It wouldn't be wrong to say that smokers have become the new untouchables. They are ill-treated and ostracised. If they blow smoke, the rest of the world breathes fire down their necks. But a smokey rebellion seems to be starting and the particular gentleman playing a latter-day Spartacus is Alexander Schoppmann. Mr Schoppmann is planning to launch Smoker's International Airways - Smintair, if you will.
The planned airlines is supposed to start operations next year with daily flights between Dusseldorf and Tokyo - the Germans and the Japanese being less unwilling than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts to give up on an unhealthy pleasure. The plan is to give smokers unwilling to go through cold turkey in a long-haul flight the choice of a nicotine rush.
But then, as we know all too well, there is no smoke without a fire. With fear of terrorists - and we're not talking about smokers here - on the rise, air travellers are condemned to leave their lighters and matchboxes behind at airports (where do all the confiscated lighters and matchboxes end up?). Something needs to be worked out on this front. Otherwise, we could have travellers with unlit cigarettes dangling from their lips who forgot to read the fineprint. Which in turn could end in Smintair's visionary plans going up in smoke.