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Airlines That Never Reached Their Cruising Altitude

PEOPLExpress Airlines (1981-1987). Here's how Homer Simpson put it: "It all happened during the magical summer of 1985. A maturing Joe Piscopo left Saturday Night Live to conquer Hollywood; PEOPLExpress introduced a generation of hicks to plane travel; and I was in a barbershop quartet."

A no-frills carrier, PEOPLExpress charged you $3.00 per checked bag and catered to the masses. That is, until they'd taken on so much debt they couldn't survive on what the masses were willing to pay. By 1985, through many mergers, PEOPLExpress was the United States' fifth-largest airline, and even offered a flight to Brussels. A First Class cabin was added, a frequent-flyer program was started, and a more traditional pricing model was adopted. This didn't work out. Continental absorbed PEOPLExpress operations on February 1, 1987.

Freelandia Air Travel Club (1973-74). The brainchild of Ken Moss, a 31-year-old Syracuse dropout, Freelandia enticed passengers with promises of low-cost travel, natural food, an in-flight waterbed, and a hopeful slogan ("Not-For-Profit").

For an initial membership fee of $50, you were eligible for too-good-to-be-true fares. After Moss appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, membership quadrupled, to 8,000. The members grew frustrated by Freelandia's staggering performance record: 85% of flights were canceled. And they only ever had two planes. The Air Travel Club was grounded for good before its first birthday.

trump1.jpgTrump Shuttle (1989-1992). In 1988, Eastern Airlines sold its northeastern routes to Donald Trump for $365 million. Trump did as Trump does -- classed up the place with fancy chrome seatbelt latches and gold bathroom fixtures. They offered laptop rentals to passengers and were among the first to allow self-service check-in at kiosks.

But this was not a great time to be in the airline business. The run-up to the first Gulf War sent fuel costs soaring, and the U.S. was in the midst of a recession. Trump Shuttle could never turn a profit, defaulted on its loans, and ceased to exist in April 1992. Its routes were served by USAir Shuttle, whose parent company purchased a 40% stake in what was left.

Other airlines I learned about while writing this post: U-Land Airways (Taiwan), Wizz Air (Hungary), Flybaboo (Switzerland), and Buddha Air (Nepal). If you've got a story about a defunct or oddly named airline, I'd love to hear it.

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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