In the late 1970s, the U.S. government disrupted the airline industry, removing federal control over tariffs, airlines, and the entry of new airlines into the market. As a result, a host of new airlines appeared from the 1980s onwards and some of them were particularly unusual. We introduce you to 3 of them:
1. “Pet Airways”
Founded in 2009 in Delray Beach, Florida, ‘Pet Airways’ was an airline dedicated exclusively to pets such as cats and dogs. They flew without their owners. Each aircraft could carry about 50 pets, with Pet Attendants checking them every 15 minutes. The idea was that concerned pet owners would prefer to fly their pets through a dedicated airline instead of keeping them on board their flight, a practice that the Pet Airways website described as dangerous, citing extreme temperature. The airline operated for about two years.
2. “Hooters Air”
In 2002, Robert Brooks, chairman of the Hooters restaurant chain, bought Pace Airlines, a charter carrier with an fleet of eight aircraft, mostly Boeing 737. The following year he turned it into Hooters Air, a line airline created behind the chain of restaurants. His difference was, in addition to the bright orange pattern, the so-called “sexy girls” were on board. The airline was based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a vacation hotspot known for its golf courses and seaside resorts. However, it was not successful enough to make money and stopped operating in early 2006, due to rising fuel prices following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
3. “The Lord’s Airline”
Strictly prohibited alcohol on board, Bible and Torah instead of in-flight magazines, only religious films and a quarter of missionary funding fees: these were the unique features of ‘The Lord’s Airline’, founded by businessman Ari from New Jersey. Gold Marshall in 1985, when it bought an old DC-8 had thought it to be the only airline aircraft. The plan was to have three weekly flights from Miami to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, offering a direct route to Jerusalem, about 30 miles away.
At that time, religious pilgrims seeking to reach the Holy Land had to catch a connecting flight to New York. Marshall said in 1986 that:
The Russians have their own airline. The British have one. So is Playboy. So why shouldn’t God have an airline entirely his own?
However, by 1987, the airline had failed to qualify for an FAA license due to unfinished modifications and aircraft maintenance work. Investors got nervous and removed Ari Marshall, installing a new board of directors to move things forward.