Meet the Couple behind PS Air  - Visit Palm Springs tag-img

Meet the Couple behind PS Air 

PS Air Bar

Tom Beatty and Dennis Costa – One Plus One Equals Too Much Fun

ps air
Credit: George Duchannes

By Barbara Beckley

Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away! 

Palm Springs is Frank Sinatra land. But it’s not Ol’ Blue Eyes inviting you to fly the cocktail sophistication of the 1950s and ‘60s. It’s PS Air flyboys Tom Beatty and Dennis Costa!

As international flight attendants (Tom with Continental and then United Airlines for 34 years; Dennis two and a half with National Airlines) they lived the high life. And when they moved to Palm Springs, they thought we all should, too.

“We want to fly you to fun,” they say with dazzling smiles. And so they do. But the groovy fun inside PS Air, Palm Springs’ – and likely the world’s – only bar, restaurant and entertainment in a plane – didn’t happen overnight. The partners in business and life had been thinking about the concept for 15 years. Tom remembers he was on a layover in Tokyo when the idea hit. “When you have a dream and you follow your heart it will come true,” says Dennis.

PS Air owners Tom Beatty and Dennis Costa
Tom Beatty and Dennis Costa

First, Some Wine…

So first, Tom and Dennis met – as only this fun-loving twosome could. At the LA Gay Rodeo in Burbank in 1998. Tom wasn’t a rodeo sort of person, but he recalls a friend said “you’ve got to go.” Dennis, a lifelong farmer, first dairy and then zinfandel grapes for Sutter Home Wine on his 200-acre farm in Lodi, was. He was there for the “Goat Dressing” contest. “Putting BVDs on a goat in 20 seconds,” he laughs. Tom and Dennis met at the Dance Tent…and the rest is history.

Tom moved to the farm – flying out of SFO as a flight attendant. “It was like a gay Green Acres,” he laughs. When it was time for city life, the couple moved to Las Vegas – and vacationed in Palm Springs. “We loved Palm Springs’ smaller village ambiance,” Tom says. So in 2003, they made the move.

The twosome wanted a bar, but that wasn’t in the cards, yet. In May 2019, they opened Bouschet, a high-end boutique wine and specialty foods shop on South Palm Canyon Drive. It was an instant success thanks to Dennis’ expertise as a wine grape grower and vintner. He and Tom had founded Rainbow Ridge wines which came out the gate with a Wine Enthusiast 91 rating, the first wine made from the obscure varietal Alicante Bouschet.

PS Air Lands in Palm Springs! 

A year later, March 2020, they opened PS Air – and it took off. The line was out the door! “It validated everything we thought it would be,” they agree. Some airline folks had poo-pooed the idea. “Who wants to sit in an airline seat,” they recall colleagues saying. Turns out everybody! Including everyone in the airline biz. “We are the most famous imaginary airline,” Dennis and Tom beam.

ps air seating

More than an airline “theme,” the speakeasy-style PS Air (up a ramp at the back of Bouschet) is inside a real 737 fuselage, with real airline seats – Economy from Southwest Airlines (“we found a packet of peanuts in one,” Dennis chuckles); First Class from National Airlines – and real airline windows, with eye-catching views like the one from that Twilight Zone TV episode. Glamorous posters of beautiful stewardesses and handsome captains, and clouds billowing from the ceiling surround you in the glory days of flying. “Be sure to look at the bathroom,” Dennis says with a wink. Mile High Club anyone?

PS Air -- Glamorous posters and real airline windows with memorable views.

Return to the Glory Days

Like the glory days – when passengers gathered at the bar inside the plane – the gregarious hosts want us to connect, and have fun. The airline seats intentionally face each other. “Our greatest satisfaction is seeing the smiles on guests’ faces as they sit together and meet new people.”

Don’t be a snob about seating. “Do you want to sit where Michelle Obama sat?” servers ask. The First Lady sat in Economy. And talk about fair! All PS Air staff from busboys to bartenders wear four stripes!! In real life – airlines, cruise lines, the military – four stripes are for Captains Only.

ps air experience

Plus – as in the heyday – good service. And entertainment! “I always wanted to be in show business,” Dennis admits. “PS Air brings out the Judy in me. Let’s put on a show!!!!” 

The “Saturday Night Flight” features bubbly, fine food served on an airline tray (of course), music and naughty flight attendants dancing in the aisle. Sunday’s “Disco Boozy Brunch” stars the PS Air Fly Girls; plus movie nights and live entertainment on other evenings. PS Air also is available for private functions of up to 50 people. And Dennis and Tom give back to the community with events such as a holiday “Flight to the North Pole” featuring snow, Santa and Mrs. Claus and two real airline captains navigating for the Boys and Girls Club and Make a Wish Foundation.

ps air show

It’s Not by Accident PS Air is Flying High   

Dennis’ and Tom’s charisma, yes. But also teamwork. “You have to respect each other’s input and ideas,” says Dennis. “You have to allow each other to do what they do best,” says Tommy. “Tom is the best manager there is, with accounting and finance, making things happen, administrating,” says Dennis. “Dennis is so good with people, warm and connecting. And visual and a problem solver,” says Tom. “As a farmer you have to be good at solving problems,” Dennis agrees. “Together we’re really creative.”

And gracious. The flight duo give full credit to good friend Jim Feeley, creative director for American Idol for 10 years, who shared their bar-in-a-plane concept from the beginning and “brings our ideas to life,” says Dennis.

What’s in the future?  “Never stop having fun,” they say.  Easy to do onboard PS Air.

ps air bar

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