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Tower Air Thread  
User currently offlineAA61Hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6181 times:

I was thinking back, a long while ago I was on the inter-coastal in Fort Lauderdale. I remember then I saw my first 747 classic take off. It was amazing. It was a Tower 747 (from FLL). It started off east. I assumed it was going to JFK.

Where did Tower fly? I saw some pictures on the database of them at LAX, London, SJU...Where else did they fly?

Any Tower Air info would be great.
Thanks!


Go big or go home
59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSpruit From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2005, 375 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6171 times:

Have you looked at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_Air

Tower Air (IATA: FF, ICAO: TOW, and Callsign: Tee Air) was a low-fare and charter U.S. airline that operated from 1983 until 2000, when it declared bankruptcy and was liquidated. The airline later competed with People Express in the high-density U.S. domestic market, but began operations with international

Contains some good stuff!



E=Mc2
User currently offlineRJpieces From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6166 times:

I flew them JFK-MIA in 1995...I remember them flying to Paris, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles from JFK....It is very freaky to drive by their old JFK terminal which basically just has a lock on the door as it has the feel of a ghost town.

User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6166 times:

Their destinations in 1998 were:

Athens
Baltimore
Boston
Fort Lauderdale
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Miami
New York
Paris
Philadelphia
San Francisco
San Juan
Tel Aviv

When they folded, i beleive they only had the following destinations:

Los Angeles
Miami
New York
San Juan
Santo Domingo
Tel Aviv

Thanks
Mike


User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2505 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6142 times:

I once flew them and counted my lucky stars upon setting foot on land circa 1999. The "classic" 747 used every inch of runway on departure despite being no more than one third full. Two of the lavatories supposedly filled up during our flight which was amazing considering nobody used them! The food was repulsive, as was the condition of the cabin which appeared to be unchanged since the aircraft rolled off of the assembly line. The retro bulkhead panels and "No Smoking" signs were a trip! All in all, the experience resembled the prologue of a Phuket Air flight before its demise!


777fan



DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
User currently offlineOttoPylit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6142 times:

I remember once seeing a Tower Air thread and someone had posted an image of an 18th century slave ship cargo hold as the seating arrangements. Once of the funniest a.net posts I've ever seen.


OttoPylit


User currently offlineAlitalia744 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 4753 posts, RR: 45
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6122 times:

flew them once, JFK-ATH, almost kissed the ground when we landed.


Some see lines, others see between the lines.
User currently offlineAA61Hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6116 times:

I have heard that the service and safety of the Tower planes were lacking...Thanks for the info so far guys!


Go big or go home
User currently offlineAirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6098 times:

Nobody mentioned their penchant for delays and cancellations?  Smile

I took them once LAX-JFK.. and I'll second the everyone else's "I kissed the ground when we finally landed". Talk about shake rattle and roll.. and I'm not talking about the weather.


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6089 times:

They also flew to Delhi and Rio for a brief while, failing to maintain both beyond a year.

-A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineRJpieces From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6060 times:

I also remember my aunt telling me that she saw Pan Am seatbelts on them once....Which makes sense given where the planes came from.

User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5257 posts, RR: 23
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6032 times:

Well...they had a lot of service reliability problems, and some of their old Classics had their share of difficulties, but they never had a fatal accident in 17 years of operation. About the only really good thing one can say about them.

User currently offlineRichierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4274 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6032 times:

Quoting 777fan (Reply 4):
I once flew them and counted my lucky stars upon setting foot on land circa 1999.

A common Tower theme, it seems.

I had the [mis]fortune of flying them once as well. I flew JFK-CIA (Rome/Ciampino) many years ago. I've made a lot of flights with a lot of different carriers, but this flight still ranks as one of my most memorable (in terms of scary experiences). The ancient 747 shook and twisted upon takeoff: two things I will never forget about my ride in 'Sam' were the randomly intermittent flashing of the reading lights on takeoff and the bouncing and shaking of the overhead bins during some very mild turbulence upon climbout. I considered myself a survivor rather than a passenger.

The rest of the flight was, thankfully, uneventful - although it did make my PeopleExpress flight of a few years earlier seem luxurious by comparison. Whether you like LCCs or not, there is nothing like Tower Air flying today (thank God), at least in the US and Europe.



None shall pass!!!!
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21677 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5986 times:

I also had the misfortune of flying them once, from JFK-Orly. We were seated in a bulkhead row, directly behind the bathrooms. Halfway through the flight we noticed that the carpet underneath us was saturated with a certain bluish-green liquid....

What made it worse was that my sister, who at the time was no more than a year old, was in a Tower Air-provided "bassinet" (really a cardboard box), on the floor.

Needless to say, we never flew on Tower Air again.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMagyarorszag From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

I never heard or read anything positive about Tower Air from a passenger perspective. They had, after PA & TW some of the oldest passenger B747s. One may wonder how they lasted for so long with what seems to have been a really crappy fleet and service.

Quoting RJpieces (Reply 10):
I also remember my aunt telling me that she saw Pan Am seatbelts on them once....Which makes sense given where the planes came from.

