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Why Is US Considered A "legacy" Carrier?  
User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 6
Posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 10557 times:

The common definition of "legacy" carriers in the United States are airlines, now largely hub and spoke, that existed as "big" airlines (trunk carrier used to be the term) prior to Deregulation. The big six now are AA, UA, CO, DL, NW*, and US, and used to include WA Transworld Airlines (USA)">TW, BN, EA, WA, PA.

Why US???

There's no legacy at US anywhere equivalent to the others. US started as a Local Service carrier, Allegheny. (Interestingly, all other Local Service carriers were absorbed into the other Legacy Carriers.) They were over-ambitiously renamed USAir in 1979, but didn't really have any national coverage until merging with Piedmont and AirCal in the late 80s, well after deregulation. (To be fair, "legacy" carriers such as CO, WA, BN, and NW were also somewhat regional-centric -- but they weren't local service carriers!)

For the Phoenix side of the current airline, HP was one of the success stories of new entrant carriers after Deregulation, growing into a national carrier, albeit with some fits, starts, and retreats. But, certainly not "legacy". I'd argue (and have before) that WN is as much a legacy carrier as US, rising to national prominence about the same time. And they have hubs, too!  Smile (PLEASE, that's just a throwaway joke, we've hashed the "WN is a hub airline" debate before, let's not do it again. Focus on US here.)

In my assessment, US is more like HP (hence merging with them), WN, AS, FL, and B6, evolving into national airlines post-Deregulation.

So, who came up with including US as a Legacy carrier, and why? JUST curious. No axe to grind or anything.

-Rampart

67 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePacNWjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 10466 times:

"Legacy carrier" is a term of convenience, not any sort of official designation. All of your observations are correct, but people use broad expressions all the time to classify and catalog groups that in actuality typically contain diverse members. Inasmuch as US has its roots in Allegheny (if not necessarily all of its constituent parts, i.e., America West), its core components (including not only Allegheny but also Piedmont and PSA) can be traced back to pre-deregulation days. So, as a term of convenience, "legacy carrier" fits US better than other descriptors. Just my  twocents 

User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6294 posts, RR: 33
Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10446 times:

Allegheny was a larger airline than Continental before deregulation.


Damn, this website is getting worse daily.
User currently offlineSimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 917 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10413 times:

Some good reasons why they should be grouped in with the rest:
-History: because US Airways developed primarily from airlines that were interstate airlines before deregulation. Southwest and Alaska were entirely or mostly intrastate, and the other airlines did not yet exist.
-Size: US Airways flies 70 billion ASMs/year, closer to Northwest (80) than your alternative grouping (JetBlue, 50).
-Labor: strong unionization.
-First class cabins: a 'must' for legacies, optional for your alternative grouping.
-International scope: more than just Caribbean/Mexico flying, they fly widebodies to Europe, which puts them in a different category.
-Alliance membership.
-Self-perception.

Quoting Rampart (Thread starter):
(To be fair, "legacy" carriers such as CO, WA, BN, and NW were also somewhat regional-centric -- but they weren't local service carriers!)

I would add Eastern to this list, as their network was mostly East Coast-centric, much like US Airways' was.


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3827 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10391 times:

I always thought a legacy carrier referred to those airlines that flew interstate routes and therefore were regulated by the CAB prior to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6835 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10351 times:



Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 2):
Allegheny was a larger airline than Continental before deregulation.

By RPMs?


User currently offlineByrdluvs747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10312 times:



Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 3):
-Labor: strong unionization.

Wrong. The presence of unions have nothing to do with whether an airline is a legacy carrier. Look at DL.

Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 3):
-First class cabins: a 'must' for legacies,

Not really.

Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 3):
-Alliance membership.

So AA wasn't a legacy until it helped form Oneworld in 1999 or UA until it formed Star in 1997?

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 4):
I always thought a legacy carrier referred to those airlines that flew interstate routes and therefore were regulated by the CAB prior to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

That's probably the best definition. Everything else is random perception.



The 747: The hands who designed it were guided by god.
User currently offlineMSNDC9 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10280 times:

There is no such thing as a legacy carrier. Its a made up derogatory term that means nothing.

