Now that TWA is "over the hill" I want to recount my experience with this airline in the far away year of 1989. TWA was the brand in Portugal over many years, we got used to see quite often their 707's, latter their L1011's and 747's landing in Lisbon early in the morning comming from USA and at lunch time comming or from Barcelona or from Madrid. In 1989 I was working in data communications and my boss invited me to go with him to USA, my wife just had our oldest son so I was kinda of worried but also happy to return to USA. The trip was to visit a telecommunications fair in New York, then visit one factory from a company that we represented in Portugal in Puerto Rico and finnally assist their distributor meeting in California, well this looked like a great trip with lots of flying. So on 13th. March 1989 here we go!
LISBON - MADRID
B. 727-200 ADV - CS-TBW - TAP
We started quite well, TWA didn't fly that day from Lisbon to New York so we had to fly to Madrid and catch the flight there, it was kinda of leave Portugal and latter pass again over it!!! We left early in the morning to Madrid, normally at that time this was the first international TAP flight to leave Portugal. The day was smoggy and all the flight was with a mist, we couldn't see the sky up and down was foggy too. After about one hour we landed at Barajas. There we waited I think 2 hours.
MADRID - JFK
B. 747-100 - N93106 - TWA
We flew in this quite old 747, at that time he was already 18 years old but still it looked good. It was interesting to see my country at 35.000 feet, we crossed Portugal between Aveiro and Oporto, so it was quite North and the sky was clear and blue, we could see all the coast passing by. Over the Atlantic we passed close to Azores but it was very cloudy there that we didn't see any island, the service was fair but efficient, also we had the previlege to see the Capt. comming by and talking to the passengers to see if everything was ok ( those where different times, more friendly!!! ). When we started to see Newfoundland the weather was again good and all the way to JFK was clear. We landed with the usual smog there and we still could see some patches of snow.
We mooved to Manhattan where we stayed for the Fair until the 16Th March.
JFK - SAN JUAN
L1011-100 - N31030 - TWA
We boarded early in the morning to San Juan, at that time Eastern was blowing up and TWA was receiving their tickets, I even saw one A300 landing there!!! Our flight was uneventfull and I couln't see much because we where in the middle. When we arrived there I felt almost like at home, blue sky, the smell of the sun and the caribe atmosfere. I saw some A300 from American and also DC-10's and even a Dominicana 727. Also based there and flying a lot where the ANG with A-7's.
Well after staying 2 days drinking this marvelous place it was time to return to the good old USA.
SAN JUAN - MIAMI - ST. LOUIS
L1011-100 - N7035T - TWA
Once again we started in the morning for a very long trip to Los Angeles. First flight was to St. Louis via Miami. I was happy about that because I never landed in Miami and I hopped to see many old props. The flight was good and I got a window seat in the middle, but I could actually see some view, we passed over the Bahamas where I could see the extremely bue sea there. When we landed I was extremely frustated, no chance to see any DC-4's DC-6's or Constellations!!! We parked close to a L1011 from Air Canada and a Delta 757. Also I saw a 737 from Bahamasair, just that!!! After one hour transit without leaving the plane here we go to St. Louis. It was quite a smoth flight, we started to see the plain lands of the Missouri and we landed just in the begining of the afternoon. The good thing was that I had some 3 hours to spot at St. Louis.
In St. Louis we could see many TWA planes, most where DC-9's, 727's and some L1011's. I think we saw just one 747 and one 767 not much!!!
ST. LOUIS - LOS ANGELES
L1011-1 - N31013 - TWA
I was happy to fly a series 1 of the Tristar, a true domestic model. We boarded late afternoon and the flight was normal and we could see the sunset on the way to LA. In the meantime I talked with a nice american fellow that had already some bourbon in the blood but he could actually know where we're flying. I think he was quite used to that flight. We landed at LA late night and I remember starting seeing LA almost 40 before we landed, many lights and the town was quite spread!!!
After we had this meeting in Los Angeles it was time to return to Lisbon. We had a very day when we left.
LOS ANGELES - JFK - LISBON
L1011-50 - N31019 - TWA
I knew the first part of the trip was with the Tristar, I expected that from JFK we should board the 767 for the transatlantic flight, at leat in the timetable was the 767. We left early in the morning for the transcontinental flight. It was quite smoth but it passed quite fast, we landed at JFK late afternoon and waited for our next flight. Soon I found out that we would fly the same plane again and that was a frustration for me, but well what can I say, it was a great time over the States. We had a nice flight, I normally can't sleep in the planes so I saw the sunrise just close to Portugal and the last part of the trip was tremedous, I could see all the portuguese coast until we landed.
I arrived at home 2 hours latter, I gave a kiss to my wife and my kid and I drove direct to Air Force Base Nº 6 in Montijo ( in the other side of the river ) to fly in a SA330 PUMA from Portuguese Air Force, but that's another story!!!