– [Announcer] Hooters Air puts the fun back into flying.
– [Narrator] Wait a minute.
– [Announcer] Hooters girls on every flight.
– [Narrator] Hooters had an airline?
– [Announcer] All leather seats with extra leg room.
– [Narrator] You might not have known about Hooters Air
because it didn’t last long.
– Fly Hooters Air!
– There you go.
– [Narrator] It started in 2003,
and initially the airline was successful,
but it shut down just three years later.
– We’re at the Gary Chicago International Airport
where Hooters Air is about to make their maiden flight
to Myrtle Beach.
– [Narrator] Based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,
it offered low-price direct flights to more than 15 destinations in the U.S.
Air fares were a flat rate of $129 dollars each way.
So why did Hooters think it was a good idea
to start an airline, and why did it fail?
– If you like what you see here on the outside,
you’re gonna love what you’ll see on the inside.
– [Narrator] Hooters was founded by six business men
in Clearwater, Florida in 1983.
A year later, an Atlanta-based group led by Bob Brooks
一年后 一个由Bob Brooks领导的总部位于亚特兰大的团体
saw the company’s potential and bought it outright.
– It was the first “Breastaurant” chain.
So basically they pioneered the idea that
they’re going to have all their waiters wear short shorts and really tight tank tops.
– Do you know why our beer is so cold here at Hooters?
Because we keep it in the refrigerator.
– From kind of the ’80s until the early 2000s
it was a very successful kind of growing business.
– [Narrator] By 2003, Hooters was flushed with cash
and Bob Brooks wanted to expand the brand,
so he bought a small North Carolina-based charter airline called Pace Airlines.
He repainted the airplanes with the company logo
and Hooters Air took off.
– What would you tell people out there watching the show
about flying Hooters Air?
– You should definitely do it.
It’s an experience like no other.
– How about yourself?
– It’s gonna be the most exciting time of your life.
– [Pilot] I’m probably one of the few pilots who can say
I actually went to “pilot heaven.”
– [Narrator] This is the voice of a former Hooters Air pilot.
He asked to remain anonymous.
– There was a lot of intrigue about this airline
not because of necessarily what was going on on the inside
but more so what people perceived from the outside.
– It’s gonna be a nice change from the restaurant.
Instead of serving food and all that stuff
and picking up trash, we get to just basically entertain,
ask trivia questions and all that.
– [Narrator] A common misconception about Hooters Air
was that the flight attendants on the flights were Hooters girls.
In addition to the two Hooters girls on every flight,
there were three FAA-certified flight attendants.
– [Flight Attendant] The flight attendants are the ones who
serve all the food and the drinks, per usual.
I had a professional uniform.
I had like a navy blue dress.
You know, it was very professional.
It had the little owl embroidered emblem on it.
– [Flight Attendant] We just did the safety procedures and stuff like that.
And then we had two Hooters girls
from different restaurants in the area
but they had no training whatsoever.
They were just there just for passenger fun.
– What is it all gonna include?
You guys are gonna be up there serving customers?
– No wings. – No wings.
– But great food. – But great food.
– Yeah, we got some soft pretzels
and we got some like pigs in a blanket
and you know, maybe some …fruit, you know.
– [Flight Attendant] The two Hooters girls would get up during the flight
and do trivia or little games or sing a song.
I think they just sat in their seats the whole time
until it was their five minutes to get up, and that was it.
The rest of the time us flight attendants are working.
– [Interviewer] Were there ever any incidents
that you witnessed of harassment or customers getting a little too inebriated?
– [Flight Attendant] I never saw any kind of harassment.
There was definitely flirtiness.
Any flight, you’re always gonna come across some people
that have drank too much, but nothing bad.
It was fun, we did our job right.
It was just very happy memories.
– [Announcer] Fares from $99.
Convenient morning departures and evening returns.
– [Narrator] Hooters Air helped out smaller airports
like the one in Gary, Indiana,just 25 miles southeast of Chicago.
– It’s good news, more airline service, more activity,
这是一件好事 更多的航空服务 更多的活动
more economic development, more jobs,
more people spending money in northwest Indiana and …
– Good news.
– Southern Chicago, and so it’s very good news, yeah.
– [Narrator] And it was a major economic boon
to one city in particular: Myrtle Beach.
– In its heyday Hooters Air was bringing between 3,000
and 5,000 people a week into the Myrtle Beach area.
Hooters Air was more than just an airline.
It was a huge philanthropic contribution
to the Myrtle Beach area by Mr. Brooks,
who had a vision that Myrtle Beach area could grow and expand and evolve
as a tourism destination and a business community.
– [Narrator] Hooters Air was big for Myrtle Beach
but it wasn’t enough to keep it airborne,
so Hooters shut it down in 2006, citing a $40 million loss.
– It was compounded by a couple of factors.
They started the airline still as the airline industry
was recovering from the 9/11 attacks.
People were still scared of getting on airplanes.
There was growing low-fare competition in the market
as Southwest and other airlines had begun to expand.
And jet fuel prices were trending upward.
So it just wasn’t an economically viable business.
– [Narrator] Hooters chairman Bob Brooks passed away
【旁白】2006年 猫头鹰主席Bob Brooks去世
in 2006, the same year that Hooters Air shut down.
– There are people at work and people enjoying
the Myrtle Beach area that might never have had the opportunity to do so if it weren’t for Bob Brooks,
so we remain very grateful for his investment in his airline and our community.
– [Narrator] Despite the failure of Hooters Air,
the Hooters brand continue to thrive.
– They’ve opened hundreds of locations in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.
They are more than a $250 million business,
basically, at this point, and they kind of took over the U.S. and then the world.
– [Pilot] Often times, going into cities,
we’d be on an approach and
we’d hear the air traffic controller say,
“Do you have the Hooters airplane in sight?
“And if you do, follow that aircraft.”
Well, other pilots would often say things like,
“You mean the airplane with the big hooters?
“We have it in sight.”
So, um … (chuckles)
– [Announcer] Hooters Air puts the fun back into flying.