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Topic: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: ElectraBob
Posted 2004-01-21 00:43:49 and read 4232 times.

In the past few months, there have been a couple of very interesting topics posted on this forum about Eastern Air Lines. I have just re-read all of the responses (there were many) but I did not see what I am about to ask previously discussed.

1) In the '80s, EAL established a "middle of the night" hub operation in Houston (IAH). Eastern used A300 aircraft to fly packages/cargo to and from this mini hub in Houston...but, these flights also carried passengers. I know that inbound flights arrived at approx. 2 - 2:30am from various cities. After transferring cargo/packages/passengers, these aircraft then departed IAH at approx. 4-4:30am to these same cities.

How long did EAL run this operation? How were the passenger/cargo loads?? Were any seats removed from these aircraft so that more cargo could be carried??

2) Eastern, for many years, offered an "unlimited mileage fare." For a very reasonable price, passengers could fly unlimited for a two or three week period throughout EAL's domestic route system. There were, of course, rules and restrictions. Can anyone tell me.....the cost...and...give a brief description of the rules??

Thank you in advance... Smile

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: 747buff
Posted 2004-01-21 03:23:13 and read 4169 times.

Question number one, you are referring to what EA called the "Moonlight Special". Starting in 1985, they used A300s to various major US cities. From what I remember reading, the flights had excellent load factors. The flights were paid for with cargo, so passengers had to give up their checked baggage allowance in exchange for a low fare. When Texas Air/Lorenzo took over at EA, the flights were moved to ORD (because EA's IAH operation competed with Lorenzo's CO hub at IAH. They were discontinued around early 1987, I believe.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: 123
Posted 2004-01-21 03:27:46 and read 4158 times.

To b): Indeed in the early 80's they had very convenient packages. I'm not aware of details now, but yes I know I flew LPB-LIM-MIA-SFO-ATL-(Washington)-PHL-(Buffalo)-LGA-MIA-LIM-LPB with them because of the convenient price, sometime in 1981. B-727-200's, L-1011's, A-300's, interesting...!

That was before they lost a B-727-200 on approach ex-ASU to LPB :-(

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: OPNLguy
Posted 2004-01-21 03:34:54 and read 4134 times.

>>>That was before they lost a B-727-200 on approach ex-ASU to LPB :-(

I recall that one well, since it happened on New Year's Day. Sad way to have started out a new year, and especially so for the next-of-kin since the crash site was so inaccessable.

http://aviation-safety.net/database/1985/850101-0.htm

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: L1011
Posted 2004-01-21 03:53:41 and read 4086 times.

I flew on their Unlimited Mileage Fare twice. I don't remember the price, but it was a great bargain. At least two people had to travel together; no singles. And you couldn't go to the same city twice, except to make a connection. I got to go to Acapulco on this fifteen-day trip. Also, I flew from LAX to SFO, with a connection in ATL. I flew on every aircraft type they had at the time. I'd give anything to be able to do it again. By the way, one trip was during the time Eastern was switching from 8-abreast to 9-abreast in coach in their L-1011s, so I had some of both.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Prinair
Posted 2004-01-21 10:03:41 and read 4033 times.

Moonlight Special...

Used A300s...F class was not sold on these flights...unless there was an oversale (with economy service) passengers paid for sodas and snacks and
were allowed to check-in only one bag for a charge of $3.00 if the cargo had not taken up all of the space. It was a very profitable operation for EA.
You could fly MIA-EA / KSEA), USA - Washington">SEA (via IAH) with fares as low as 79.00 one way.

I still have the brochure for the unlimited fare...

It was the EA get up and go passport...If you purchased this you were given a ticket jacket that actually looked like a passport...there was a domestic (included Canada and Caribbean) and an international version. As of 1990 the domestic version was $999 for 30 days of unlimited travel...there were some rules...you could only book within 5 days of the flight you wanted to take...you could not call in and book the whole month at once...also it was specific only to a few classes of service (L or Q mostly)...the last rule was that you could only call EA reservations to book this between 2100hrs and 0500hrs....you could be sitting in reservations having an easy day and at 2100hrs the console for the phone system would suddenly light up like a christmas tree! Later EA came out with a version for senior citizens too...

If you need further info I can locate the brochure...somewhere in my office..
but those were the basic rules...

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Expex
Posted 2004-01-21 10:10:17 and read 4024 times.

Used to work for CO in BOS in the 80s - can remember leaving at night (midnight-ish) after a long day and watching EA (they were next to us in Terminal A) gearing up for the night flights. Pretty cool to see a terminal full of pax at 1am.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Broke
Posted 2004-01-22 13:01:15 and read 3937 times.

