I thought I had an undying love and interest in commercial aviation and all related, yet the last two years have greatly tested my faith. The first two lines of U2's 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday' have basically embodied all that I have felt about aviation in the last two years, those lines are 'I can't believe the news today./I can't close my eyes and make it go away.' This started with the crash of Alaska's 261 almost two years ago, never has an aviation disaster struck so close to home and felt so real. A year later, January 8th, 2001 I was thinking those same words in my head all over again; My favorite airline, TWA was going to be bought and disappear.
From that day TWA has basically disolved into American, and tomorrow all TWA flights will soley use American's 'AA' flight code, all signs will change, and only the remaining unpainted fleet and ground equipment will proclaim the once glorious name.
The TWA I knew, was not the great TWA, yet it was a TWA of hope, trying, a post-Ichan reconstructionist TWA that made it longer than anyone expected. When I first flew TWA again in 1996, after an eleven year hiatus TWA flew to atleast 12 trans-Atlantic destinations, when I last flew TWA, in July, the number was 4. To me this basically symbolizes the TWA of the last few years. While that might sound rather contradictory to my 'TWA of hope' TWA's strong willed employees did everything they could, yet their beloved airline was crumbling around them, all their heartfelt efforts eventually became useless.
The TWA that garnered the praise, the reputation, that spread its proud wings across the globe hasn't been here for a while. TWA was remarkable airline of first and I could volley facts at you about all of TWA's greatness until it caused the true TWA fan's stomach to implode with a sense of emptiness -- but that would not strike at the core of the issue. The issue is that one of America's oldest and greatest aviation names, not just my favorite airline, is slipping away, virtually unnoticed. So before you do anything else today I implore to just think for one moment - today is the last day that you will ever hear any phrase that starts with 'TWA flight....', the red, slanted 'TWA' will also likely disappear with in the ensuing weeks and months. No more, tomorrow 'TW' is gone, thank you so much for all the flights and all the memories.