That's the fourth B747 built.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stefan Sjögren - Stockholm Arlanda Photography



[Edited 2006-08-08 00:00:13]

User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8142 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5964 times:

Quoting AA61Hvy (Thread starter):
London

Tower never flew to the UK, but Air Europe chartered one of their 747s for a summer, and the aircraft was initially in full Tower livery (ie all-white with titles). At some point they changed the titles:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stuart Prince


Scheduled domestic flights were JFK to Miami and LA, sometimes to San Juan. The company was owned (in part) by an Israeli company, which is interesting cos Tower were one of the biggest US airlines involved in Hajj flying, several years running. And also explains their one international route of note, JFK-Brussels-Tel Aviv.

The airline were a byword for shabby inflight service and ancient, scary, clapped out planes. I know the crash in Final Destination is based on TWA 800, which was certainly a geriatric jet, but I always imagine it as Tower Air (their Tel Aviv service may also have transited Paris, incidentally) - the knackered exterior, corrosion etc. The insides of the planes were held together with electrical tape and the toilet walls were covered in grafitti. As close to a flying subway car as you can imagine.

But cheap.



fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineMagyarorszag From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5943 times:

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 15):
Scheduled domestic flights were JFK to Miami and LA

They also flew to SFO before moving to OAK, or was it always only OAK ?


User currently offlineDartland From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 644 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5913 times:
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I flew them JFK-TLV and back in July/August 1997. It was a charter JFK-TLV and a regular flight TLV-JFK. I remember the charter being pretty bad --- but the regular flight was better by comparison -- edible meals (albeit barely) and a movie (1 movie on crappy screens for the 12 hours flight).

The one good thing about them was that they shared security (and other ops also, I believe) with LY (maybe partly owned by the same Israeli company?). This meant that although service was bad, planes were old, delays were common -- you at least felt safe (from one point of view).

But --- kudos to Tower -- if they flew those age old 747s for 17 years with never an accident -- they must have bee doing something right!

Just goes to show that no matter how ugly the plane -- doesn't mean it's a safety risk.


User currently offlineRichierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4274 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5873 times:

Quoting Dartland (Reply 17):
But --- kudos to Tower -- if they flew those age old 747s for 17 years with never an accident -- they must have bee doing something right!

I think the lack of a Tower Air crash is more because of good fortune rather than great maintenance or safety!

For the record, I flew on this beast (you can just see the name 'Sam' on the forward fuselage):

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Johan Ljungdahl


Did they name all of their planes or was there something special about Sam?



None shall pass!!!!
User currently offlineMagyarorszag From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5847 times:

Quoting Richierich (Reply 18):
Did they name all of their planes or was there something special about Sam?

AFAIK, only two! B747-127 N601BN was named "Sam", and B747-130 N603FF was named "Suzie".

Cheers.


User currently offlinePetazulu From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5840 times:

They were so scary! I flew them once on a cheap fare JFK-ORY roundtrip. I almost did not get on the return flight. It was the ONLY time in my lifetime of flying that I was genuinely concerned about my safety. The 747 we were on was shockingly old and had missing pieces, tape, rattles and rolls, etc.

Kudos to Boeing for building such a sturdy craft- because surely their 17 year run was an accident waiting to happen. A yea ror so after I flew them, they did have an accident (not fatal) where one of their 747's nose gear collapsed on landing or taxi (can't remember) at JFK.

The terminal in JFK was basically a cargo hanger. I think there may have been a hot dog vendor and a news shop. HUGE crowds with nothing to do but wait for delayed planes.

I do remember that the employees themselves were quite nice (inspite of all the obstacles to success they had).


User currently offlineSpinkid From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5819 times:

The terminal at JFK is still their with signs intact. I've been forced to park around it. It now serves as the overflow parking lot for long term parking.

Does anyone think that terminal might ever be used again?


User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5811 times:

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 15):
Tower never flew to the UK, but Air Europe chartered one of their 747s for a summer, and the aircraft was initially in full Tower livery (ie all-white with titles). At some point they changed the titles:

Actually, they did in 1998. I am looking at their 1998 website which shows under reservations that they flew to London.

Thanks
Mike


User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8683 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5788 times:

My friends dad flew for them He retired from them and flies for ( I guessing) Polar, or Atlas Air.

MCOflyer



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineDonzilasse From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 244 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5742 times:

I remember that in 1991 or 1992 I flew with Tower Air from GOT (Gothenburg, Sweden) to Fort Lauderdale. I believe that it was a scheduled flight but some Scandinavian travel agencies bought charter chairs on the flight. The flight was okey at that time. My second experience with Tower was on a flight from FLL to JFK and that was not a good experience. They had at that time only two people for check-in and we therefore ended up to be an hour and a half late out of FLL. Because, of that I missed my connection with KLM to Amsterdam and had to run back and forth between KLM's terminal and the Delta terminal in order to instead get on a later Delta flight. Many people were in the same situation (about 10 or so). The KLM flight was still at the gate but they refused to once again open the door to the plane so that we all could make the flight. That was the last time I used Tower as well as KLM.

