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VOL. 128 | NO. 22 | Friday, February 1, 2013

Dan Conaway

Dan Conaway

It’s Personal

By Dan Conaway

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IT’S NOT BUSINESS ANYMORE. IT’S PERSONAL. This is our town, and you’re not welcome here.

So pack a plane with all your meaningless spin, all your lackeys and suck-ups, all your apologists, all your legal but unethical tactics, all your eye popping price gouging, all your cold and calculated manipulation of lives, your own employees’ lives, and a city’s pride and get the hell out. There’s so much of all of that in the massive fuel dump you just dropped on Memphis that I’m sure it’ll take more than one plane to haul it all off and we may never be rid of the stench it’s leaving behind.

And if airport management, the airport authority and the chamber of commerce can’t convince every single one of us that not even one more single in-flight peanut will be offered to you, that there is less than zero interest in any future that involves you, and that every assumption about passenger service here is no longer valid, then you should take them with you. After all, the chairman of the airport authority just mysteriously gave up his apparent lifetime appointment, the CEO of the chamber is a former airline executive and one of the family, and the current chairman of the chamber is the current head of the airport. With a flight pattern that tight, there’s going to be a wreck.

Delta, you’re fired. This flight is canceled. And it’s not business, it’s personal.

It was business when you systematically raised the price of flying in Memphis so high our wallets had to be pressurized and Arkansas had to hire additional troopers to handle the traffic headed for Little Rock’s airport. And the people in charge of our airport watched, and streets were named after them.

It was business when you systematically reduced our airport to a virtual dead zone, a perfect location for the next movie of what civilization looks like after the people have gone. And the people in charge of our airport watched, and busied themselves with hiding one of our architectural masterpieces behind a massive parking tomb where no one parks, a place as empty as your promises.

It was business when you circled a dying Pinnacle like vultures, demanding new planes, squeezing heart-breaking concessions from everyone, money-whipping them into a subsidiary, and then jerking them up and planting them in Minnesota where you already had an empty nest waiting. And the people in charge of our airport and our chamber unveiled a massive plan for America’s Aerotropolis, exhibiting a Hindenburg-like sense of aviation timing.

So, Delta, take off. And don’t let the gate hit you.

As for us, let’s put Jack Sammons (the new chair of the airport authority and the newest member of that body without all the carry-on baggage the rest have) and Fred Smith, and whoever they want in a room at the airport (there are plenty available) with a few sheets of notebook paper.

When they come out, get behind the plan.

I’m a Memphian, and let’s fly again.

Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.

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