From Benzinga: Gone but not forgotten US based airlines. Have you flown any of them back in the day?
We’ve gathered a list of airlines that were once prominent names in the sky, of which are gone now but not forgotten.
Mohawk Airlines 1945-1972 (not that I can recall, and no, I never got the haircut either)Why it died: Labor issues and strikes forced a merger with Allegheny Airlines. Fact: Hired the first African-American flight attendant in the U.S.
Allegheny Airlines 1953-1979 (I recall a puddle jumper on US Scair that connected me to Pittsburg from Canton-Akron airport) Why it died: Rebranded as USAir, and eventually US Airways. Fact: Founded by the du Pont brothers Richard and Alexis as an airmail service in 1939.
Aloha Airlines 1946-2008 (I flew them often back in the 80s, and preferred their 10 pass tickets for a flat fee) Why it died: Chapter 11 bankruptcy Fact: Trip 243 was a regularly scheduled Boeing 737-297 flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1988, the plane was severely damaged after an explosive decompression in flight, but it landed safely at Maui’s Kahului Airport. Despite such a significant loss of integrity, the aircraft’s successful landing was unprecedented and remains so today.
Capital Airlines 1941-1961 (I recall a flight from or to the DC area and West Virginia or Tennessee) Why it died: Merged with United Airlines. Fact: Host of the world’s first TV in-flight.
Frontier Airlines 1950-1986 (I flew from Denver to KC to St Louis since I got stranded in Denver by TWA) Why it died: Bankruptcy, though the company reopened as the current Frontier Airlines in 1994. Fact: Frontier hired the first female pilot.
Trump Shuttle 1989-1992 (No comment!) Why it died: Defaulted on debt. Fact: The planes featured chrome seatbelt latches and solid-gold bathroom fixtures.
Muse Air 1981-1987 (Not that I can recall) Why it died: Liquidated by Southwest Airlines in 1985. Fact: Prohibited in-flight smoking long before it was federally banned.
Ozark Airlines 1950-1986 (Yes, from Little Rock to Biloxi, I think) Why it died: Merged with TWA. Fact: Comedian George Carlin was a spokesperson for Ozark.
Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) 1927-1991 (Probably the best of all, to and from Europe, great food, attentive flight attendants, big roomy planes) Why it died: Bankruptcy Fact: During the 1970s, two Pan Am flights operated around the world to set or break previous around-the-world flying records.
Tower Air 1983-2000 (never) Why it died: Bankruptcy Fact: Featured in Hollywood films such as “Liar Liar” and “Turbulence.”
Eastern Airlines 1926-1991 (I remember meeting a cute flight attendant on my way to the Big Apple, where we had a whirlwind of food, theater, and fun) Why it died: Bankruptcy Fact: The company re-emerged in 2010 under the name Dynamic Airways.
ValueJet 1993-1997 (not that I recall) Why it died: A fire in 1996 was caused by the activation of chemical oxygen generators stored in the cargo hold. The fire damaged the plane’s electrical system and eventually overcame the crew, resulting in the deaths of 110 people. Fact: The company took a reverse merger with AirWays Corp after the tragic 1996 accident.
Continental Airlines 1934-2012 (I enjoyed many flights in First Class, though we often had west coast politicians on board who were real A$$holes. The airline was bailed out of bankruptcy by a guy from my hometown, Larry Hillblom of DHL fame).
Western Airlines 1926-1986 (My favorite on the west coast since they served champagne!) Why it died: Merged with DeltaAir. Fact: Champagne was offered for free for those of legal drinking age.
The saddest bankruptcy was PanAm. I think they first “glamourized” air travel back in the 50’s. My grandparents often flew PanAm to and from Japan. I flew them only once, from Rome to New York for about $99 one way!!
I recall many others: TWA, HughesAirWest, Crashcade, PSA (love the mini skirts), Northwest Orient, US (Sc)Air, Piedmont, Mesa, Republic, Rocky Mountain, Sierra Pacific, Air California, Alleghany, World Airways, Hawaii Pacific, Horizon, Island Air,
So, which airline will be next? Spirit, Frontier, ?
It seems we had many choices back then. I guess in terms of air travel, size matters.