Talk of the day

Published September 8, 2006

If you want to smoke when you fly, he's your man

If Alexander Schoppmann is right, then where there's smoke, there are fliers. With a growing number of countries choosing to ban smoking in public places, it is an idea that might seem inopportune. But Schoppmann, a German entrepreneur, is hoping to take advantage of smokers' resentment at efforts to further curb where they can smoke by giving them their own airline, Smoker's International Airways. As the name suggests, the airline, known as Smintair, will probably not be for the faint of lung. The carrier, expected to begin luxury service with business and first-class seats early next year, plans daily flights between Schoppmann's hometown of Duesseldorf and Tokyo - a 12-hour journey that, for some smokers, is simply not worth the nicotine-withdrawal headache. "Many people simply don't travel long distances anymore because they can't smoke," said Schoppmann, 55, who smokes 30 cigarettes a day in addition to the occasional cigar. "That has to be why they invented videoconferencing."


ANOTHER SPORTS BOOK EXEC DETAINED: The chairman of British online gambling company Sportingbet PLC has been detained in New York on a fugitive warrant, two months after the chief executive of BetOnSports PLC was arrested in the United States on racketeering charges. Peter Dicks was arrested at Kennedy International Airport after his arrival on a flight from England. A July 12 warrant in Louisiana charged Dicks, who lives in London, with gambling by computer, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

CIRCUIT CITY CARDHOLDERS' INFO TRASHED: Chase Card Services, a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said Thursday it is notifying 2.6-million Circuit City credit card holders that computer tapes containing their personal information were mistakenly thrown in the trash. After an investigation by federal and local authorities, Chase said it thinks the tapes - which were stored in a locked box and contained some card holders' Social Security numbers - were compacted, destroyed and buried in a landfill. The company said it has been monitoring the affected accounts, including current and former card holders, and has not found any misuse of personal information.

MERCY HEALTH SYSTEM BEST FOR OLDER WORKERS: Health care systems and hospitals took most of the top honors in AARP's 2006 Best Employers for Workers Over 50, the list's sixth year. Mercy Health System came out on top. The nonprofit offers various flexible work options including weekend-only work, work-at-home opportunities and seasonal work programs that allow employees to go on leave for extended periods of time while maintaining their benefits.