airBaltic hijacks Pokemon Go! bandwagon

Latvia's national airline, airBaltic, on Wednesday attempted to hop aboard the worldwide craze for the computer game Pokemon Go! And yes, much to our shame, we are reporting it.

A press release by the Riga-based flag-carrier said it had "embraced Pokemon Go! and invites travellers to stop by the airBaltic ticket office at Riga International Airport and catch a Pokemon."

Jouni Oksanen, the airline's senior vice president for E-commerce (a job title which suggests there are also several less senior vice presidents for E-commerce as well as a more senior president), said airBaltic customers "increasingly embrace Pokemon Go! and we are the world’s first airline to do the same, to make travel more fun.”

He did not cite the source of the claim about increasing Pokemon usage among fliers, but given the prevalence of hunting imaginary Oriental cartoon animals among the general population, plus the slavish devotion of the international news media (now including LSM) to report any and every instance of Pokemon mania, no matter how craven a marketing stunt it happens to be, it is probably a reasonable supposition.

"Everyone visiting Riga is invited to stop by the airBaltic ticket office at Riga International Airport, catch a Pokemon and post a screenshot with the hashtag #airBalticPokeHunt to win flight tickets in Business Class," the airline added.

airBaltic's Poke-positive promotion is in contrast with advice from other transport companies such as Latvian railways, which has warned of the dangers of hunting large-eyed generic Japanese fantasy beasts close to rail tracks.

Let's just hope the Pokemon do not escape from the airBaltic ticket office and wander all over the runways at Riga International Airport, or gain access to the flight deck of a plane. Havoc could ensue. 

For anyone who has had the foresight to live in a cave for the last month, Pokemon Go! is a desperately banal but apparently addictive game which prompts not only children (who have an in-built excuse) but also adults who should know better to "catch" a variety of sub-Manga hybrid animals via their cellphones while maintaining a tenuous sense of semi-ironic nostalgia for the first Pokemon craze they experienced twenty years ago.

It has not yet been reported to be a cause of death in tragic circumstances, but according to all the laws of the news cycle, that is the next logical step to which we can look forward, followed by calls for the game's banning.

However, soon afterwards people will simply lose interest in the whole phenomenon.

Gotta catch 'em all! 

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Janis
As if we needed another reason to hate Air Baltic...
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