25 Ualcsr : Oh God, Tower Air!!! I never flew them personally, but our check-in counter was very close to theirs and we frequently got the "Tower Air canceled my
26 Post contains links and images LN-MOW : They've come a long way since then! Took this at VCV last week. Incidentally I talked to an AMC Master Sargeant the other day and he told me that Tow
27 Wjcandee : OUTSTANDING!! And yet AMC kept using them and suspending them and reinstating them and suspending them and reinstating them and then finally terminat
28 ORDTerminal1 : does anybody remember seeing a poem dedicated to Tower Air that was reminscent of "The Night Before Christmas"? It was so clever, if anybody knows whe
29 Charlienorth : They flew military charters into MSP in the early to mid '80's,usually with the old Big Orange N601BN,I remember when it had to divert because Volk Fi
30 JAM747 : I believe Air Jamaica leased one in the late 80sor early 90s That was my first and only time I flew on a 747-100. I did not know it was leased from To
31 Thomasphoto60 : Your kidding.......Wow! I have many fond memories of '601' when she flew for a REAL airline. You know, it's really sad to think that Braniff's 'flags
32 VTNYC : My one and only flight on Tower (JFK-MIA) was memorable because it was the only aborted landing I have experienced in my life. On final approach to Mi
33 Richierich : Please see my pic of '601' in Reply 18... At the time I flew her, I thought she was an ex-Pan Am bird based on the generic color scheme. I guess I di
34 Post contains images BH : Back at my old job we did the ground handiling for them, always late,rollers and the tires in the compartment didn't work. Don't get me started on the
35 Charlienorth : It was strange being in the cockpit of 601 and thinking "this is where it all ended,"the stories of Capt. Charles Lamb and his crew. Should have been
36 Comet4b : In Canada we had an airline Worldways we always used to enjoy making fun of. Once when I was flying to PIK with my wife and 4 kids(ok so I flew them a
37 Mats : Tower Air (or "Towers Air" as it was called by the Carey Bus Drivers), was notorious for its long lines at check-in. The lines in New York would be so
38 Coyoteguy : OK, here is some positive stuff... they were CHEAP.... I flew on them several times when I was living in NYC but needing to get 'home' to MIA or back
39 Wjcandee : Yeah, that's right, actually. Brain cramp on my part. The female I was thinking of was our Congresswoman, Carolyn B. Maloney, whose staff wrote an ex
40 DAirbus : Ah yes, Tower Air. That brings back some memories. My family and I flew Tower Air JFK-MAD back in 1988 when we went to spend the summer in Spain. I do
41 LTBEWR : The main business of Tower Air was the JFK-TLV route, as the designated 'discount' airline for that route (like Israir today). I never took them, but
42 Post contains images LOT767-300ER : The Chosen Instrument
43 Post contains links and images DAirbus : [quote=LOT767-300ER,reply=42] Ok. That statement can be seen as a faux pas on my part   but I was referring to the historical perspective of Pan Am a
44 Post contains images AirScoot : I've heard this story before.. and I certainly believe it happened. Do you have a source for the FAA fine? I went looking for it but all I can find i
45 Bennett123 : So were they all scrapped?.
46 Richierich : Ahhhh, N747PA. I also had the good fortune of flying in this aircraft once upon a time! My flight happened to be on no less than PA103, some time bef
47 Jmy007 : I had the pleasure of flying Tower Air one way, once. It was April of 1993, and I flew JFK-TLV. This was at a time before their hanger terminal. They
48 Eajpecrca : I flew scheduled Tower service on a 747, JFK-SFO in 1997, if I recall correctly. It was definitely a second-class operation in terms of equipment appe
49 B747-437B : Actually, it was JFK-AMS-BOM and they flew it in 1995-1996.
50 Richierich : I'll defer the final answer to somebody with a airframe register but I'd go with 'yes'. Apparently Tower didn't fly a plane if it wasn't already 15 y
51 STT757 : Little interesting bit of Trivia: The final episode of the First Season of MTV's Road Rules show ('94 or '95?) had the contestants climb a mountain wh
52 AA61Hvy : Kit. I don't know if she does anymore, but she worked on some morning show on ESPN2...Maybe it was Cold Pizza? Before the cute girl took over.
53 Post contains images SafetyDude : IIRC, the Tower "terminal" was used for either TWA 800, 9/11, or JFK AA A300 wreckage. Yep--that was always a big joke on the buses that used to run
54 JFK69 : Yeah its the 9/11 home right now. Every summer my family and I used to fly them from JFK-TLV. The only reason why we flew them was because their firs
55 SurferX : Let's not forget that Jim Carey chased a Tower Air 747 down the runway in Liar, Liar...
56 Post contains links ScottB : I'm surprised no one has referenced this yet, but there were some absolutely priceless reviews of Tower Air on epinions: http://www.epinions.com/trvl-
57 Donzilasse : I do not remember so well but wasn't Tower Air FF?
58 Wjcandee : Yep. It was.
59 Wjcandee : I don't know about the others, but TWA 800 went to the old Grumman facility on Long Island, and then to the FAA national training center.
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