“We’re an airline,” Says NewLeaf spokesperson Wynn Luze, “we just don’t own any planes or have a charter to fly.” Sounding strangely similar to the popular child’s book ‘Not a Box,’ in which a creative bunny transforms a cardboard box into a burning building, a robot, and a rocket, among other things. All hinging on the premise that things are whatever you want to be when you use your imagination.
“Our intention is, was, well it still is, to charter plans from Flair Airlines Ltd. out of Kelowna, B.C. and then sell the seats.” Luze says, speaking from behind a potted plant outside Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, and keeping one eye out for the fuzz. “No, not like a scalper.” He states emphatically, then threatens to raise the price if we keep pissing him off.
“Let me ask you something. Would a scalper refund tickets as we’re doing for all those we’ve sold so far?” The counter argument, of course, is that it would be pretty unusual for a scalper to sell tickets to a game that may not be allowed to play.
“There’s no similarity.” Mr. Luze states dismissively. “Our operation doesn’t buy a few tickets here and there and then stand outside of airports in bomber jackets looking shifty and asking people if they want good seats to Montreal. What we do is take an existing company, rent their planes, fly them to places the existing company couldn’t be bothered flying to because the profit margins are tiny, and then nickel and diming the customer on surcharges until they end up paying a similar rate to what they would have paid to fly with one of the major airlines. But in addition they get to drive a long distance to one of the smaller airports we use because those are cheaper for us to fly our rented planes in and out of. We aren’t scalpers, we’re discounters. An airline of discounts. A discount airline. It’s all in the wording. Many countries have these.”
The interview ended as we had agreed upfront, with The Out And Abouter paying $100 for the exclusive meeting, $20 to be allowed to take notes, $10 departure tax for the end of our discussion, and $2.50 for using the restroom midway through.