Take for instance last week’s big announcement by British Airways that it is planning to plow hundreds of millions of pounds over the coming years into improving the lot of their passengers and investors.

 


TIME FLIES
When you are in the right class

02 NOV 2017: Some savvy airline passenger once stated, “The thing I look forward to the most when getting onto an airplane is getting off the airplane.” A perceptive and certainly widely held observation but one that clearly never found its way to the good folks in United Airlines’ marketing department.

 


BUGGAIRED

26 OCT 2017: Anyone that read Pam Stellini’s Tuesday “Mission Eradication” piece on her daughter’s bedbugged mattress woes will certainly agree she deserves ‘Mom of the Century’ status for such incredible persistence in banishing the pesky critters.

 


PAPA GOTTA BRAND NEW BAG

19 OCT 2017: When one ponders the greatest ever influencers on the travel world, the name Bernard D. Sadow may not be among the first to spring to mind. He’s certainly not up there with the likes of, the Wright Brothers, William Boeing, or Thomas Cook. That’s a shame, as looking at the way people travel today, the late Mr. Sadow really deserves to be recognized as a a major contibutor.

 


BUMPER TO BUMPER
Bonnet to boot

05 OCT 2017: One of these days vehicular traffic in all the world’s major cities is simply going to grind to a halt and might well never move again. Many of us may have to climb out through the sunroofs before walking away and abandoning our cars forever. At least they may make better digs for homeless people!

 


THEY SWOOP TO CONQUER
Twice upon a time

28 SEP 2017: So WestJet announced that it is going to, “swoop into the market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.” I’m sorry but I could swear I’ve read this story before: Some time in the nineties perhaps. The plot certainly sounds awfully familiar.

 


UBER ACHIEVERS

21 SEP 2017: There’s a long-held belief in branding circles that you know you have truly arrived when your company’s brand name is adopted a verb or as a generic name. Over the years we’ve created verbs like “Fedex”, “Xerox” and “Hoover” while the likes of Kleenex, Cellophane, Aspirin, and Biro have become part of the language.

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