The Italian government is bailing out Alitalia, while the U.S. government seems poised to throw billions of dollars to the Big 3 automakers. The December 9 Wall St. Journal reports that Italy’s Fiat is seeking an alliance/consolidation to stay in business, and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram just ran a story about the CEO of American Airlines suggesting that the U.S. air travel industry should get in line with hands out to the government.
We have a better idea. Combine General Motors, Fiat, Alitalia, and United into the world’s biggest (and first) Fly-and-Drive company.
The top executives at the U.S. airlines and in Detroit are so well known for understanding customer service, and are so humble and financially under-rewarded. Italian quality and efficiency is famous the world over. What better fit could there be? Wait! How about a new GAUF (GM, Alitalia, United, Fiat) credit card – pronounced “gaffe” – issued by financial partner Washington Mutual!
We can already see the advertising:
- Buy a Fiat and get free airfare on United for a year (although there will be fees for baggage, drinks, snacks, seat cushions, in-flight magazines, and use of the lavatory)!
- Fly Alitalia and instead of frequent flyer miles get points that can be redeemed for auto-parts purchases!
- The new GAUF credit card offers rebates that can be applied toward CEO bonuses!