5 unusual airlines that really existed

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(CNN) – In the late 1970s, the US government deregulated the airline industry, removing federal controls on fares, routes, and the entry of new airlines into the market.

As a result, the 1980s saw an influx of new airlines, and some of them were particularly unusual. Let’s take a look.

Pat Airways

Dog Flight: Pete Airways' Alice Tognoti prepares a canine passenger for her voyage.

Dog Flight: Pete Airways’ Alice Tognoti prepares a canine passenger for her voyage.

Dave Weaver / AP

Founded in 2009 in Daller Beach, Florida, Pet Airways was an airline dedicated exclusively to cats and dogs – or pets like passengers, as they call them.

They flew without their owners, into the main cabin of a specially adapted aircraft, in which the seats were replaced with carriers.

Each aircraft can carry about 50 pets, with “Pet Attendants” inspecting them every 15 minutes. Before taking off, the animals were given a pre-flight walk and a bathroom break in a specially designed airport lounge.

The idea was that the respective pet owners would go to the lengths of flying their pets through a dedicated airline instead of placing their pets in cargo hold on their own flight, a practice Pet Airways website described As “dangerous” citing extreme variations in temperature and lack of proper lighting.

The airline operated for nearly two years, serving dozens of U.S. cities, including New York, LA, Denver, Chicago and Atlanta. Rents start at $ 150 and can go up to $ 1,200 depending on the size of the animal.

In 2012, the airline Trapped in financial trouble And after about 9,000 pets were taken away, flights began to be canceled the next year before the operation ceased altogether.

However, its website is still active, and a message stating “Flights to Commons, Postcovid, Hopeful Mid-2022,” suggests there may be another life on the horizon for the pet airline.

Hooters Air

Seduce: "Hooter girl" Hillary Vinson, next, attends the 2003 flight.

Spin Off: “Hooters Girl” Hillary Vinson, next, passengers on a 2003 flight.

Eric S. Laser / Getty Images

In 2002, Robert Brooks, chairman of the restaurant chain Hooters, acquired Paes Airlines, a charter carrier with a fleet of eight aircraft, mostly Boeing 737s. The following year he turned it into Hutters Air, an airline designed after the restaurant chain.

Aside from the bright orange levee design featuring googly-eyed owls, its uniqueness was that two so-called “hooters girls” were on board, mingling with passengers and hosting Trivia Games with gadget prizes – wearing the same tank-top. And-orange-shorts are popular with “uniform” restaurants.

The operation was carried out by three FAA certified flight attendants, although they did not serve meals or handle board duties.

The airline was based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a vacation hotspot known for its golf courses and coastal resorts, which lost direct airline traffic in the general restructuring of commercial aviation after 9/11.

Due to its budget value and direct connections to cities such as Atlanta, Newark and Baltimore, Hooters Air attracts all types of passengers – mostly golfers and tourists, but also families.

However, it was never successful enough to make money, and in early 2006, Hurricane Katrina and Rita shut down operations due to rising fuel prices.

Lord’s Airline

One Wing and Prayer: Lord's Airlines Flight at Miami International Airport in August 1988.

One Wing and Prayer: Lord’s Airlines Flight at Miami International Airport in August 1988.

Guido Elieri

Strictly no alcohol on board, Bible and Torah instead of in-flight magazines, only religious movies on the show, and a quarter of rent Finance missionary work: These were the hallmarks of The Lord’s Airlines, founded by New Jersey businessman Erie Marshall in 1985, when it purchased the old DC-8, the airline’s only aircraft.

The plan was to have three weekly flights from Miami to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, offering a direct route to Jerusalem about 30 miles away.

At the time, religious pilgrims seeking to reach the Holy Land had to catch a connecting flight to New York. “The Russians have their own airline. The British have one. They have Playboy too. So why shouldn’t God have all their own airlines?” Marshall said in 1986, According to the Associated Press.

By 1987, however, the airline had failed to qualify for an FAA license due to incomplete modifications to the aircraft and maintenance work. Investors panicked and removed Marshall and set up a new board of directors to take things along.

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The new president, Theodore Lizzaz, did not meet with Marshall and the two began quarreling in the press.

Eventually, Lizzaz and his brother demanded corporate records at Marshall’s home, which, according to newspaper reports, led to a scuffle and Marshall sued them. They were acquitted, but Lord’s Airlines and the plane eventually died Was scrapped.

Smokers Express and Smintair

Smoke and mirrors: A model of the 'Smitter' plane.  The actual version never materialized.

Smoke and mirrors: A model of the ‘Smitter’ plane. The actual version never materialized.

Carlheinz Schindler / picture-alliance / dpa / AP

The FAA banned smoking on all domestic flights in the US in 1990, but William Walts and George Richardson, two entrepreneurs from Braver County, Florida, were unhappy. In early 1993, they decided to break the rules by setting up an airline based on a private club. It required a $ 25 membership fee and was only open to people over the age of 21.

The airline aimed to launch at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida, and the plan was to offer steaks and burgers on board with a free cigarette side.

About a year after its announcement, however, the airline still did not have a license or a plane, and yet the founders Report Claiming to have more than 5,000 memberships, regulators denied Smokers Express a license to operate, causing it to disappear into a puff of smoke without ever taking off.
The idea was coined in 2006 by the German entrepreneur Alexander Shopman, who Declared intent To start Smokers International Airways, or Smintair shortly.

Shopmen who smoked 30 cigarettes a day wanted to start a daily service between Tokyo and Dસેsseldorf, his hometown, home to a large number of Japanese expats and European offices of hundreds of Japanese companies.

At that time there were still significant numbers of smokers in both countries. However, SmitAir suffered the same fate as the Smokers Express: it failed to raise the capital needed to start operations and never got into the air.

MGM Grand Air

Inaugurated in 1987, the MGM Grand Air was the only first-class superlux airline that initially covered the same route – LAX to JFK – using Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-8 aircraft in grand configurations: the rule was that there were no flights. . More than 33 passengers, however, can carry 100 or more aircraft in a standard setup.

The airline promised no queues, no check-in and no waiting for luggage – the porters bagged the plane and returned it to its destination – and also offered an optional door-to-door limousine service. Was. Luxury facilities and concierge services were provided in special lounges at both the airports.

On board, there were five flight attendants and a stand-up bar, as well as private compartments for meetings. A full meal service with fine wine and champagne was always available, and the toilet had golden taps and monogrammed soap. All of these other airlines were just offering more than the price as a first class ticket.

Initially popular with celebrities and the very wealthy, MGM Grand Air eventually opened up more routes, but struggled to fill all of the 33 seats on its plane.

Operations slowed down in the 1990s, as private jets became more widespread, and the airline was sold and renamed Champion Air in 1995, offering chartered flights to sports teams and government agencies. It finally closed completely in 2008.

Top image: Hooters plane arrives at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on April 3, 2003. Credit: Matthew Peyton / Getty Images

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