Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

American pilots and flight attendants will be carrying designer bags, cases

With the new uniforms, American Airlines female front-line employees will receive a complimentary Cole Haan handbag.
With the new uniforms, American Airlines female front-line employees will receive a complimentary Cole Haan handbag.

A new outfit requires accessories, right?

On Thursday, American Airlines announced it will give 52,000 employees free Cole Haan accessories as it rolls out new uniforms for pilots, flight attendants and customer-service agents. The Fort Worth-based carrier started shipping 2 million uniforms to employees last weekend.

“We wanted to try a line of accessories and handbags and attachés that really sort of complimented the uniform but also gave employees the ability to really feel proud of where the brand is going,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president of global marketing.

In 2013, American hired fashion designers KAUFMANFRANCO to develop new uniforms for the airline’s front-line employees. However, the initial set of prototypes was considered drab and ill-fitting so the carrier worked with employee groups to develop new designs that were tested last fall.

Female employees will receive handbags and scarves while male employees will get attaché cases and pocket squares, the company said. American employees will begin wearing the new uniforms Sept. 20 but are receiving them this summer in case they need to have alterations made. Fernandez said alterations will be offered for free at Men’s Wearhouse.

Fernandez would not reveal how much American is spending on the accessories for employees, although he said similar handbags and Saffiano leather attaché cases retail for between $300 and $500. The bags were designed to hold iPads that are used by flight crews and other electronic devices that employees regularly use at work.

The company will also offer a co-branded line of additional accessories from American and Cole Haan for purchase that are only available to employees and their families and friends. Fernandez said the fashion retailer will offer products at discounted prices for employees during flash sales held twice a year.

A new way to get to Mexico

Low-cost Mexican airline Volaris said it will begin flying between Monterrey/Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The carrier plans to launch the new route July 8 with flights twice a week.

“Our services are based on a point-to-point strategy, offering the lowest fares in the market and on board Americas’ youngest fleet,” said Volaris Chief Commercial Officer Holger Blankenstein.

The flight will depart Monterrey at 5:26 p.m and arrive at DFW at 7:20 p.m. The return flight will leave DFW at 8:35 p.m. and arrive in Monterrey at 10:21 p.m.

How GameStop got its name

Richard Fontaine, who along with Dan DeMattio and Barnes & Noble’s Len Riggio helped create GameStop from a couple of bankrupt chains that sold computer software and games 20 years ago, is retiring from the retailer’s board.

Fontaine served as chief executive from the company’s founding in 1996, before it was even known as GameStop, until August 2008. He has since served as chairman and executive chairman. He plans to not seek re-election to the board and retire when his term expires in June.

GameStop was formed after Riggio acquired NeoStar Retail Group, which operated the Software Etc. and Babbage’s chains, out of bankruptcy in 1996. The company, then called Babbage’s, was bought by Barnes & Noble and acquired a used video game seller called Funcoland. Shortly thereafter, the stores started to be renamed GameStop.

So where did that name come from? In a recent interview, DeMattio — who served as president and chief operating officer under Fontaine, and then followed him as GameStop’s CEO — told us how it came to be.

The first GameStop store, he said, was in Minnesota’s Mall of America. DeMattio had his eye on an 800-square-foot space near the entrance to Camp Snoopy, the indoor amusement park. Unlike Babbage’s or Software Etc., this small store would only have games, so it needed a different name.

“Len Riggio had bought a bookstore chain in Austin called Bookstop … then proceeded to take the best Bookstops, expand them to 25,000 square feet and renamed then Barnes & Noble,” he said. “So I said, ‘How about GameStop?’ 

The name stuck.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko