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Thursday, January 29, 2009

That's Not the Spirit

Just when you think flight attendants might be getting a little respect, thanks to the miraculous US Airways incident, along comes Spirit Airlines with another one of its brilliant advertising concepts.

You see, the low-cost carrier, in its continuing quest to add revenue any which way it can, has a plan to bring ad revenue in through placing Bud Light logos on flight attendant uniforms.

Yes, the company that brought you "Double D" deals and “The Return of the MILF Sale” (classy, guys) is considering turning its flight attendants into walking billboards. The idea is to have flight attendants advertise alcohol on their aprons during the beverage service. Nice.

"Turning flight attendants into walking billboards is unacceptable," Deborah Crowley, president of Spirit's flight attendants union chapter, said in a statement. "The proposed aprons diminish the primary and federally mandated role of flight attendants as safety professionals." Patricia Friend, president of the U.S. Association of Flight Attendants, adds, "I feel as though I have entered a time warp and am reliving the battles for respect and justice for women that we fought for 40 years ago.” Referring to the DD (Double Discounts) and MILF (Many Islands, Low Fares) promotions, Friend says the not-so-subtle innuendoes are demeaning to all of America's professional flight attendants. Furthermore, she says, "They offend not just the female population of this country, but the male members of humanity who admire and respect women."

Believe you me, I’m not one to defend the spirit of said advertising methods, but maybe, more than being sexist, the airline is just an advertising whore. After all, Spirit leads the pack in putting ads everywhere on the plane, from overhead bins to tray tables to window panels. Still, I would feel a little better if the airline tamped down on tacky and chauvinistic tactics not seen since the days of National Airlines' "Fly Me" campaign in the early 1970s. Message for Spirit--National is no longer in business. Bone up on that.

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