The EAS Flights blog stumbled on something yesterday that may be a new low for this industry. In fact, it’s childish enough that the owner of the website, Pacific Wings, has earned itself the Cranky Jackass Award.
What did the airline do that was so deserving of this award? Take a look at the homepage of its now-defunct KentuckySkies operation. I should say, the former homepage because it was already changed last night.
That’s right. The page title is Skip Kentucky followed by a simple yet not-so-elegant message beneath. What the heck did Kentucky do to deserve this kind of treatment? Well, it’s a long sordid story.
Pacific Wings flies under its own name in Hawai’i, but it has tried to grow its business on the mainland by going after small Essential Air Service routes. When it gets some, it uses a different marketing name in each area. There’s New Mexico Airlines in, well, New Mexico and GeorgiaSkies in… wanna guess? KentuckySkies was created to fly from Owensboro to Nashville and it was closely tied with TennesseeSkies which went from Jackson (TN) to Nashville. Both of these names are now gone, though the TennesseeSkies homepage still lives.
What happened? According to Pacific Wings in its filing with the federal government, the airline was “unable to procure counter or gate space at [Nashville International Airport] on reasonable terms.” Ah yes, congested Nashville Airport – a very difficult place to find space to operate. Hah.
Not quite. My guess is that it’s all about the price of that space. Pacific Wings didn’t like the deal it could get at Nashville so it opted to just back out of offering the service entirely. Not sure why this happened after it had already commenced service. You would think it would have had that figured out before it even applied. Fear not for the people of Owensboro and Jackson; Cape Air picked up the former operation and SeaPort the latter.
Now, if it was just an issue with the gate space in Nashville, wouldn’t the airline tell you to skip Tennessee, not Kentucky? Clearly there’s a lot of bad blood here that hasn’t quite boiled to the surface yet. This actually isn’t the first time Pacific Wings has been in an interesting altercation of sorts. Remember this piece I wrote back in 2009 about a physical fight in Hawai’i?
Look, I’m not here to take sides, because I don’t really know the story. But I can tell you that putting this kind of message up is just dumb. Pacific Wings still wants to bid for Essential Air Service routes. Does the airline think that communities are going to be receptive to these kind of shenanigans? I think not. It’s even worse to double down, but that’s exactly what Pacific Wings did. It changed the website to this last night.
Oh please. Ridiculous. This isn’t going to win the airline any friends.