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TranStar Airlines

Fri Jul 05, 2002 2:23 pm

I was wondering if anyone could give me some info on this airline. I never knew much about them, What routes, aircraft etc. I see in the database photos of them operating as late as 1993 with a different color scheme than the all blue on that I'm familiar with. I thought the stopped flying prior to that.

thanks in advance.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Fri Jul 05, 2002 2:31 pm

I think they started out as Muse Air--formed by a former Southwest management type who got run out by Herb.

They operated MD80's painted a dark purple. My only contact with them was in PHX when one diverted due to an engine problem.TC
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Fri Jul 05, 2002 2:35 pm

Transtar was formerly Muse Air, which was started around 1980 by Lamar Muse. They operated MD-80's and DC-9-50's on routes stretching from Florida to California. Some Transtar hubs included Houston/Hobby and New Orleans. For awhile they had a commuter operation called Transtar Skylink. The airline's business clubs were called "Empyrean Clubs", named after the "Empyrean Blue" color scheme on the aircraft. Muse Air was bought out by Southwest if I recall, and Southwest re-named the airline Transtar. I think they went under in 1987, and the MD-80's were sold to Continental.

On a side note, I flew a Muse Air MD-80 from MSY to MCO in 1986, and on the return flight, we got on a TranStar MD-80.

I remember numerous billboards throughout the New Orleans area promoting their flights. For example, they did nonstops from New Orleans to MCO, TPA, MIA, LAX, LAS, HOU, and DAL....Resembles Southwest's current route structure in MSY actually.

If anyone else can give more details, feel free.

Steve in New Orleans

RE: TranStar Airlines

Fri Jul 05, 2002 4:43 pm

Dubbed "Air Revenge" by those at WN as Lamar Muse was Southwest's original CEO. He and Herb fell out, and Lamar went off to set up an operation which was the antithesis of WN ... a business class premium airline (in essence the same as Legend Airlines).
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:16 pm

TranStar (MC/MCA) ceased operations in August 1987.
They operated 8 DC-9-51s, 8 MD-82s & 2 MD-83s.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sat Jul 06, 2002 12:09 am

An additional tid-bit or two;

MuseAir was the first airline to have no smoking allowed on any of its flights; this was when smoking was still allowed on domestic US ops with most airlines. It was very nice, as those who recall the stench of smoke in the enclosed spaces of airline cabins willl recall.

Had MuseAir (IATA code MC) pursued its long-haul strategy from the start, rather than mimicking WN's route network (on which it could never hope to defeat WN's established dominance), it might well have thrived.

When WN bought 'em, they had signs which said, "Blood, Sweat... and Cheers!"

WN moved the airline's HQ to Houston from Dallas, renamed it TranStar, painted the aircraft in the rather nice blue livery, and allowed it to fly for a while longer, but they never achieved the kind of operational results wanted, and were shut down with pretty much all the aircraft sold to CO.

Funny, I remember KIIS-FM in Los Angeles giving away atrip on TranStar in a promotion, about a week before their scheduled shutdown. Hope the winner used it fast.

Muse / TranStar's people ran a fine operation, I flew them often, and I was sad to see them go.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sat Jul 06, 2002 12:28 am

As stated above the original TranStar was the former Muse Air operation under Southwest. In 1993, another company started up called TranStar. I don't believe it had anything to do with the former, but they operated charter flights using two 737's and I think 1 DC-10. Much of their business was operating public charter flights from EWR to FLL under the banner SkyBus Airlines. They used the DC-10 for flights from LAX to HNL. They eventually shut down around 1995. Two different airlines using the same name.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sat Jul 06, 2002 1:07 am

While MuseAir/TranStar's MD-80s went to Continental, their DC-9-50s went to Eastern. They were Eastern's first aircraft with leather seats!
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sat Jul 06, 2002 4:08 am

Thanks for the great info guys.

When I flew Sky Bus Airlines from EWR-FLL in 1993 it was abourd a "Private Jet" I think it was a MD-80 or 737. I can't remember now, I wasn't as adept at remembering these things then.

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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sat Jul 06, 2002 11:07 am

I remember Transtar fondly. I rember flying to MSY from HOU on WN and back on Transtar. They were my dad's favorite airline, as he flew HOU-DAL regularly. Wonderful fleet. Think of em as Midwest Express but not quite.
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RE: TranStar Airlines

Sun Jul 07, 2002 6:33 am

When Muse Air first started up, with operations DAL-HOU, HOU-DAL Lamar Muse had television commericials touting the service and non-smoking environment. The commerical said that "If you can't go an hour without a cigarette, find yourself another airline!"
For smokers who DID fly them, they had a "smokers kit" which consisted of mints and gum and pamphlets explaining why smoking is not good for you.
After WN bought them, WN employees called TranStar "The flying purple profit eater!", after the purple colors.
I had flown on them a few times and found service to be quite good.
Also, after WN acquired them, CO returned to HOU and began a very aggressive campaign against TranStar. Same routes, more frequency and cheaper prices! But CO basically ran them out of business. I think Herb got tired of this game and didn't want CO to come after WN with the same tactics. So he shut TranStar down.
They did have meal service. It was quite nice with real linen napkins, etc.
When they shut down they had a "fire sale" at their commissary. I bought a case or two of their wine, glasses and tone of those linen napkins. All this for extraordinarily cheap prices! I think that case of wine was $5.00.
I also heard that former TranStar employees would hold an annual reunion at a bar across from HOU. If they still do this, I don't know.
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