Wednesday, September 19, 2007

But I Don't Want to Fly With Edna!

There are some fights I'm simply not going to get into lightly, and one of them is the it's-on-dude brawl between the commercial airline industry and the business-aviation industry.

But I do need to say something about Edna, the fictitious star of a new ad campaign by the Air Transport Association (ATA), the trade group for commercial airlines. That's Edna above, with the affable Jim May, the president of the trade group. Here's the annoying ad.

Edna supposedly represents those of us who do not fly business jets (I very infrequently get to ride on a demo flight. But the last business jet I flew on crashed over the Amazon a year ago, though through no fault of the pilots).

Anyway, The ATA is clearly quite pleased with this giggly nitwit Edna, whose message is "Tell Congress to stop making Edna ... subsidize corporate jets!" and "Edna likes wearing big wigs, not subsidizing them!"

Edna, to my mind, evokes the notion that Americans keep getting dumber.

It amazes me that domestic airlines -- whose major customers are business travelers -- would use this kind of intelligence-insulting advertising to address a serious aviation issue that most business travelers have genuine interest in.

I hate to say it, but to my mind, Edna represents exactly what the airlines think of us. They think we're giddy and stupid, like Edna, who says things like "Fiddlesticks!"

Hey Edna: fiddle this, as they would say on my old block.

As a business traveler, I don't want to be flying with Edna. Edna (and no offense to the actress who plays her) is who the airlines think we are. I'm pretty sure you could sell Edna on a Nigerian lottery deal, or at least a sub-prime mortgage. You could certainly sell her on a virtually worthless paper voucher for a canceled flight.

Here, by the way, is what it's like to be on a stranded flight (and there have been literally thousands of them this year).

No wonder those who can are taking the business-jet express. Jayzus, I crashed in the Amazon, but at least I didn't have to put up with Edna in the jungle.

Here's the ATA position on the matter of aviation funding, currently under review in Congress.

And here is the position of the National Business Aviation Association, in Congressional testimony by Ed Bolen, the president of the National Business Aviation Association, which will have its annual convention next week in Atlanta.

Edna ain't coming.


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