Crankyflier met with US Airways executives on Monday (along with Holly Hegeman, ugh, is she still around?), to discuss various passenger and marketing issues and ideas.
One of his readers asked him to put it to them about Captain Dave's blog, and, God bless him, he did. The execs told him that they didn't even know who Captain Dave was so they couldn't have, and didn't, ask him to take it down.
Of course, there are a lot of cooks in that kitchen, and the request wouldn't necessarily have come from the gang that Crankyflier met with, so maybe they did or maybe they didn't. But at least someone asked some level of management about it. I myself was going to ask at the next investor conference call.
This raises a couple of issues. First -- REALLY? -- even with some slightly-masked descriptions, NOBODY in the executive ranks at America West ever bothered to figure out who this guy was during the SEVEN years he was writing this blog? That's mind-boggling, highly-unlikely, and suggests a few other possibilities.
The first is that the author deeeeeply-buried his identity by changing way more of the details than we realize. Certainly, he would presumably be a FiFi pilot, but it opens the possibility that he was flying for NW
, Spirit, Frontier, or United, for example. Yeah, not all those guys fly the Bus to the destinations he discusses, and only Spirit flies all the versions of the Electric Jet, but once you open the gates on what details might not be right, there are a lot of possibilities. United flies the Bus and 737, but his prior Steamer could also have been a 727 or a MD80. When he wrote that piece about doing a pro sports charter, it occurred to me that NW
does a hell of a lot more of those than does US. You get where I'm going.
More pernicious, perhaps, is what is often revealed about anonymous authors -- sometimes their take on something is so detailed and their insights so powerful, that you just KNOW they have to be right where they appear to be, but they aren't. The best non-blog example is Joe Klein's book "Primary Colors" about Bill Clinton's first campaign for President, where the narrator is one of the campaign aides. Klein was a veteran political reporter who wrote the book, which he accurately called a Novel (i.e. fiction). But when it came out, it was attributed to "Anonymous". Klein's mastery of the tiniest details and knowledge of so many stories in the campaign made it look as if someone like George Stephanopoulos or similar had actually written it, particularly to the people who were *actually there on the inside*, and were freaking out that anybody was talking about this stuff, even in the context of a novel. It all just hit way to close to home. Accusations flew among pissed-off campaign staff until Klein, an outsider, revealed who he was. And folks were amazed.
Same thing for some of the scandalous Washington blogs. "Really? How did she know that?" But she did.
So maybe Dave is really just a fan or a non-pilot who nevertheless was in the business. And maybe he was about to be exposed. This seems doubtful because his first blog entries are really pretty innocuous. "I flew to X today. Cheeseburgers there are good." Not an exact quote but you get the point. His real gift for writing wasn't revealed until much later, and his fine development of characters like the Beautiful Supremely-Competent Female F/O or the Argentinian Kid came over time. Kind of like a Jean Shepherd of the blogs. If he had set out to do what his blog became, he went into it brilliantly-slowly to make it seem real. Most people wouldn't know or be able to be so restrained. But it's possible, I suppose.
Here's hoping that he's real, he's well, and that he is turning the blog into a book.
But it is amazing that, as widely-read as he turns out to be, nobody can put a finger on who he is or why he's gone.
[Edited 2012-11-21 23:07:03]