On the Moonlight Specials:
First Class was
used for an additional fee. It caused problems in Portland, however, as passengers who paid extra to sit in First from Houston to Seattle were bumped back to Coach in Portland as the Moonlight Special flight was combined with the regular morning service from Portland to Atlanta via Seattle. The through passengers, who had open seating in the back, were made to get off until the Seattle and Atlanta folks boarded with assigned seats then they got back on. Besides, it was kinda like mixing steerage with the jet set!
Yes, seats were
removed but not to make more room for cargo. The A-300 normally had 252 seats and required six flight attendants. It was decided that seats 10a and 10c could be removed in the evening and reinstalled the following morning thereby reducing the required flight attendant complement to only five. It became a major headache, though, as the seats kept getting misplaced and people on the day flights were showing up for Seats 10ab (we called them the "Honeymoon Suite" because they were by themselves between F/C and the L2 door) to find a bare floor! Also, all the messing with 10ab tended to screw up the AV
system in F/C.
The Moonlight Special started with A300s but 727s and DC9s were added as the service expanded to smaller stations like Phoenix and Charlotte.
Moving the Moonlight Special to Chicago was a disaster (as was everything Lorenzo's minions did). Not only was Winter weather a big factor but there was not enough gate space both for the aircraft and for the connecting passengers. The whole wonderful experiment was turned to crap overnight.
Somebody tried a similar operation out of Las Vegas a short time later. I'm thinking it was either Pan Am or Continental and it was called something like the "Starlight Special." It didn't last very long.
Except for the hours, I loved working the Moonlight Special because they were filled with first-time flyers, backpackers, students and seniors who were thrilled to get such a cheap fare and gave us no problems at all. Finding space for carry-ons was a challenge though!
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.