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Topic: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: doulasc
Posted 2013-07-14 17:24:50 and read 6912 times.

Anyone remember Transtar Airlines,served Florida,Texas and California using DC-9-51s,use to be Muse Air. How was their service as a airline? In 1987 they just decide to just lock the doors,never filed bankruptcy.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: AeroWesty
Posted 2013-07-14 17:35:52 and read 6881 times.

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
In 1987 they just decide to just lock the doors,never filed bankruptcy.

They were owned by Southwest at the time. Something about the pilot list integration never worked out so whatever was left of the airline, which wasn't much, was just quietly closed down. For a good year afterwards, the LAX shuttle busses from the parking lots still called out the airline name at T-1, which was kind of strange.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: Polot
Posted 2013-07-14 17:38:31 and read 6860 times.

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
In 1987 they just decide to just lock the doors,never filed bankruptcy.

Well that is because it was owned by WN- they rebranded Muse air as TranStar after they took control of the company. Being wholly owned by the WN obviously means it would never had had a long term future, especially since they were not making money.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: AeroWesty
Posted 2013-07-14 17:40:07 and read 6862 times.

Some old threads:

TranStar Airlines (by Spinkid Jul 5 2002 in Civil Aviation)

TranStar Airlines And Leather Seats (by Jetpixx Jun 19 2005 in Civil Aviation)

Always good to start these threads with a search.  

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: MSYtristar
Posted 2013-07-14 17:41:17 and read 6851 times.

I got to fly them once from MCO to MSY. The outbound leg was actually on Muse Air, and when we returned to fly home a week later, it was all TranStar. I don't remember much about the flight but they had a pretty big operation in MSY, complete with a club lounge and "TranStar Skylink" commuter service operated by Rio Airways to feed the mainline flights.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: type-rated
Posted 2013-07-14 17:55:55 and read 6788 times.

Transtar started out as Muse Air and was the former airline started by Lamar Muse after he left Southwest Airlines. They featured no smoking flights. In fact their early advertising showed a photo of Lamar Muse with the caption "If you can't go an hour without a cigarette, we don't want your business." However, they did pass out a "smokers kit" on board with had brochures from the American Cancer Society and a few hard candies. This was when they only flew HOU-DAL and back.

Later on they expanded rather rapidly flying to a few California & west coast cities. They also flew a few flights to Florida as well. They eventually acquired some MD80's.Eventually Lamar Muse turned over daily control of the airline to his son, Michael Muse when he was 33 years old.

Muse Air advertised the fact that they were more "upscale" than Southwest Airlines was. They had leather seats and the flight attendants wore professional business attire. The last thing Muse Air attempted was to make themselves even more popular
by opening up Erymphian (SP?) clubs featuring health bars that served a number of tropical juice drinks and healthy snacks.
I don't know if they actually opened any but they were planned and announced.

Eventually Southwest Airlines bought them (and renamed them to TranStar) and tried to run them as a more "comfortable airline" at a slightly higher fare than Southwest had. Things went well for awhile until Frank Lorenzo at Continental came along and started service at HOU that rivaled the destinations, fares and schedules TranStar had. So then they started to lose money. Essentially,
Continental ran them out of business. Quite a number of their DC9-50's & MD80's ended up at CO anyway.

For a number of years former Muse Air and TranStar employees held a reunion at the Cockpit Bar & Grill near HOU. It was held on Aug 6 of each year. But I don't know how long that lasted.

Here is more info about Muse Air/TranStar:

Posted 2013-07-14 18:28:18 and read 6634 times.

They were based here in Houston and like everyone said they were originally Muse Air. Southwest bought them in the end. Even though I was a child then, I remember flying them to DAL and MSY. My dad loved them and to this day the Mad Dog is his favorite aircraft. It was an Excellent airline.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: needmolegroom
Posted 2013-07-14 19:01:58 and read 6530 times.

