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16 Years Ago Today: Eastern Airlines Falls Down  
User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11897 times:

Yes, 16 years ago today was Eastern Airlines' final day of business.

I have the newspaper article and I would like to share it here.

USA TODAY, Front Page
Sat./Sun., January 19-20 1991

Eastern Airlines Calls It Quits

By Doug Carroll
USA TODAY

Eastern Airlines, strapped for cash and passengers, has shut down. All flights were canceled as of midnight EST Friday, company officials said.

American Airlines says it will honor all Eastern tickets. American already has filed with the Transportation Department to operate Eastern's Miami-Toronto and New York-Montreal routes.

Eastern, in bankruptcy reorganization since March 1989, is the biggest airline to go bust in U.S. aviation history. It now is likely to be sold in pieces in order to pay creditors.

Rumors flew this week that Eastern was close to death, but trustee Martin Shugrue said he was negotiating with investors.

The rumors intensified Friday when newsletter Aviation Daily issued a news release stating that Eastern would cease operations within hours.


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84 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN917ME From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 730 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11872 times:

What a sad day indeed. Good airline, bad management.

User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1872 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11823 times:
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What a sad year for the airline industry 1991 was, two icons of aviation history went engines up.

RIP Pan Am and Eastern.

I wonder sometimes, if Eastern hadn't been bought by Frank Lorenzo and crew, along with Continental, frontier, people express, new york air and texas international (wow, what a buying spree) would they still be in business today?



Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11785 times:

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 2):
RIP Pan Am and Eastern.

...And a little more than than decade later, TWA would be gone too.

TW, EA, BN, and PA...gone, but not forgotten


User currently offlinePiercey From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 2233 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11782 times:

16 years ago today, my grandfather lost his job.

D@mn that's depressing.



Well I believe it all is coming to an end. Oh well, I guess we are gonna pretend.
User currently offlineN917ME From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 730 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11766 times:

Quoting Piercey (Reply 4):
16 years ago today, my grandfather lost his job

Yes, is it very depressing. Many good, hardworking people lost more than just their jobs.


User currently offlineBA747 From Venezuela, joined Sep 2005, 107 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11751 times:

What a coincidence. I can´t believe I run into a passenger tonight in CCS, that used to be an Eastern customer, and at the beginning he did not recognize me until I told him that his office and the EA CTO where right next to each other. Amazing. All I can say is there won´t be another airline like EA.
It was great to work with them, it was like a big family, service onboard was impeccable. Walt Disney World had it´s own ride called "If You Had Wings". We were the Official carrier of the Magic Kingdom.
But it had to happen thanks to Lorenzo and his way of running the airline.
The rest is history.



The World`s Favorite Airline
User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5533 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 11736 times:

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 2):
I wonder sometimes, if Eastern hadn't been bought by Frank Lorenzo and crew, along with Continental, frontier, people express, new york air and texas international (wow, what a buying spree) would they still be in business today?

The Wings Of Man probably would have limped through the rest of Bush 41
era. With the dot com boom of the Bubba 90s Eastern would have probably
rebounded but, would have had to restructure or merge or be absorbed into another airline which would then have retained the Eastern name. Maybe
US would have tried what they want to do today with DL and become the new
Delta. But back then the new Eastern. If Eastern flew into the 21st. Century
whether as a stand alone or as taken over, it would have had to navigate through the the 911 horrors and the dot com bust and "W" economics. If Eastern made it through all that recent shit, it would be flying today maybe even flying high today!



Oh, what could have been.

The above picture is from one of the best virtual airline sites!



http://www.evair.com/
I highly reccomend visiting this site.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineBA747 From Venezuela, joined Sep 2005, 107 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 11724 times:

What a coincidence. I can´t believe I run into a passenger tonight in CCS, that used to be an Eastern customer, and at the beginning he did not recognize me until I told him that his office and the EA CTO where right next to each other. Amazing. All I can say is there won´t be another airline like EA.
It was great to work with them, it was like a big family, service onboard was impeccable. Walt Disney World had it´s own ride called "If You Had Wings". We were the Official carrier of the Magic Kingdom.
But it had to happen thanks to Lorenzo and his way of running the airline.
The rest is history.