User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10266 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 4):
I always thought a legacy carrier referred to those airlines that flew interstate routes and therefore were regulated by the CAB prior to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

All the local service carriers flew interstate routes. Had any of them survived independently as Allegheny/USAir did, would they too be now considered Legacy carriers? TI bought CO to vault into majorness, then subsequently absorbed Frontier. Republic, a big amalgamation, was breaking out of local service mode until swallowed by NW. OZ to TW. Would've been interesting had any of them survived. Yeah, they're old, but... not among the "legacy" list of major carriers.

Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 3):
-History: because US Airways developed primarily from airlines that were interstate airlines before deregulation. Southwest and Alaska were entirely or mostly intrastate, and the other airlines did not yet exist.
-Size: US Airways flies 70 billion ASMs/year, closer to Northwest (80) than your alternative grouping (JetBlue, 50).
-Labor: strong unionization.
-First class cabins: a 'must' for legacies, optional for your alternative grouping.
-International scope: more than just Caribbean/Mexico flying, they fly widebodies to Europe, which puts them in a different category.
-Alliance membership.
-Self-perception.

Some of these are later developments, or not exclusive of legacy majors. All local carriers had 1st class cabins, I believe. Alliances didn't exist in the 70s and most of the 80s. Most if not all the local service carriers were union, but HP wasn't for quite some time (and was Delta?). And as I say above, all local service carriers were interstate carriers, too. That US became legacy-like is only from evolution of the past 20 years, not the past 40 or 50. So did AS and WN.

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 2):
Allegheny was a larger airline than Continental before deregulation.

That's true. CO in the 50's and 60's was very local-service like, sort of fringe among the majors. It had visionary leaders, though. I thought that your namesake, Piedmont, was more national than US prior to their merger, with a bigger spread and even international widebodies. AL buying into that was sort of like TI buying into CO.

-Rampart


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3827 posts, RR: 33
Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10234 times:



Quoting Rampart (Reply 8):
All the local service carriers flew interstate routes. Had any of them survived independently as Allegheny/USAir did, would they too be now considered Legacy carriers?

IMO, yes. They may not have been one of the "Big Six" (soon to be 5) legacy carriers, but they were legacy carriers nonetheless. They all had to go through the CAB every time they wanted to add a new route, and the CAB was the one that set the prices for those routes, IIRC.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10174 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 9):
IMO, yes. They may not have been one of the "Big Six" (soon to be 5) legacy carriers, but they were legacy carriers nonetheless. They all had to go through the CAB every time they wanted to add a new route, and the CAB was the one that set the prices for those routes, IIRC.

Fair enough. A more inclusive definition that would still work in the "what if's". Only by consolidation do we have "the big 6 or 5", and we've lost a good many Majors as we have Local Service carriers.

Quoting MSNDC9 (Reply 7):
There is no such thing as a legacy carrier. Its a made up derogatory term that means nothing.

Depends on the context and who you're siding with. It's only derogatory if you are generally not happy with "the big six", and it's only a convenient moniker, which may or may not be derogatory, if you are an airline not in "the big six" but comparing yourself, or even aspiring to be like them. As US once did.

-Rampart


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3827 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 10094 times:



Quoting MSNDC9 (Reply 7):
There is no such thing as a legacy carrier. Its a made up derogatory term that means nothing.

Legacy in this case, is an adjective describing a noun (carrier)

One of the definitions of "legacy" is "being or having to do with something, esp. something outdated or otherwise undesirable, that is carried over from a previous system, business operation, etc."

And when used to describe computer hardware & software the definition is "of or pertaining to old or outdated computer hardware, software, or data that, while still functional, does not work well with up-to-date systems."

If by "work well" they mean "profitable" that would would fit most of the legacy airlines. (most of the time)  Smile

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 9868 times:



Quoting Rampart (Thread starter):
They were over-ambitiously renamed USAir in 1979, but didn't really have any national coverage until merging with Piedmont and AirCal in the late 80s, well after deregulation.

American acquired AirCal. USAir's west coast acquisition was Pacific Southwest Airlines.

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 2):
Allegheny was a larger airline than Continental before deregulation.

