Smokers Express Airlines

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Smokers Express Airlines was a promotion undertaken by two Florida businessmen, Mickey Richardson and William Watts, in 1993 as a way to get around the FAA's ban on smoking on domestic airline flights. Mickey Richardson was a former Walt Disney executive.

The two men proposed starting an airline exclusively for smokers called Smokers Express Airlines. It was to be a "membership only" airline. It would cost $25 to join, and you had to be at least 21 years old (so there would be no crying babies on board). To help make money, Smokers Express proposed selling ad space on the outside of their airplanes ("like race cars do"). The airline would offer a host of perks like free cigarettes, "real ash trays," VIP lounges, a Smokers Express Gold Travel Card, free headphones and movies in flight, complimentary newspapers, "real food for real people" (steak, burgers, subs and pizza), free Lotto tickets for each passenger, free destination maps for passengers, and they generously decided to include a non-smoking section at the back of the plane for companion travelers.

Watts and Richardson proposed that any profits the airline made above and beyond the (modest) employee salaries would go to charities, like "kids with AIDS," the National Kidney Foundation, and even a burn center.

Smokers Express's first scheduled flight was canceled because of lack of demand for the $345 round-trip ticket for individuals en route to Washington, D.C. from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to protest president Clinton's proposed tobacco tax increase.(Raleigh, NC News & Observer 1/26).[1]

Title No Title (National Smokers Alliance newsletter contains an item discussing Smokers Express Airlines and how NSA could work with them to help get project off the ground)
Date 19931100/E
Bates 2040565916/5917
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 2

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