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DETROIT, Mich. -- The first non-fat airline is poised to take wing. Beginning next month, ThinAir will operate 55 daily flights between 17 cities all within the state of Texas.
In what is viewed in the industry as an unconventional business model, the Detroit-based airline will restrict its customers to weight limits. Each passenger will be limited to a total weight of no more than 148 pounds, including the weight of the passenger, his clothes, his carry-on luggage, and his checked baggage. Scales are currently being installed at all 17 airport terminals to assure compliance.
A statement from the company describing the philosophy of restricting its market to such a slender portion of potential customers, read in part, "Our management knows well the relationship between weight and the cost of getting that weight into the air and keeping it airborne. They see it every day at our offices at Metro Airport. After all, according to Men's Fitness magazine, Detroit is the fattest city in the U.S."
At a news conference held yesterday at the company's headquarters, reporters asked if the current high price of jet fuel made for an unusually challenging time to enter the extremely competitive commercial airline business. Anna Rexia, vice president of product development, responded, "It is exactly the high price of fuel that will give us an edge. Our airplanes and the passengers who fly in them will be significantly lighter and therefore cheaper to operate than any of our competitors."
ThinAir has already taken delivery of six of Boeing's new narrow bodied 737-S (Slender) aircraft and may add three more by year's end if passenger loads meet expectations.
On why a Michigan-based airline would operate solely in Texas, Ms. Rexia said, The fattest city in the U.S. is McAllen, Texas, and Texas is close to southeastern states that account for the majority of the fattest states in the country. What better place to separate ourselves from the competition and be able to select-out customers who are sinking other airlines in fuel costs."
ThinAir flight attendants, who themselves are weight restricted to no more than 98 pounds, will be sporting snappy uniforms designed by R. Macy Aided, Ltd. They will be serving passengers their choices of Melba toast, celery, or Atkins lo-carb peanuts.
ThinAir investors are contemplating moving into other travel-related businesses such as hotels and car rentals. Following the lead of Traveller Hotel Group, construction has begun on the first Thin Inn outside Abilene. The unique structure features stall showers the size of broom closets and hallways that are a mere 15 inches wide. "We can accommodate nearly three times as many thin people in the same square footage as an ordinary hotel," said Ms. Rexia.
ThinAir is also in talks with Frederick Wapsumski, Latvia's famous auto designer to draw up plans for a "thin" car. Called the “Twigo,” Mr. Wapsumski contends that the auto will average 128 miles per gallon and carry six passengers — though, Mr. Wapsumski himself is unable to fit into the vehicle.
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