The World`s Favorite Airline
User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1465 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 11541 times:

A coworker's father was a pilot for Eastern and he lost his job 16 years ago to the day. We have had several discussions about it even though he and I have worked together only a few months. His father's career was never the same, as is expected in a heavily unionized field.


Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 11518 times:

Eastern did more than fall down. Fell down an elevator shaft is more like it.


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User currently offlineAviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1360 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 11490 times:

For a time in the 1970s, EA was actually the largest airline *in the world,* this side of Aeroflot.

PS



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
User currently offlineWestJetYQQ From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2987 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 11444 times:

Anyone have the exact date of PanAm's demise?


Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 11409 times:

Quoting Aviateur (Reply 11):
For a time in the 1970s, EA was actually the largest airline *in the world,* this side of Aeroflot.

If I recall, I think this claim might depend on which metric you use to measure the claim -- I remember asking about it on here a couple of years ago. I don't believe they were ever the largest, fleet-wise (but if you know otherwise, please correct me), but I think they did rank first in enplanements for a while. Not saying you're wrong at all, just that they never came particularly close to 12,000 various civil aircraft.  Wink

Also, wasn't "carrying more passengers than any airline in the free world" part of their advertising around this time?



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineBaron95 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1335 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 11391 times:

Quoting N917ME (Reply 1):
Good airline, bad management.

Excuse me for asking but what exactly made it a particularly good airline?

You say the management was bad, we all know that the unions representing the employees had no business sense to accept needed work rule changes/flexibility plus pay adjustments. The fleet wasn't particularly well thought out. The route structure was concentrated over the most congested airspace in the world. They had a first rate Airline Reservation System (I think that is the only asset that Lorenzo really wanted out of EA).

So, again, what makes it a particularly good airline? It is OK to be nostalgic, but if it is just nostalgia lets not elavate EA higher than they once were.



Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 11365 times:

Quoting WestJetYQQ (Reply 12):
Anyone have the exact date of PanAm's demise?

December 4, 1991.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 11361 times:

I walked into the crew room at LAX and everyone was huddled around the Master Board. Tacked up where our trips were always posted was a teletype from Marty saying it was over.

Flight attendants were not allowed to ride the ferry flights on the aircraft headed back to Atlanta. We had to fend for ourselves.

Fortunately a Delta manager at LAX authorized travel for all of us.

Eastern was my first real job and i worked there eleven years. I loved it. It was a fun place to work. The people were kind. It really was like a family. We just allowed ourselves to be misguided by fools and failed to take responsibilitiy for our own lives and thinik for ourselves.

I was picked up immediately by Pan Am, which ran less than a year before Delta hired me. When I got my first Delta paycheck, I felt I had finally achieved financial security in my chosen field. Nobody saw 9/11 coming. That one day forever changed the lives of nearly every single person employed in aviation. Tens of thousands of Eastern employees never returned to aviation.

I'm rambling. But I miss working for Eastern. If life only offered second chances, I'd behave much differently than I did at the time.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineBaron95 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1335 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 11345 times:

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 16):
Nobody saw 9/11 coming. That one day forever changed the lives of nearly every single person employed in aviation.



Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 16):
I loved it. It was a fun place to work.

I think we can all agree that it was much more fun to work in the aviation industry before derregulation (no cut throat competition, more laid back) and 9/11 (forcing yet another round of efficiencies to be extracted). That, by the way, was also true for Telecom (before derregulation and the .com bust) and a number of other industries.

In the end though, the Aviation industry is serving the customer better today. Prices went much lower after derregulation and lower still after 9/11 (particularly for business travellers). All measures of efficiency (from aircraft utilization to revenue per employee) are way up. I think all of us in Aviation must be proud of the tremendous progress that was made in the midst of such dislocations as bankruptcy, 9/11, etc.



Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2264 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 11198 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 10):
Eastern did more than fall down. Fell down an elevator shaft is more like it.

Eastern didn't fall. Eastern was pushed. Two of the biggest, greediest egos in the business, Frank Lorenzo in management and Charlie Bryan from the machinist the union screwed Eastern and it's people into the ground. Neither of these two alleged leaders gave a damn about anything but stroking themselves and winning their personal war. The business realities of the day did not exist to these two or their leadership teams.

After all was said and done Frank Lorenzo was exposed as the corporate rapist he is. He should have gone to jail, and to this day the government will not let him "run" an airline.

Where is Charlie Bryan today?



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineDeltaDAWG From United States of America, joined May 2006, 782 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 11166 times:

I remember flying on EA just a couple of days before the end from BOS-DCA-ATL. I remember there being only maybe 10 people on the flight from DCA-ATL. You already knew the end was near, you just had that feeling.

Sad bit of aviation history.

And yes, I remember the "World of Flight", now Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger ride. EA & DL fought all the time for customers in ATL, and up down the East coast for the coveted Florida business.

Big version: Width: 598 Height: 396 File size: 247kb


I also remember losing about 60,000 unused miles when they finally went under.

I miss the "Whisperjets"!



GO Dawgs, Sic' em, woof woof woof
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 20, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 11117 times:

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 14):
Excuse me for asking but what exactly made it a particularly good airline?

I lived out west, so I'm going to have a much different perspective on EA than those who flew them up and down the east. I still have the ticket and boarding pass from my first flight with them from EWR to DCA in '79, and I recall how even on a short flight they just seemed professional and cosmopolitan, in comparison to the much more relaxed atmosphere of carriers I grew up flying with in the west.

I started flying them a lot to ORD and coast-to-coast through their MCI hub, and on their LAX-BOS nonstop 757s, and even in the years I was the lowest level of elite, the gate agents would recognize me and issue an upgrade without my even asking. The one odd time I flew them back home out of EWR instead of BOS, the flight to MCI was delayed, and they'd just become "sister" airlines with CO, and I'd been automatically rebooked on CO's nonstop to LAX. When I checked in, the agent said something like, "oh dear, you don't want to fly with them do you?" and rebooked me via ATL in First. I was even offered a delicious tandoori chicken dish for my meal that had been boarded for a no-show passenger. The f/a simply asked if I wanted something out of the ordinary, and I accepted. They really just took care of their passengers, at least me, and I was sad to see them go.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineEasternSon From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 672 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 11029 times:

So sad to be reminded of this day in history. I'm fighting to decide whether I'll give my Father a call.

Good ole Gene started flying with Eastern in the 1960's, on the Boeing 720. Later, he moved up to the L1011, a plane he was very proud to fly. That's where he met my mother - an Eastern stewardess on the L1011. When he became Captain Gene, he flew DC9s.

He loved the airline so much, and remained loyal to it even as Frank Lorenzo ran it into the ground.

He and a lot of his friends worked very hard for the airline. Most of them came from an era that taught them management would be there for them in times of crisis. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

He's an old man now, but still gets a pretty big smile on his face when he remembers the good times. Sadly, though, it only lasts a minute - until he remembers how and why it all ended.



"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
User currently offlineSmashme33 From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 11011 times:

Planespotting at ATL was not quite the same after Eastern folded.

User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 5120 posts, RR: 28
Reply 23, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 10952 times:

What was the fleet count and employee count when they shut doors? I also read that the pax loads were pretty low? Does anyone have a guess on the load factor before shutdown? Were the pilots on strike, or what was going on with that?


I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 10930 times:

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 23):
Were the pilots on strike, or what was going on with that?

the IAM (International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), went on strike March 4, 1989. A sympathy strike called by the pilots represented by ALPA (Air Line Pilots Assn.) and flight attendants represented by TWU (Transport Workers Union) effectively shut down the airline's domestic operations. Non-contract employees, including airport gate and ticket counter agents and reservation sales agents, did not honor the strike. Due to the strike, flights were cancelled, resulting in lost revenue for the airline.

