Cody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1928 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (13 years 11 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1237 times:
Thet also had a strange route from Washington Dulles to West Palm Beach nonstop. I know......I was on it. They also flew 747's to Denver (after they bought Frontier), LAX, SFO, and they were going to start LAX-HNL service but they didn't.
Fanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1932 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (13 years 11 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1230 times:
Ah, what sweet memories this topic brings of what was once my hometown airline. PeoplExpress started flying 737-117s (ex CP Air) and 737-130s (ex Lufthansa) between Newark and Buffalo; expansion, however, was very rapid. When the airline introduced service to Pittsburgh, I no longer had to endure an 11-hour bus ride to come home from school. One could purchase a ticket on board; food, drinks, and baggage were extra-cost items, but at $28 (compared to USAir's $124) per flight, who was to argue? Despite the no-frills approach, I found the young staff to be professional and helpful. The planes, though old, were refurbished and always looked fresh. PeoplExpress, along with New York Air, was purchased by Texas Air around 1985; the planes were absorbed into Continental's fleet.
I remember the first time I saw the 747s, acquired from Braniff and Alitalia, resplendent in their gleaming new coats of paint. Like the old North Terminal from which PeoplExpress flew, some of these proud birds have been scrapped, as a picture in Airliners.net poignantly depicts.
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Jtb106 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 11 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1221 times:
Back in '84, I was a lovesick 18 year old who flew them PIT-EWR-BOS to visit my girlfriend at school. As far as I was concerned at the time, PE saved my life since I felt like I would die if I didn't see her. What a pathetic idiot I was...Anyway, I remember the F/A pushing a cart up the aisle and paying for the ticket on the plane. Bizarre! Maybe I've remembered it wrong. But the big thing that sticks out in my mind was the zoo that Newark's airport was. Horrible! But like Southwest does for people now, they made a trip possible that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to make. I remember how revolutionary that felt at the time.
Sorry I din't have any numbers for you, just a dumb story...
Johnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2554 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (13 years 11 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1210 times:
I have fond memories of PeoplExpress, because they were cheap enough for me to fly from CVG-EWR-LGW, on "the Grand Tour" after college. I went to Europe for the first time in 1985, and drove from Louisville, KY to CVG to catch those godawfuly ugly 737s. I had my ticket already, but I do remember them coming around to collect the absurdly low fares from people on the plane (was it $29/$49? I can't remember).
Here I was this young kid from Kentucky going to London with a friend. I had never really traveled to a large city (driving through Atlanta on the way to Florida was it!), and here we were landing in Newark, New Jersey, at the absolutely worst-looking terminal ever! I remember seeing planes from "normal" airlines at "normal" gates with jetways while landing. BUT... our plane taxied to the "wrong side of the tracks" over to the North Terminal. First, there were no jetways -- you exited on stairs. Then --MY God! --it was like a scene out of Dante's Inferno. People laying everywhere with backpacks, having picnics on the main walkways (!), in a decrepit, old terminal. I was both appalled and spellbound! It was like summer camp, umm but really without either the "summer" or the "camp". Those that were there, know what I mean...;-)
Then we had to board a PeoplExpress bus from the North Terminal to the "other" Terminal (nowadays I believe it's Terminal C -- I remember looking at pics of the future project way back then!). I was aghast at how Newark looked. I thought to myself, "How could anyone live here?" It looked like it was crumbling before my eyes! There was only a PeoplExpress counter in the deserted ticketing area, and we boarded the 747 to LGW.
After two months of tramping around Europe, we made our way back to Gatwick. When we reached the ticketing counter, I was shocked at the line "undulating" down the terminal floor! I remember thinking, "These Brits must be amazed at what we Yanks will do for a cheap ticket!" Not to show my age or anything like that (;-)), but the movie showing was "Desperately Seeking Susan" starring the "infamous Madonna" (the agent's words, not mine). Everyone standing in line applauded loudly when they made that announcement in the terminal -- take that whatever way you want!
I remember paying for a meal on the flight, and it seemed that it was a relatively ample mixed basket of cookies, salami, crackers, cheese, etc. You know, I really can't remember if the booze was free, but knowing PeoplExpress, it probably wasnt!
Of course I've taken other trips to Europe on Pan Am (a moment of silence please) and Delta, but none of those matches the fun of my first time on PeoplExpress!
MCOtoATL From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 474 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (13 years 11 months 1 day ago) and read 1214 times:
People Express was founded by Don Burr and a few others who left Continental during the Frank Lorenzo regime. They were able to provide affordable transportation by buying older planes and by hiring lower-paid non-union workers. Al of the employees were required to buy stock in the company and had to rotate jobs, meaning that even the pilots had to take their turn at loading baggage, selling tickets, etc...
Don Burr had battled with Southwest when he was at Continental, so he tried to imitate much of their success.
Three months after People Express started, the air traffic controllers went on strike, crippling the major airports. PE decided to then focus on less-congested airports, such as Columbua, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Sarasota, etc... They did extremely well flying from the Northeast to Florida, where Eastern and Pan Am were struggling. And because of low fares, they did well in head to head competition with the major airlines.
But they grew too quickly, adding London and Brussels to their growing list of cities served. Unlike the slow, steady, and profitable growth of Southwest, PE became too big. They had a problem, however, with reservations. Unlike the major airlines, they had no computerized reservation system, and they did not require one to buy non-refundable tickets (in fact you paid on the plane.) Their phone lines were jammed, and in 1984 some 6,000 potential customers each day were unable to get through! They started being caled "People's Distress."
They bought Frontier, as well as a couple of commuter airlines. But the larger airlines were finally able to stop PE. The other airlines' advanced computer systems allowed them to sell some seats cheaper than PE, while still making tons of money on other, higher-priced seats. American started this method, and it worked extremely well.
Finally, in 1986, PE was in trouble and they were sold to Continental (actually Texas Air.)
By the way, this information is from "Hard Landing," by Thomas Petzinger Jr., which is arguably the best airline book ever.
NKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (13 years 11 months 21 hours ago) and read 1194 times:
I used to fly on PE (as a cockpit jumpseater) a lot and many pilots made no secret of the fact they were just holding on till they could get a job at a major,and used to make derisive remarks at some of the younger ground/air staff,referring to them as "Kool-aders" due to their obsequious devotion to the system. I remember what some employees made and I remember the pay to be absurdly low. I also flew them quite freqently as a paying passenger and from a passenger perspective they weren't that bad at all to fly...and I actually liked the "train" style of onboard payment. The planes were clean. Yeah EWR was a hellhole,but was easy to get to and the route system was pretty good. Many of their 727's (the ex-Alitalia ones) were but a few years old at the time,and the ex-Lufthansa 737-100's were in quite good shape for their age. I'd say they wrote the book on low fare travel. The only thing I took offense to was that many of the fresh young staff they had seemed to be brainwashed wih a disdain for any other carrier but theirs...way beyond pride...arrogance. Well,they found out in good time.