A Challenge For Mark Malkoff, AirTran Passenger Extraordinaire

AirTran, PR

Have you ever heard of comedian Mark Malkoff? Neither have I, and I’m guessing that’s why he was willing to subject himself to some of the worst torture ever invented. Waterboarding? Nay. He’s spending 30 days on an airplane. And this isn’t on some fancy corporate jet. It’s on AirTran. And now I’ve got a challenge for him.

This is actually a great promotion. AirTran wants to promote their new plan to outfit their entire fleet with wifi by the summer, and Mark, well, he gets to be the guinea pig. He’s been posting videos from the plane (many of which are actually funny), sending tweets, blogging, and more. It’s actually pretty clever.

Now, why Mark would subject himself to this, I have no idea. He says he’s afraid to fly and this will help him get over it, but I wouldn’t be so sure about that. If he’s spending 30 days in coach, that might send him into the fetal position for life.

Here’s how it works. He’s not sticking with one single airplane but rather moving around from plane to plane in order to keep himself flying. Sometimes he flies on redeyes, but on other days, he sleeps in an airplane in the hangar at night. Either way, he’s not leaving an airplane for longer than it takes to walk to another one. He did, however, get himself a shower the other day . . . from the fire department at Flint Airport.

Some of the other videos show him washing his hair with a bottle of water over the toilet in the lav. He borrows shaving cream from a passenger in another clip. I personally liked the video clip where they presented him with elite status after only three days in the air. Pretty impressive, and hopefully that means he gets free upgrades.

The only thing that makes me bitter? I was contacted about the promotion by a PR agency for AirTran trying to get me to write about it, so I asked if he would be coming to LA. He was, but after I asked for a short interview while he was there Double-Double Animal Style + Friesthey said they’d look into it and I never heard another peep. According to his blog, he was busy hanging out with Lisa Loeb. Booo on you.

So I’m not above resorting to bribery. Mark – If you come back to LA again on this trip, I’ll bring you an In ‘n Out Burger, no, make it a Double Double. Look at that burger. You know you want one. I’m out of town June 24 – 28, so you don’t have many days left to take me up on this offer.

[Update 6/22 @ 9a: Hmm, so I understand he’s a vegetarian. This Double Double bribe clearly won’t work. Fortunately, In ‘n Out makes a mean Grilled Cheese that is loved by vegetarians the world over. How ’bout that, Mark?]

[Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via Flickr]

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13 comments on “A Challenge For Mark Malkoff, AirTran Passenger Extraordinaire

  1. What a waste of water, and it shouldn’t be him embarrassed about taking a shower in public. It should be the Flint fire department for doing that.

    He’s hoping that after 30 days he’ll become a known comedian it sounds like. What talk show will he do first I wonder?

    AirTran must be going after the 20-something passengers with this promo.

    And Cranky if I was this guy, you would have to bribe me with something better then an In ‘n Out burger, I’ve never cared for their food. Now that I don’t live in Los Angeles I can say that now…….lol

  2. I’m more surprised that Lisa Loeb still exists. I haven’t heard any of her music since her hits surfaced when I was in sixth grade.

  3. I have been following Mark and found this campaign pretty genius. Not only is this giving AirTran attention, but of course Mark and Go-Go internet provider.

    But do not worry, you are not the only one. I have been trying to see if he will be up in Seattle (where I am at) since this started and keep getting the “we will see.”

    Maybe I need to come up with a gig to have him do in Seattle?!


  4. This sounds like a quite a cool little promo. I’d be really interested in knowing what their costs are on this. It seems like its a reasonably cheap promotion given the volume of content they get out of it….

    Although now I want In&Out.. Damn you cranky! I’ll have to substitute some Dick’s tonight I guess….

  5. The stories I remember most fondly involve round-the-world journeys in the least amount of time and touching all six populated continents.

    The fastest scheduled was around 67 hours but the traveler made it in 90 after being held up in Egypt.

    That was pre-9/11 so I’m curious how long such a trip would take today and whether or not airlines would want to publicly associate with such a journey.

    All kinds of fun rules and stipulations to make it challenging:

    a) Continuous travel in one direction unless back-tracking to a major hub.
    b) One layover on all six continents.
    c) Change of airlines at each location.
    d) Must include Australia or New Zealand
    e) Must comply with published minimum connect and security times.

    Whaddya say, Cranky? What would your trip report look like for that?

  6. Great promo. It will be interesting to see the level of media exposure they get out of this. I’m assuming he wont get bumped if the flight is full. I’m not sure I could do it for the lack of any decent food, or do they bring on anything special for him?

  7. Well, looks like the post worked. I got a call from Mark this afternoon and we talked for about 20 minutes. I’ll get it together and have it posted this week.

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