Just a couple of years ago, it seemed that Hooters Air was going to fly high for some time to come. Now it looks like the airline could be in serious trouble. How did this happen? This seemed like one of the most promising ideas to come from the business community since microwavable hamburgers and anatomically correct Baywatch action figures.

In 2003, Robert H. Brooks, chairman of the Hooters of America restaurant chain, purchased the Winston-Salem-based Pace Airlines. A new airline – named “Hooters Air” – was born, despite pleas from around the world (by “world” I mean me) for more creative names for the company, such as “United Areolalines,” “Northchest,” or “Pan Mamm.” 

Just last year, Hooters Air announced that they were expanding their service to new markets. The only airline on which you pray for heavy turbulence increased their list of routes to include Las Vegas, Nev., Allentown, Pa., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Apparently, something has gone wrong:

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Low-cost carrier Hooters Air is ending service at two Pennsylvania airports and apparently will depart the Tampa Bay, Fla., area for good next month, further clouding the future of the Myrtle Beach-based airline.

Hooters Air is ending service to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by March 26 and at the Lehigh Valley airport by April 17, Pennsylvania airport officials said.

Sex sells?

The reason I was optimistic about the future of Hooters Air was due to the time-honored axiom of “sex sells”.

Based simply on the “sex sells” model, Brooks simply created a Hooters at 30,000 feet. No boring in-flight movies. No male flight attendants who won’t stop talking about Cher’s new album, and no more of the biggest cup on board being the one containing your coffee. Just good old, testosterone driven, 500-mph fun, where all seats come with a first-class view, your stewardess can be used as a flotation device, and where the phrase “upright and locked position” has nothing to do with your tray table.

So don’t count out Hooters Air just yet. For a while there, they were making boobs out of the other airlines, and maybe someday soon they’ll again be expanding more than just passenger inseams.

Oh yes, there is one important point about the “sex sells” axiom. As countless businesses have discovered, sex may sell, but sex doesn’t necessarily know jack squat about accounting, insurance, and federal regulations.


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