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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

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. MORE

WINDS OF CHANGE
07 SEP 2017: As I write this, my old boss Richard Branson is battening down the hatches at his home in the British Virgin Islands in preparation for the imminent arrival of an extremely unwelcome guest by the name of Irma. Here’s wishing him and the staff on Necker and Moskito islands a safe passage through what is shaping up to be a pretty grueling experience. MORE

MAMA SAID
There will be flights like this
31 AUG 2017: It’s starting to look like United Airlines believes in the biggest PR myth of all time, namely that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. It’s as if someone in head office said, “We haven’t generated an absurd story in the press for a couple of weeks - better do something about it.” MORE

ULCCERS Keeping the L in LCC
24 AUG 2017: For years British Airways claimed it was, “The World’s Favorite Airline.” Needless to say, at the upstart Virgin Atlantic we always had fun taking them to task on how exactly they defined the word “favorite”? MORE

THE CURIOUS TALE OF THE FLYING TOMATO
Do you ever find yourself almost compulsively ordering a tomato juice in flight when you seldom if ever drink it on the ground? If you do, rest assured you are not alone.   MORE

THIS IS YOUR AUTOPILOT SPEAKING
10 AUG 2017: Maybe I’ve told it before but just in case you missed it, my favorite pilot story is that the next downsizing in manned flight will see airlines go from the current two-man crewing of a captain and a first officer to a captain and a dog. The captain’s exclusive role will be to feed the dog and the dog’s job will be to bite the pilot if he tries to touch any of the controls. MORE

IF IT AINT BROKE
Put away the crazy glue
A BEST OF TAIT: 24 JUN 2010: It was kind of odd to hear Gregg Saretsky CEO of Canada’s second largest carrier telling a New York industry gathering how they are being outfoxed (or is that “out-raccooned”?) by Canada’s biggest little airline. Westjet’s new CEO’s ‘fessing up to Porter having a higher level of brand awareness in the Toronto market was far more shocking than the fact he was revealing.   MORE

COUNTRY CARNAGE
27 JUL 2017: When Ella Fitzgerald sang, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy” she obviously hadn’t been privy to my summers. It’s that time of year when, in the name of vacationing/ camping/ relaxing I seem to be in the car every other day doing all kinds of long road-trips.    MORE

JETBLAST TOURISM
Enough already
20 JUL 2017: Last week when writing about the lunacy of running in front of a herd of angry bulls, I really thought that, as stupid tourist acts go, it simply couldn’t get any dumber. Then almost immediately, Gayleen McKewan a 57-year-old New Zealander vacationing on the tiny island of St. Maarten, tragically proved me wrong. MORE

A LOAD OF BULLONEY
13 JUL 2017: While I took some considerable – if not unexpected - flack from readers a couple of weeks ago for ‘fessing up to being an ‘aficionado’ of bullfighting, I feel obliged to add that the ‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona, Spain, is an event I have never so much as pretended to understand or been tempted to endorse.   MORE

NEW HIGHS IN VEGAS
06 JUL 2017: Going into 1931, Las Vegas – population 5,000 - was a sleepy little ‘one-horse’ town on the arid floor of the Mojave Desert. Who’d a thunk what the next few decades might bring?   MORE

iPHONE. uTRAVEL.
29 JUN 2017: It has always been one of the wonders of nature how a barn full of bats can fly around at frenetic speed without ever crashing into each other. I used to be equally amazed at how New Yorkers – who move at a significantly faster pace than most city dwellers - could so effortlessly negotiate the city’s crowded sidewalks without ever bumping into each other. MORE

AIRING THEIR DIFFERENCES
15 JUN 2017: It’s almost 40 years since British Airways first introduced ‘Club Class’, but for some reason, another airline club seems to have been getting a lot of media attention just recently - I am talking about the misnamed, ‘Mile High Club.’   MORE