More here:

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


25 LMP737 : In my short time in the industry I've come across a number of ex-Eastern employees. Having heard some of their stories it keeps things in perspective.
26 Cody : The employee count was between 18,000 and 21,000 depending on who you ask and who was actually considered an employee. Not sure about the exact fleet
27 Post contains images Smashme33 : ouch
28 Cba : Yeah, that was back in the days when people, including heads of corporations had a conscience and actually cared about other people than themselves.
29 EasternSon : I'm sure there are thousands of people who would like to see Frank Lorenzo suffer the same fate as Ken Lay. I could probably find six or seven who wo
30 PHLBOS : Had EA survived; J7 would've had to look elsewhere to start.
31 DeltaL1011man : him and Carl Icahn i would say the to most hated people in the flying world.
32 Phllax : Had Eastern survived there would have been NO J7!
33 Post contains images Flight7E7 : Actually, Frank Borman and his antics-plagued by his damned indecisions and looting the larder (executive pay bonuses, stock options-taking planes out
34 Eastern023 : And that would have been okay. I grief the lost of Eastern to these days. Never again Eastern 023 LAX-MIA-EZE-SCL on a DC10. Ahhh, eve though I was o
35 Malmoaviation : Even if I never flew with Eastern it's not a happy day. Eastern, Pan Am, TWA, Ansett, Sabena, Swissair.. I got the privilege to fly with some of them,
36 DL021 : I fondly remember Eastern Airlines. I also remember the ruthless raping of the airline by Lorenzo as well as the blind lashing out of the "Machinists"
37 EA CO AS : IIRC, the fleet stood at 168 aircraft when EA finally shut down. At their largest, the fleet was well over 300 planes - not a lot by today's standard
38 Tiger119 : Does anyone have a list of all the aircraft that Eastern fly? I know they had DC9s, 727s and L1011s, what else? David
39 DALelite : i do sadly remember... regards: DALelite
40 USPIT10L : The jets included DC8s, DC9s, A300s, A310s, 727s, 747s, 757s, D10s, L1011s, and props included DC3s, DC4s, DC6s, L188s, Convair 340s and 440s, and Lo
41 AA737-823 : Who is J7???? Surely ya'll aren't referring to Centre-Avia Airlines, Russian Federation? 'Cause that's what comes up when I hover over it... Isn't Air
42 F9Animal : Valujet. Now Air Tran.
43 Lumberton : In fact, wasn't this Airbus' first big sale in the U.S. market?
44 NorthStarDC4M : 1st Period, with some interesting financing too... 720, 747-100 (leased), never had A310s, also large fleet of Martin 404s, also DC-7s. And ended up
45 WDBRR : Wasn't Eastern part of OnePass and you could earn miles flying EA or CO? Eastern did not have a separate FF program, it was merged into OnePass after
46 PA110 : Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe EA ever operated A310 equipment.
47 Post contains images Zippyjet : Try more like being dry humped to eternity and squealing like a pig. Another spin.
48 EA CO AS : Actually OnePass was EA's program from the get-go, and CO was lumped into it after the purchase by Texas Air.
49 ImperialEagle : Not many! Good memory! B-720, '7B's, Martins. I think thats got it covered post WWII.
50 WDBRR : according to Webflyer.com.... Eastern's was called: "Eastern Airlines Frequent Traveler Bonus" Continental's was called: "Continental Airlines Travel
51 EA CO AS : I stand corrected! My bad. Shows how age has distorted my memory!
52 Post contains links AwysBSB : I would say that in the same way of Pan Am, National and Braniff, Eastern became a strong brand on a weak airline. Prices indeed went lower after der
53 TPAnx : Gone..but never forgotten. TPAnx
54 TaxPilot : Of course it has happened many times. Such as Pan Am (of Portsmouth NH), Braniff, PSA. The names & trademarks have value and are often sold in bankru
55 Baron95 : Really? Sad for whom? Certainly not for passengers that saw ticket prices become cheaper and cheaper, routes become more noumerous, schedules more co
56 Post contains links and images Zippyjet : Don't forget the compact version of the 707 better known as the 720! My first jet flight was on an Eastern 720 from BWI (then Friendship) to MIA way
