As the cookie crumbles

Finally, food for thought from the DoT.

In their hunger for a new route to China, airlines are trying almost any publicity tactic they can get their hands on. But sink your teeth into this: its yen for a route between Shanghai and its Newark hub near New York was such that Continental handed out thousands of fortune cookies in Washington last week, giving away little take-away (or carry-out) style boxes full of the tasty desserts. Inside each the instead of ‘you will meet a prosperous stranger’, the cookies had slogans such as ‘NY/NJ AND SHANGHAI: TWO VERY BIG CITIES/ONE VERY BIG ROUTE’.

Thinking it really ought to make sure it informed the bureaucrats at the Transportation Department who will make the final decision, Continental also filed the fortune cookies in the official dockets there. Or at least the fortunes. As Bruce Keiner, a Washington lawyer for the airline, said in cover letter, “since you will be unable to insert the fortune cookies into the Document Management System, I have attached a list of the fortunes”. Keiner’s office can’t recall a similar filing, certainly not the (thin-crust) pizza one might have expected in a US/Italy route case. Finally: a proceeding that will feed the intellectual hunger.  

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