It also carried more passengers than Pan Am, flew more flights than TWA and served more American cities than American Airlines....

http://www.departedflights.com/ALdidyouknow.html


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 9845 times:

Check out this commercial from YouTube advertising the Allegheny to USAir name change:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG47_G_JmHk

I love the music...its like they are going to take over the world!


User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 9581 times:



Quoting Rampart (Reply 8):
All local carriers had 1st class cabins, I believe.

Both Piedmont and USAir did not introduce first class on their airplanes until 1987.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 9434 times:



Quoting N702ML (Reply 12):
American acquired AirCal. USAir's west coast acquisition was Pacific Southwest Airlines.

OOPS! I knew that. Was just reading about AA's acquisition of AirCal the other day. AA also has a knack for ruining West Coast airlines. (see also Reno)  Smile Thanks for the correction.

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 14):
Both Piedmont and USAir did not introduce first class on their airplanes until 1987.

That I didn't know. But, AL and I think Mohawk had some very nice business-oriented one-class product in the 60s and 70s, including some "club flight" promotions.

-Rampart


User currently offlineThegreatRDU From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2310 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 9384 times:

US Airways is among the "Big 6"...
They also have higher overheads and operating costs....a legacy carrier staple

Quoting Byrdluvs747 (Reply 6):

Why are you trying to argue with Simairlinenet?



Our Returning Champion
User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 9121 times:



Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 14):
Both Piedmont and USAir did not introduce first class on their airplanes until 1987.

Piedmont did introduce first class in 1987.

From the Piedmont Airlines 1986 annual report:

"In 1986, after careful study, we decided to convert our entire fleet to a mixed configuration of first class and coach seating...By the summer of 1987, we will unveil a wide array of first-class service menus that will be second to none in the industry...."

USAir was still two years later.

From the USAir 1988 annual report:

"In planning for the August 5, 1989 merger of Piedmont and USAir, we elected to change USAir's fleet from single to dual-class cabins, similar to Piedmon't fleet...Commencing June 1, 1989, USAir will offer both first-class and coach service."


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6835 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 8652 times:



Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 14):
Piedmont and USAir did not introduce first class on their airplanes until 1987.

Before jets, local-service carriers were one class, the fare being the same as First Class on the trunks. In 1977 their flights were still shown as Propellor First Class, whatever that means. Were their 737s all 6-across, and their DC-9s 5-across?


User currently offlineMSNDC9 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 8472 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 11):
One of the definitions of "legacy" is "being or having to do with something, esp. something outdated or otherwise undesirable, that is carried over from a previous system, business operation, etc."

There is nothing outdated or carried over from a previous system or business operation. The suggestion that there is shows a lack of historical knowledge on your part.


User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 8417 times:



Quoting N702ML (Reply 17):
USAir was still two years later.

From the USAir 1988 annual report:

"In planning for the August 5, 1989 merger of Piedmont and USAir, we elected to change USAir's fleet from single to dual-class cabins, similar to Piedmon't fleet...Commencing June 1, 1989, USAir will offer both first-class and coach service."

You're right. I totally forgot that. I even have the June 1, 1989 USAir schedule to prove it! I guess I have too much on my mind these days!  Wink



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 8346 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 11):
Legacy in this case, is an adjective describing a noun (carrier)

One of the definitions of "legacy" is "being or having to do with something, esp. something outdated or otherwise undesirable, that is carried over from a previous system, business operation, etc."

And when used to describe computer hardware & software the definition is "of or pertaining to old or outdated computer hardware, software, or data that, while still functional, does not work well with up-to-date systems."

If by "work well" they mean "profitable" that would would fit most of the legacy airlines. (most of the time)



Quoting MSNDC9 (Reply 19):
There is nothing outdated or carried over from a previous system or business operation. The suggestion that there is shows a lack of historical knowledge on your part.

Wow...that was kind of harsh.

I, actually, understand what LoneStarMike is saying.

The airlines that we consider legacy carriers today are airlines which already had large route systems, fleets, etc in effect before deregulation and those airlines did well in that environment.

Then deregulation came and the system changed.

