TWA History

 
Old Mar 23, 01, 10:15 am
  #1  
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TWA History

This probably isn't the best forum for this, but whatever --

I know there have been some people who have been here a long time, and to them I ask these questions...What was TWA's service like (comparatively) back at their peak? When was their peak? What sorts of international routes did they serve at their peak? Mostly from where -- JFK?

thanks.
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Old Mar 23, 01, 3:28 pm
  #2  
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I'd say their peak started in the 40's and ended in the early 80's. TWA, along with Pan Am, was the flagship for international air service.

I can remember a "snack" flight in coach yielded a small steak and onion rings! First class service was downright hedonistic. Pleasant, engaging, and sycophantic flight attendants catered to your every whim. All food was served off a trolley, and all items were served and retrieved with silver trays!.....in short an era "gone with the wind" and never to return.

Where did they go? Most major cities in the U.S. and and practically all in Europe. Cairo, Riyad, and Tel Aviv to boot. Heathrow alone was served from JFK, LAX, BOS, STL, and OHR!

It's a sad ending for TWA given its past.

Oh, for the good old days....
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Old Mar 23, 01, 4:12 pm
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The first FF program that I enrolled in was TWA. I flew them a lot during the late 80's on their BRU-AMS-JFK route (747 or 747SP), later changed to BRU-LHR-JFK, then BRU-JFK (L1011 Tristar).

I liked the airline, certainly much more than AA. Service wasn't bad in coach, but not too much different than today.

During the late 80's, there were flights from JFK to LHR, CDG, FRA, Zurich, Oslo Fornebu, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona (nonstops during the summer), Lisbon, Athens, CDG-Munich/Geneva/and Stuttgart. Nice, Moscow, and Hamburg were served for a short time. Vienna was served from another city (FRA?). Bombay was also served.

In fact, one TWA captain ruined his life near the end of his career when he was convicted of smuggling narcotics from Bombay.

Another captain, Richard Norris, made a record breaking over the poles flight in his spare time.

Captain Richard Testrake, who commanded the 727 which was hijacked to Algiers and Beirut, unfortunately died of cancer within the last 3 years.
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Old Mar 23, 01, 4:58 pm
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I recall sleeping berths on flights to Japan. They pulled out from where the overhead bins are now. I think on the Super G Connies. Little portholes in the roof with view of the stars. Probably in the mid 50s. I don't remember how long the flight was, but probably in excess of 12 hours.
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Old Mar 23, 01, 7:33 pm
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Originally posted by Skylink USA:
During the late 80's, there were flights from JFK to LHR, CDG, FRA, Zurich, Oslo Fornebu, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona (nonstops during the summer), Lisbon, Athens, CDG-Munich/Geneva/and Stuttgart. Nice, Moscow, and Hamburg were served for a short time. Vienna was served from another city (FRA?). Bombay was also served.
As was Madrid.

I really liked the unlimited international upgrades to business class for Gold card holders (25K miles flown, IIRC, got you Gold). When you checked in, if there was a seat available in Business, it was yours for the asking. Frequently they would upgrade your traveling companion as well, even though she (in my case) wasn't Gold.

What a great airline in those days!
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Old Mar 23, 01, 8:19 pm
  #6  
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I would appreciate more info about the period from 1980 to 1990 ... Thanks!

[This message has been edited by BizJet (edited 03-23-2001).]
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Old Mar 26, 01, 2:09 pm
  #7  
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Well in 1986 TWA bought Ozark and created hub in STL. Carl Icahn also took TWA over and managment/labor relations went real sour and so began the service also. In 1990 he sold many of the international routes to American. They went through bankruptcy a couple of times, etc. Icahn and his raiding TWA started them on the path which ended them up where they are now. Recap:

Icahn>Ozark>Labor Problems>Service Problems>Bankruptcies>Route Sales>Karabu Agreement>AA buys
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