Monday, November 19, 2012

The NWA Perfume Caper

To:      Karen Schmit, Editor of BITS AND PIECES, read by U.S. airline folks, active and retired.   

From:  Lady Skywriter

August, 2012
Hi Karen:
My son's girlfriend's mother just asked me a question I couldn't answer.  It was this:
Several years ago she traveled on NWA to China and the passengers were given a small bottle of perfume.  She cannot remember the name, but said it came in a small black bottle.  She loved it and would like to get some.
Unfortunately, I have no first hand knowledge because I never flew the Orient.  Are there any NWA folks out there who can help us out?  (She kept the empty bottle for several years and finally got rid of it.)
If anyone knows, please contact me at  Thank you!
Anne Billingsley Kerr 
Published in Karen's August 31, 2012 BITS AND PIECES, my request brought this reply:  

"I think the perfume may have been L'Air du Temps.   It can be purchased in most department stores.  It's not too pricey, has a light spicy fragrance, and comes in a pretty crystal bottle with frosted-glass doves decorating either the bottle or the bottle cap depending on the size of your purchase.
Many years ago NWA received a ship load of L'Air du Temps samples from Nina Ricci. From my understanding, these samples were intended to be given to the flight attendants (cabin attendants at that time) to promote the Nina Ricci product via the airline industry's in-fight crews.  In other words, wear our perfume;  when customers ask what you're wearing, promote L'Air du Temps.  These samples were lovely 1-inch high bottles with frosted doves on the cap with a tiny gray velvet bow around the neck.   Due to this promotion, I still occasionally wear the fragrance to this day.  It's quite nice.Back in those days rumor had it ... NWA was supposed to give one of these samples to each and every cabin attendant as a promotional "gift" from Nina Ricci.  However, rumor again, NWA decided to keep the samples and to give the samples out only to those of us who received an "orchid" letter for good passenger service.   If the rumor is true, NWA probably ended up with a surplus of L'Air du Temps samples and decided to give the samples to their first class customers instead of giving them to those of us who represented NWA in the front lines.   For the two or three years in which those small bottles of fragrance were offered to the "orchid letter" cabin attendants, those who never received one were angry and had nothing good to say about their company that denied them this elegant fragrance.   We were all pretty ticked off that NWA abused such an offer intended for us from Nina Ricci.   Not sure any of this is true, but this is what I remember regarding this particular incident.Hope I've been of help." 
Pat Carlson
Thank you so much, Pat! 

Are there any other recollections of this intriguing perfume caper?  It would be fun to hear them.