Eastern's midnight specials were primarily meant to be cargo flights for Consolidated Freightways with the hub in Houston. Only A-300B4's were used for the operation.
The cargo operation paid for the operation with a profit for Eastern. The passenger seats sold were incremental income and increased the profitability of the operation even further.
All loads were carried in preloaded containers in the lower cargo compartments and there was to be NO check-in luggage. All luggage had to be hand carried and be able to be stowed in the cabin.
Tickets agents began checking luggage and loading it in the bellies taking away the space for its intended purpose. This resulted in CF cancelling the deal with Eastern and starting their own air cargo operation by acquiring Emery Air Freight.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Gr8slvrflt
Posted 2004-01-22 14:10:28 and read 3921 times.

On the Moonlight Specials:

First Class was used for an additional fee. It caused problems in Portland, however, as passengers who paid extra to sit in First from Houston to Seattle were bumped back to Coach in Portland as the Moonlight Special flight was combined with the regular morning service from Portland to Atlanta via Seattle. The through passengers, who had open seating in the back, were made to get off until the Seattle and Atlanta folks boarded with assigned seats then they got back on. Besides, it was kinda like mixing steerage with the jet set!

Yes, seats were removed but not to make more room for cargo. The A-300 normally had 252 seats and required six flight attendants. It was decided that seats 10a and 10c could be removed in the evening and reinstalled the following morning thereby reducing the required flight attendant complement to only five. It became a major headache, though, as the seats kept getting misplaced and people on the day flights were showing up for Seats 10ab (we called them the "Honeymoon Suite" because they were by themselves between F/C and the L2 door) to find a bare floor! Also, all the messing with 10ab tended to screw up the AV system in F/C.

The Moonlight Special started with A300s but 727s and DC9s were added as the service expanded to smaller stations like Phoenix and Charlotte.

Moving the Moonlight Special to Chicago was a disaster (as was everything Lorenzo's minions did). Not only was Winter weather a big factor but there was not enough gate space both for the aircraft and for the connecting passengers. The whole wonderful experiment was turned to crap overnight.

Somebody tried a similar operation out of Las Vegas a short time later. I'm thinking it was either Pan Am or Continental and it was called something like the "Starlight Special." It didn't last very long.

Except for the hours, I loved working the Moonlight Special because they were filled with first-time flyers, backpackers, students and seniors who were thrilled to get such a cheap fare and gave us no problems at all. Finding space for carry-ons was a challenge though!

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Clrd2go
Posted 2004-01-22 14:40:22 and read 3865 times.



I seem to recall my now ex and kids (they're still my kids) flew the Midnight
Special from BOS-EWR-IAH-SFO and back a couple of times..does the BOS-
EWR part sound right?


Jim

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Gr8slvrflt
Posted 2004-01-22 14:46:39 and read 3852 times.

Yes, BOS-EWR-IAH-SFO is correct.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Timz
Posted 2004-01-22 18:33:00 and read 3778 times.

As I recall the brochure for the Moonlight Special did mention you could check baggage for a few extra dollars-- it just wasn't guaranteed to get on the plane with you, and if it travelled on a later flight you had to return to the airport to get it-- Eastern wouldn't deliver it. Sounds fair enough.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: UAL747DEN
Posted 2004-01-22 18:56:33 and read 3748 times.

I didn't have the chance to fly Eastern but really wish I would have. After all the things that I have read about EA, even though I didn't get to fly them they are my favorite airline. I didn't know about the 727 crash and find it very ironic that they lost 2 planes on New Years Eve's. I first became interested in EA when I read about the L1011 that crashed on approach to Miami, I emailed one of the FA's on that flight to tell her that she was a hero to me and she responded back to me to give me some additional details and tell me what she could about the way she was feeling when the plane went down and that just captured me and tells me a lot about the crew of EA and how dedicated they were to their airline. I guess this is probably the wrong place for all of this but just thought I would share.....

Have a great day...!

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Cedarjet
Posted 2004-01-22 19:49:58 and read 3724 times.

Northwest also did a 30-day unlimited travel ticket, no restrictions as I recall except that it was STAND-BY only. Seems cheap now but I'm sure the fare was $449. I think Delta did the same thing. If it seems unfamiliar to our American friends, it might be cos it was only sold outside the US for foreign tourists.

A friend of mine did it, he went from LA to NY and in NY realised he'd left his camera in LA, so he went back and got it.

Topic: RE: A Couple Of Questions About Eastern Air Lines
Username: Clrd2go
Posted 2004-01-22 20:13:11 and read 3679 times.



I didn't fly Eastern a lot...PHX-ABQ, BOS-MCI-BOS, BOS-SJU-BOS. But,
I always enjoyed flying with them.


Jim


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