Houston to Dallas and back - SouthWest were the cattle trucks - while Muse were the class act with leather seats, plus Coffee with Belgian Chocolate cookies. Seem to recall that you knew which seat you were getting, and that they were more spacious than you know who. Guess who got all my business? (while they were around). Flying with them was a great experience, sad day when they were acquired.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: freakyrat
Posted 2013-07-14 19:48:26 and read 6429 times.

If Muse Air (Transtar) were still around today they would be very much like Virgin America. They were an airline very much ahead of their time. What really hurt them was the ATC Strike.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: COflyerBOS
Posted 2013-07-14 21:55:14 and read 6252 times.

I flew Muse and Trans Star quite a bit. My parents divorced in 1981 and my Dad moved an hour outside of San Antonio. My mom used to drop my sisters and I off at HOU several times a year for our unaccompanied trips to SAT. I loved MUSE. Was so sad when it went away. A class act. The assigned seating, leather seats, and friendly staff are what I remember most other than the 2 x 3 seating.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: type-rated
Posted 2013-07-15 00:48:56 and read 6116 times.

Southwest employees at the time called TranStar aircraft "Flying Purple Profit Eaters". Although by 1984 the airline had $102 million in revenues, Muse's chief rival and former employer, Southwest Airlines, bought out the fledgling airline, making it a wholly owned subsidiary in 1985 and renaming it TransStar Airlines. Southwest restructured the company's route system to emphasize long-haul service, starting out with flights from California to Florida, and restricted TransStar from carrying mail, air freight, and interline passengers traveling partly on other airlines. Muse himself became vice chairman of the board, but was removed from active management of the company. William W. Franklin, who had been with Southwest since 1971 and who had most recently served as executive vice president, became president of TransStar. Southwest moved the company headquarters to Houston's Hobby Airport and later to Houston Intercontinental Airport. At its peak TransStar served fourteen cities in six states and employed 900 workers, but in 1987, though the company took in almost $80 million in revenues, it still posted an operating loss of more than $10 million. In October 1987, citing "unacceptable losses" and prohibitive competition, TransStar ceased operations. The Houston headquarters were in that 5 story tall white building on the east side of the Gulf Freeway which now houses a law firm. Where the huge letters are now on that building it used to say "TranStar Airlines".

Another thing TranStar had was cloth napkins rather than paper ones. About a year after the closure of TranStar they had a sale at the TranSTar provisioning center. I think I bought a box of those napkins for something like $5.00 and a box of TranStar drink glasses (real glass) for something like $8.00. Yup, they were a class act.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2013-07-15 04:49:33 and read 5366 times.

At Eastern we received I think 5 DC-9-50's from MC and they kept the NxxxMC registrations. I remember because they had the all leather seats inside. I believe that NW picked these up after we ceased oeprations.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: needmolegroom
Posted 2013-07-15 04:58:21 and read 5317 times.

Another recollection - weren't all their MD-80's picked up from Swissair and Austrian Airlines, and so regarded as meticulously maintained, and almost like new?

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: n7371f
Posted 2013-07-15 06:40:37 and read 4819 times.

N675MC is still plying the skies as Delta. It's the last of the ex-Muse D95's flying, inherited from the Northwest merger. N676MC, N670MC, N671MC & N677MC have all been parked in Marana, Az.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: sunking737
Posted 2013-07-15 08:56:40 and read 4116 times.

IIRC Muse Air had a couple of MD80's leased from MSP based Republic Airlines

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: catiii
Posted 2013-07-15 10:57:14 and read 3489 times.

Did Transtar ever operate the L10? I remember in my much younger days seeing an L10 operator at FLL that I thought was called Transtar. It was aluminum, with an orange, red, and brown cheatline down the fuselage. I can't find a photo of it.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: william
Posted 2013-07-15 11:31:26 and read 3358 times.

Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 4):
I got to fly them once from MCO to MSY. The outbound leg was actually on Muse Air, and when we returned to fly home a week later, it was all TranStar. I don't remember much about the flight but they had a pretty big operation in MSY, complete with a club lounge and "TranStar Skylink" commuter service operated by Rio Airways to feed the mainline flights.

When Transtar stopped flying Rio Airways stopped not long after. A shame really.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: laca773
Posted 2013-07-15 12:17:07 and read 3164 times.

They also flew MD80s. The couple of times I flew them, they offered a nice service. I flew in the front cabin, which was some form of Business class as I remember. I liked their dark blue scheme. Very, very sharp.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: Cody
Posted 2013-07-15 12:53:34 and read 3015 times.

Quoting catiii (Reply 15):
Did Transtar ever operate the L10? I remember in my much younger days seeing an L10 operator at FLL that I thought was called Transtar. It was aluminum, with an orange, red, and brown cheatline down the fuselage. I can't find a photo of it.

In the early 1990's a charter carrier named "Air Marc Aviation" changed its name to TranStar. They operated on behalf of tour operators as well as "SkyBus Public Charter" from FLL. They had a DC-10. Maybe that's what you saw. Besides the name, I don't think it had any relation to the original TranStar.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: Tomassjc
Posted 2013-07-15 12:58:00 and read 2999 times.

Quoting laca773 (Reply 17):
They also flew MD80s. The couple of times I flew them, they offered a nice service. I flew in the front cabin, which was some form of Business class as I remember.

I nonreved on them several times back in the mid 80s, as I was commuting between LAX and SAT for awhile. I almost always managed an upgrade. I seem to recall that the service down the back was decent as well, with a small sandwich or salad. One time I vividly remember when they ran out of meals (Nonrevs were last to eat back then). One of the flight attendants had some blueberry muffins in her bag that she baked before the trip and offered me one! Hundreds of airplane rides in my life, and it's the little things that I remember!

Tomas SJC

[Edited 2013-07-15 13:44:55]

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: aaway
Posted 2013-07-15 13:00:07 and read 2979 times.

A tribute site to Muse Air / Transtar

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: catiii
Posted 2013-07-15 13:02:38 and read 2971 times.

Quoting Cody (Reply 18):
In the early 1990's a charter carrier named "Air Marc Aviation" changed its name to TranStar. They operated on behalf of tour operators as well as "SkyBus Public Charter" from FLL. They had a DC-10. Maybe that's what you saw. Besides the name, I don't think it had any relation to the original TranStar.

'
I thought so too but this was an aluminum L-10 with an orange, brown, and red cheatline. That Transtar was South Florida early 1990's "Miami Vice" themed.

[Edited 2013-07-15 13:06:44]

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: n7371f
Posted 2013-07-15 14:52:42 and read 2582 times.

Quoting sunking737 (Reply 14):
IIRC Muse Air had a couple of MD80's leased from MSP based Republic Airlines

I don't recall Republic ever leasing out their MD-80's.

I do know Muse picked up two new MD-80's that were not taken up (NTU) by Frontier in September 1986. They were to be registered N9806F and N9807F. Those (2) planes ended up with Continental after Southwest shut down TranStar.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: sunking737
Posted 2013-07-15 17:10:07 and read 2180 times.

Quoting n7371f (Reply 22):
I don't recall Republic ever leasing out their MD-80's.

I stand corrected 3 MD 80 that were to go to RC instead to Muse/Transtar as RC was having money issues after their mergers with Southern and Hughes.

Topic: RE: Transtar Airlines Shuts Down In 1987
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-07-15 17:48:54 and read 2078 times.

Quoting needmolegroom (Reply 12):
Another recollection - weren't all their MD-80's picked up from Swissair and Austrian Airlines, and so regarded as meticulously maintained, and almost like new?

None of their MD-80s were ex-Swissair or Austrian but all 8 of their DC-9-51s were (3 ex-Swissair, 5 ex-Austrian).

I believe all their MD-80s were delivered new, including a couple ordered by Republic but not taken up.


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