I would pass the tray with the appetizers and the white wine, but you know…COVID-19. We’re doing a minimal Bistro Bag service these days. So grab your bag and have a seat. Keep your mask on please.
If you are not familiar with moi, I am the founder and publisher of an airline industry publication by the name of PlaneBusiness Banter. I began publishing PBB in 1997. Why did I create such a publication? Maybe it was because I was irritated that airlines routinely banned journalists, or anyone else, for that matter, except a “bona fide” Wall Street analyst, on quarterly earnings calls. Maybe it was because I thought there were too many airline executives making tons of money while running airlines into the ground. Maybe it was because there was a long history of “transportation fascination” in my family — my brother was a pilot, my father was obsessed with railroads his entire life, yet was most proud of his United Airlines 100,000 Mile Club Award plaque he earned while still in the Army, and my great-grandfather was President of The American Railroad Association, having been involved with railroads all of his life.
But maybe it was because I thought airline employees deserved to have a better source of financial information about the place that issues them their checks.
That is pretty much it. The original subscription price for PBB was deliberately set low (er, cheap), to make sure employees, and not just the airline management teams, could access it.
Oddly enough, it was not because I was fascinated with airplanes. While I was fascinated by the industry, and remain so, it was the people, the personalities, the players and their motivations, the characters, and those who sought to improve the industry I was most fascinated with.
Since 1994, when I sat down at a small table to eat lunch with American Airlines’ Chairman, President and CEO Robert L. Crandall — a meeting that took place at his request after I had sent him a rather critical assessment of a speech I had seen him present in New York — I knew I had found a place to land.
Land. Get it?
I covered the airline industry for the original TheStreet.com, under the watchful eye of Dave Kansas, who jumped ship from the Wall Street Journal to put together a stellar line-up of financial journalists. I created the Airline Industry Research area of the original Motley Fool investment site on AOL.com — which gave me a birds-eye view of the early days of the Tom David Gardner financial publishing empire.
You could say I’ve been involved in my share of internet publishing start-ups.
During the time I’ve published PBB, I’ve written two external blogs — The Daily Banter (the title is pretty self-explantory and it served to bring in many PBB subscribers who are still with us today) and PlaneBuzz. At some point, I stopped writing externally.
This time I’ve gone back to the original PlaneBusiness website from the late 90s that housed the original subscription publication, and recycled the name of a an opinion column that we would post from time to time. While I would write some of the columns, I also recruited people in the industry who I thought were the “best and the brightest” — people who had something valuable to add to the larger discussion of the industry.
I am proud to say, after 20-plus years, many of our contributors from back then have gone on to be successful executives in the industry. We also had one contributor who, because of his job, was forced to contribute anonymously as “The Brown Bag Analyst.” He went on to become a Wall Street analyst and is very much still involved in the industry. Another contributor is a top executive at a major U.S airline. Another — a well-known industry journalist.
My point is this. I don’t want PlanePerspectives to just be about my opinion. I want to hear yours as well. If you are interested in sharing your take with us on a topic, drop me a note. You can use the contact form, which is accessible from the link above.
But I warn you. No fawning allowed. No marketing pitches. No bullshit.
Pass me that bag of pretzels. I’m ready for a snack.