“Fabulair is bringing style back to air travel. Settle into your seat. What do you notice? It's comfortable. And it matches your outfit.”
That's part of a 1998 e-mail hoax about Fabulair, an all-gay airline, that a UH student and alumnus are now trying to turn into a reality.
“Fabulair is primarily oriented toward gay event travel,” said Douglas Hord, Fabulair's president and a freelance consultant who graduated from the UH Law Center. “There's no one using this market niche as a focus. There are hundreds of gay events each year, but nobody focuses on the smaller element and marketing it in an appealing way to the gay community.”
The company hopes to implement its concept — chartering a plane with a cabin and flight crew supplied by a major airline, then adding a liberal dose of fabulousness — by approaching the committees that host gay events.
One such event is a gay softball organization that draws about 2,000 people to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Hord said. Fabulair would propose handling all the event's travel arrangements.
“All these events are set up as nonprofit organizations. The people running it are volunteers,” Hord said. “We want to take this workload off of their shoulders and then contribute a percentage of the profit back to their event. By booking through us, the people will actually benefit the organization or event that they attend.”
In the air, Fabulair proposes three levels of service: Party Bus, Simply Fabulous and Too Fabulous. Passengers in Party Bus will have entertainment from drag queens, models and DJs, and those in Simply Fabulous will receive a leather ticket case, meals and champagne. In Too Fabulous, the amenity list includes an in-flight fashion show, designer luggage and concierge service.
“There's a vacuum in this market. It's a need,” Felder said. “We'll be moving enough people through our travel services that we'll have revenue for actual Fabulair flights.”
The Ft. Lauderdale softball event is just one of many gay-oriented happenings across the world, including the New Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia.
“This event receives about 250,000 people per year,” Hord said. “There are also circuit parties, such as the White Party (in Miami). We also want to be a part of Gay Pride in Amsterdam this August.”
Hord said Fabulair could be a “one-stop shop” for travel arrangements to those events.
“The circuit parties can have anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 attendees. Why not have a gay airline going to a gay party?” he asked.
Though the company's emphasis is clear, Hord stressed that it is not intended to exclude people.