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
08 JUN 2017: Reports that, with 128 on board, a major US airline this week successfully operated a 90-minute flight without as much as a single newsworthy incident taking place on board, have been met with skepticism by the media and general public alike. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson stated that details as to the airline involved and the flight’s routing were being withheld for security reasons. Meanwhile, Nigel Neverright, founder of the activist ‘Passenger Bill of Wrongs’ movement, stated that, “While it’s encouraging to read such an unverified report, we don’t want to precipitate unrealistic consumer expectations that this kind of thing may become a common occurrence.”   MORE

ASSAULT ON BATTERY
01 JUN 2017: All the chatter of late about widening the banishment of “anything larger than a smartphone” from aircraft cabins, reminded me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago with a former El Al airport security executive. By virtue of living under the constant threat of attack, the Israeli flag carrier probably knows more about effective aviation security than the rest of the industry put together.   MORE

TORO, TORO, TORO
25 MAY 2017: Next to Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Death in the Afternoon’, one of the best books ever written on bullfighting is the children’s classic, ‘The Story of Ferdinand’. First published in 1936 and still in print today - as you may recall from reading it to your kids – it’s the delightful tale of a should-have-been fighting bull that preferred sitting under a cork tree and smelling the flowers over locking horns with his peers.   MORE

THE JOY OF TRAVEL
Take a deep breath and try not to think about it
As a kid I always hated going to the dentist and had a similar loathing for getting my Beatle mop shorn at the barbershop. But, both those experiences were relatively short - the drilling and filling took a half hour of pain and the hair always grew back.   MORE

SEAT BACK TO THE FUTURE
11 MAY 2017: Remember the 2009 ‘United Breaks Guitars’ story? The good old days - when airlines only attacked our checked baggage? The owner of the broken guitar, Canadian country singer Dave Carroll posted his song and choreographed reenactment of the incident on YouTube and, to date, it has had 17.5 million views. (Video)   MORE

WESTJET, LESSJET, MOREJET
04 MAY 2017: Consider for a moment the 2016 performances of (arguably) the world’s two most successful low cost carriers: Southwest Airlines was founded in 1967, now flies to 101 destinations, employs 53,000 people (most of whom are unionized) and last year had its 44th consecutive year of profitability with a net income of US $2.24 ($3.07) billion on revenues of $20.4 ($27.9) billion, an average sector fare of $144 ($197) and an average load factor of 84 percent.   MORE

LISTEN UP
Before AI does it for you
27 APR 2017: Did you hear the one about the man driving down a country road? Coming the opposite way is a woman and, as their cars pass, she leans out of her window and screams “PIG!!” Distressed by this unprovoked attack, the man turns around and yells after her, “BITCH!” He then carries on around the bend and smashes into a huge pig standing in the middle of the road. MORE

THE FRIENDLY SKY IS FALLING
20 APR 2017: Henny Penny, the terrified little chicken - aka Chicken Little - was forever screaming that, “the sky is falling.” United Airlines embattled staff must have felt the same way over the last week as everyone from politicians to late night talk show hosts, stand-up comedians, passengers and the media were all over the unfortunate turn of events in Chicago. If you saw the ugly onboard dragging scene once, you probably saw it a hundred times.   MORE

UNITED BECOMES UNTIED
13 APR 2017: Wow! After this week’s shenanigans in Chicago, in the category of making a mountainous PR disaster out of an everyday molehill, United certainly takes the gold medal. Actually make that platinum, which is more expensive! MORE

TRAVELGATE II
Trumps other failed travel ban
06 APR 2017: Making a decent living as an independent 'mom and pop' travel agency has always been challenging: Even without having to defend yourself against deep-pocketed corporate bullies that claim you're stealing their brand name. MORE

AIRBORNE PARANOIA
Breeding airborne lunacy
30 MAR 2017:  No matter how irritating CATSA and TSA lines and procedures can be, most thinking people will agree that airport security checks and staying alert as to “things suspicious” are important components of safe travel. MORE

TAIT IS TRAVELLING
23 MAR 2017: Back next week. MORE
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