57 Post contains images AwysBSB : Has Eastern ever resurrected? Deregulation cannot explain things that have been occurring in US aviation since 1978. In other words, none of those as
58 AeroWesty : I believe Webflyer is correct. I still have the leather ticket folder they sent me upon the merger of the programs, embossed with "OnePass" on the fr
59 Ptcflyer : I remember the night -- 16 years ago. I was on one of the last Eastern Flights out of Atlanta on the Evening of January 21, 1991. I was travelling fro
60 Bobnwa : I have a hard time believing that ever happened. It is just a story that has built up over time!!!
61 Charlienorth : Doesn't sound like Mr. Borman's style.
62 Lostturttle : I thought it was 18 holes! I too miss Eastern, they served Bermuda in the 80's with up to seven flights a day from first thing in the morning to earl
63 Post contains images Stirling : The first L-1011 I ever saw, was an Eastern example sitting in the dark on the ramp at PDX about to depart on the red-eye to ATL via Seattle in 1978.
64 Trintocan : Eastern - I remember them very well. I flew with them back in the 80s to and from my aunt, who lives in Richmond, Virginia. They also served POS for m
65 Cf6ppe : I believe the story about using a revenue aircraft for a family private vacation can be tied to National Airlines and the Matag family. A close frien
66 Kellmark : I don't believe there was any truth to this at all. I worked as a Flight Dispatcher, Operational Planner and Director in Systems Operations/Dispatch
67 Yyz717 : You forgot militant unions and workforce, among the worst in the industry.
68 Post contains links and images PHLBOS : Slightly off-topic: Is it me or does that Golden Falcon logo resemble AS' early logo? View Large View MediumPhoto © Mel Lawrence It's almost as
69 NorthStarDC4M : Lots of logos back then were similar. The "Speedbird" logo was common. AFAIK there is no genesis link between EA an AS.
70 Ssides : What was his actual crime? I've heard him demonized time and time again on this board, and people always say he should be "in jail," but no one can e
71 NorthStarDC4M : Criminal... well not then, now im sure some of it would be considered Fraud or illegal use of funds. He basically carved everything off of EA for not
72 Jfk777 : I flew many an Eastern flight from Florida to New York. Also several flights fom Miami to Barranquilla, Colombia by 727-200, this was EA first city in
73 Bobnwa : While I agree that Lorenzo was a snake, nothing you described is illegal by the laws then or now.
74 Sllevin : I categorically don't believe that. Frank Borman DEFINED the term "straight arrow" and is one of the most honorable men ever to walk the face of this
75 Cody : I was always told that Frank Borman was pretty serious when it came to running the company. Someone once told me (and I cannot confirm this is true)
76 Eastern023 : How did it end up in the filthy hands of Lorenzo?.
77 Dtwclipper : People, Eastern was on life support by the time Lorenzo got there. They were bleeding money all through the 80's. In the first nine months of 1983 Ea
78 LMP737 : Yes Eastern was in rough shape when Lorenzo showed up. However so was Continental when Bethune took the helm. In fact they were on the verge of a thi
79 Sllevin : And the lessons at Eastern had been learned. They knew there would be no white knight. Steve
80 DB777 : My miles stayed in the OnePass account and never expired. I've since used them for a trip or two on CO.
81 Cf6ppe : As I remember by 1985, the pay cuts for salaried personnel were at either eighteen percent (18%) or twenty-two percent (22%). Note that the pay cuts
82 NASCARAirforce : I don't remember where I read it recently - maybe Airliners, or Airways Magazine where there was an artical about Eastern Airlines and that some guy
83 Eastern023 :
84 MaidensGator : My first commercial flight was on an Eastern DC-9, DCA-ATL-MLB in 1970. I flew them many times between DC and Florida in the 70's and early 80's. The
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