Openness rattles airline industry

This is, no doubt, the era of glasnost or openness in the airline industry. Thanks to the Internet, once tightly held data on fares and available seats is now more transparent than ever, which seems to have caught the industry unprepared. So, to stretch the Soviet-era metaphor, will glasnost lead to perestroika — real change?

In order to answer this question, a simpler one must be asked first: Should the airlines fear the transparency they didn’t seek? Is the ability of any of us to directly access real-time data on fares and seats without the help of a travel agent bad or good for the carriers? Although some executives have done the politically correct thing and publicly embraced the transparency, in reality the so-called legacy carriers are still struggling to make up their minds…

Natural-born misfit

Milos Forman has never rebelled against his films being labelled “quintessentially American” — he is just not a revolutionary type, he says — but the Czech-born director passionately dismisses such categorisation every time he is asked about it.

“For me, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ is a Czech film, because when you are young in a communist country, all you dream about is breaking free,” he says of his 1975 film set in a psychiatric hospital, which earned him his first Oscar and established him as one of the world’s most prominent film-makers.

“Hair” (1979), another Forman movie now considered a classic, “was about young people rising up against the status quo — something we all dreamt about under communism but didn’t dare to do,” says the 70-year-old director…