Now, thirty years later, in a new airline system/environment, its the carriers that were either tiny (Southwest) or non-existant (JetBlue, AirTran, Frontier) when the airlines were deregulated that are doing better. The most successful airlines of today are the ones that don't have a lot of excess baggage from the old days.

The business practices that made the large airlines so successful for so many years may have worked in an old system....but they don't seem to work so well in today's system.

Thats how I understood Mike's post....all of the airlines we call "legacy" today were large before the system changed....and today....the way of operating that made them successful in the past, isn't working.


User currently offlinePITrules From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3203 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 8288 times:

Quoting Rampart (Thread starter):
US started as a Local Service carrier, Allegheny

Actually, they started as All American Aviation all the way back in 1937. They changed their name to All American Airways in 1949, and to Allegheny Airlines in 1952.

Quoting Rampart (Thread starter):
They were over-ambitiously renamed USAir in 1979, but didn't really have any national coverage until merging with Piedmont and AirCal in the late 80s, well after deregulation.

I disagree about the name change to USAir and the perceived lack of national coverage. By 1979, Allegheny was flying to, or was planning to fly to LAX, SAN, SFO, PHX, Florida, and many points in between. "Allegheny" was no longer an appropriate name to market the airline to someone in LAX who wanted to fly LAX-ORF (via PIT) for example.

The Piedmont merger didn't expand the outer boundaries of the domestic USAir network. Yes, it filled in many smaller regional cities in the southeast, but all the major west coast cities were already served by USAir. Sure, Piedmont gave USAir a huge CLT hub, and service to LGW and NAS. That's about it for route coverage, other than all the unwanted hubs at DAY, SYR, and BWI.

I've read many profiles and magazine articles on USAir. There seems to be a misconception in many of them that USAir was created as a result of the combination of Allegheny/Piedmont/PSA. This is not true. USAir was a standalone expanding major airline throughout most of the 1980's with hubs in IND, PHL, and PIT. And a very profitable and successful one at that.

[Edited 2009-12-18 17:46:34]


FLYi
User currently offlineDeltaCTO From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 7758 times:



Quoting Timz (Reply 18):
Were their 737s all 6-across, and their DC-9s 5-across?

Yes -
737's and also 727's were 6 across
DC-9's and BAC-111's were 5 across


User currently offlineDeltaCTO From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 7730 times:

