Apr 26, 2006

Thank you for calling MarkAir. This is Mark. How may I help you?

Usually when Corey and I try to accomplish something things go awry. Granted we normally achieve our intended goal, but it's never without it's obstacles. Often times have we found ourselves breaking stuff, getting lost, and/or causing a scene that would later prove quite comedic.

In Corey's early twenties transportation was not his strong suite. Usually something would happen that would make you believe his arrival to any destination was graced by a divine and loving God. Such is the case with MarkAir.

Corey was living in Chicago while I was residing in Bellingham, WA. Corey was coming to the state for a visit and called me to pick him up from the airport.

"What airline are flying with?" I asked.

"MarkAir," he said.

"MarkAir?" I replied.

"Yes MarkAir."

"What the fuck is MarkAir?"

"It's worse than ATA and cheaper too."

"Shit never heard of them. Are you going to be riding in a cargo plane with barnyard animals?"

"Shit probably."

"Well whatever gets you here. Good luck."

"Yeah I'm sure it'll be fine."

On the day of Corey's arrival I ask my roommate Ryon to join me in the drive down to Seatac airport. It's about a couple hours on the road and I would enjoyed the company.

We pull into the airport and walk up to the terminal. We stop and gaze with wonderment at the sign at MarkAir's terminal that stated "Effective immediately MarkAir has postponed it's operations indefinitely. We apologize for the inconvenience."

The airline went bankrupt the day we Corey was supposed to fly out here. There was a group huddled around the sign staring at it and trying to comprehend the obvious. Some of them were glaring for so long you think they believed the sign would magically change to a more positive message right before their eyes. A man turned to me and said "Does this mean they're not flying anyone?"

"Yes I do believe that's what it is saying," I confirmed.

"So my wife's supposed to come in today with them," he stated under the mistaken impression that I gave a good damn. "You think she won't be able to make it?"

"Well not with MarkAir she won't." I said.

"So they're not flying anyone?"

I stared at him for a while wondering what caused his sincere lack of basic comprehension.

"As the sign indicates they will no longer be in the business of flying," I said. I tried not to sound too condescending.

"Jesus what am I going to do?" he asked. Of course I was the best source of giving strangers advice on how to deal with ambiguity.

"I suggest you call her," I said.

"Well I don't know where she's at," he moaned. Keep in mind this happened before cell phones were all the rage. I decided to cut the conversation there.

"Well good luck man," I said.

"Yeah thanks." He seemed genuinely irritated by the fact that I'm not a mystical guru that had all the answers to his dilemma.

The sign had a phone number you could call with questions. I go to the payphone, dial the 800 number, and listen to a recording loop saying "MarkAir has shut down it's operations today and will no longer be providing any air service. We appreciate your business over the years and apologize for any inconvenience." Thanks Mark. That was very helpful.

I called back to my place and got my roommate Carrie on the phone.

"Hey Carrie. Did Corey call?" I asked.

"No. Not that I know of," she said.

"Are there any messages on the machine?"

"Yeah I haven't listened to them."

"Could you play those for me?"

"Sure," she replied.

She hit the button and through the phone I could hear Corey's voice say "Yeah Erik don't come to pick me up MarkAir just went tits up on me. Sorry dude. I'll call you later." I could hear Carrie giggle in the background.

"Thanks kid."

"Sure thing," she said controlling her laughter.

At the time I was a starving student making minimum wage and could barely afford a trip down to Seattle so I was a little perturbed, but mildly amused. I wanted to see Corey, but alas I figured he'd be out soon anyways. I shrugged my shoulders and Ryon and I decided to head out.

We pull out of airport parking to the ticket booth where I pull out my wallet. Oh dear lord I left the cash home. The attendant sighed and had me fill out numerous forms which resulted in the cars behind me honking and yelling various profanities. After what seemed like an hour the attendant let me go and billed my home for the parking fees.

I get home and find Carrie laughing her ass off.

"Corey called again," she said.

"Oh what did he say?" I asked.

"He asked to speak to you and I told him you already left to go get him. He said you were going to be really pissed," she said with a bubbly smile.

"Yeah it was a shitty time. Thanks for relaying the message kid." I was really amused at this point.

Not five minutes later the phone rings.

"Erik," Corey said.

"Thank you for flying MarkAir," I replied. We laughed for a while about this.

"MarkAir. Mark speaking," he said. More laughter ensued.

"Okay, okay. What the hell happened?" I asked.

"Well I went to the airport and went to check in and I see a sign saying that they shut down," he said.

"Yeah we can relate."

"He he. I was pissed at my travel agent so I called her and asked her why she didn't tell me MarkAir went under. She had no idea it happened. Apparently it folded today. Shit man."

"Wow. Couldn't they have done this tomorrow for fuck's sake?"

"No way dude. They had to do it on the day I want to come to Washington."

"Well you get what you pay for."

"I sure do."

Let this be a lesson to you all. It sometimes doesn't pay to fly cheap.

"MarkAir shook up Alaska Airlines and other competitors in December and January by adding new passenger and cargo service within Alaska, including Southeast, and making a bid for the Anchorage-Seattle market. MarkAir's Rogers concedes the company will have to prove itself on the Seattle run." - Jeffrey Richardson, May 1992. MarkAir shutdown in 1995.


Mattbear said...

I thought this was a joke until I hit the Wikipedia entry. Jesus. MarkAir? There's a marketing strategy for ya.

jinsane said...

Good Lord - that sounds like something that would happen to me! Actually, it sorta did! Remember my awesome time with Falcon Air?? I hate all airlines!

Wiwille said...

Mattbear - Yeah MarkAir was a real airline for quite some time.

Jinsane - This story certainly wasn't as exciting as yours.