USAir's seat maps in 1985

http://www.pbase.com/jseiple2/usairseats


25 LoneStarMike : Thank you for explaining that to MSNDC9 and yes, that's what I meant. The previous system was a regulated environment. Under that system the CAB set
26 Tiger119 : - Did US have to pay George Lucas of Star Wars for use of the music? - That "hub" at IND is what brought Chautauqua to Indianapolis, IN from Jamestow
27 OzarkD9S : So who is the ultimate legacy in terms of component parts, DL or US? Let's see if I miss any: DELTA: Chicago & Southern, Northeast, Western-Pacific No
28 PITrules : Its such an interesting, fascinating and ironic industry to follow.
29 Mayor : IIRC, Southern Airways also only had one class service.
30 BOSSAN : By including Republic with its ancestors (North Central and Southern) as well as Hughes Airwest and its forebears (Bonanza &c) you're double-counting
31 Panova98 : "Legacy carrier," as was pointed out, is a term of convenience. I'm not aware that DOT has ever defined the term. Of course, it's been defined in Wiki
32 Hawaiian717 : Why? Lucas wasn't involved in Superman, which is where the music was from.
33 MSNDC9 : Large pre-deregulation route systems? You too have a lack of historical knowledge. Airlines didn't "do well" in that environment which is why they we
34 OzarkD9S : Well AirWest (later Hughes) was a new entity created by 3 different airlines so 1+1+1 = 4 different trading names, same with Republic: 1+1 = 3 differ
35 Rampart : It's all relative, of course, nothing to do with living up to your expectations of historical knowledge. Some of the "Large" in pre-Deregulation woul
36 Post contains links ExFATboy : They did toward the end, at least...this commercial is considered one of the classic commercials of all time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bTO2iJJ
37 JBAirwaysFan : As we all know in this forum, the US Airways that existed pre HP merger pretty much does not exist anymore. USAir/US Airways was based in Arlington, V
38 Rampart : I can't edit my previous post. Just wanted to add that I think it's pretty funny that you think N702ML has a lack of historical knowledge, given his
39 N702ML : Thank you, Rampart, I appreciate that.
40 Post contains links Tiger119 : - "Where you can't tell the players without a scorecard!" - My bad, I was thinking that was Star Wars. http://www.airlinepilotcentral.com/airlines/le
41 Post contains links Ouboy79 : And if you actually took the time to read the posts on this subject, half of what you wrote wouldn't be cow manure either. Had the lease on the build
42 Rampart : That's interesting! So, the Allegheny certificate ceased to exist once USAir was founded? And I'm assuming the Piedmont certificate ceased to exist f
43 Flighty : Right, which means the entire 1st half of your post (that "the old US Airways does not exist anymore") is not true for practical purposes. The legacy
44 Mayor : " target=_blank>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bTO2...JJjbU One of my all time favorite commercials. Thanks.
45 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Here's an interesting essay about Airline Deregulation from the U. S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Deregulation and Its Consequences If that were
46 N702ML : Gee, Mike, I think that might be because the majority of airlines were making record profits in the late 70s, competition was limited by the CAB, gov
47 Mayor : And THIS is a bad thing?
48 N702ML : Not at all! I am just pointing out....that's one of the reasons airlines did do so much better before deregulation. My statement was directed towards
49 Steeler83 : I remember seeing a seat map of a US 737 back in 1985, and of course, someone posted it above. They were once-class...
50 N702ML : " target=_blank>http://www.pbase.com/jseiple2/usairseats Ha! My first flight ever was on USAir as an unaccompanied minor on a DC-9... I remember that
51 Mayor : I'm not sure if Braniff campaigned against it or not. I once heard that on the first day of deregulation, BN was waiting with 68 NEW city pairs. They
52 Post contains links MSNDC9 : Quoting Mayor (Reply 44): DL did very well in that environment. Very, very profitable....probably the most profitable airline before deregulation. You
53 Mayor : Well, I do know that DL reported a profit for like 30+ years in a row, from the 50s until the early 80s. Is that profitable enough for you?
54 Post contains links LoneStarMike : What part of "There was stiff opposition to the bill—from the major airlines who feared free competition" did you not understand? Or how about this
55 Post contains links JBAirwaysFan : http://www.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2005-05-19-merger_x.htm And I quote: "America West Airlines said Thursday it will acquire US Airways, saving
56 Post contains links LoneStarMike : And as far as being profitable before deregulation, you can add Braniff to the list. From The Man Who Killed Braniff Texas Monthly July, 1982 page 11
57 MSNDC9 : LOL.... More revisionism. How about you read a book rather than quote websites left and right?[Edited 2009-12-21 14:11:31]
58 Timz : So-- was DL profitable for 30 years in a row, or not? Anyone else know?
59 Post contains images Airport :   You know, you would have tremendously greater credibility if you ditched the petty and pointless insults. How about you stop being a dick about it
60 Racers22 : If "legacy" is a made up term that means nothing, as you point out above, then how can it be derogatory?
61 Post contains links Ouboy79 : Go...read...learn: US Further Cuts LAS, 5 Intl Routes (by Rafflesking Oct 28 2009 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=4591697 We've been over this more than
62 Rampart : Try it. I really think you'll learn something. Revise your own history, it'll help your ossified brain. Might lubricate you to offer some interesting
63 Milesrich : They actually started as "All American Airways," and then changed their name to Allegheny. Most of the smaller trunk carriers were profitable before
64 Post contains links Mayor : This is from the DL museum website. The statement about historical profitability is made in reference to "The Spirit of Delta" a/c. In the spring of
65 Viscount724 : The term "legacy" when applied to airlines has no official meaning. It means whatever the user of the term wants it to mean. After Republic acquired H
66 GALLEYSTEW : I think the term "legacy" means airlines that have been flying since the beginning or dawn of commercial air travel. USAirways certainly fits that cat
67 USPIT10L : Don't worry about it. The troll self-deleted his profile. It seems like these boards spawn trolls like him all the time. They pop on, argue pointless
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