Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2004 9:02 am

Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:48 pm

Has anyone flown the Eastern Moonlight Shuttle? It operated briefly at O'Hare (during construction of course) in the wee hours of the morning. It was my first scarebus experience (althought their A300s were not that bad).
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 1:02 pm

I recall the ads for these overnight/'red eye' specials. They were operated for a few years in the 1980's, mainly for freight transport, but carrying pax at very cheap prices ($99 o/w to most places, even at the last minute). I believe you were limited to carry on or maybe one checked bag. All of the flights departed in the late evening, just before most airports closed for the evening. All flights were hubbed through Houston and all arriving around 2:00 am. You would then transfer to a 2nd plane to go to your destination airport, getting there in very early morning, when most airports opened for service for the day. I thought they used 757's for most flights in this service. I believe they operated out of JFK, Miami, LAX, and about 7-8 other cities.
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 1:07 pm

Sounds like America West's night hub at Vegas....

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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 1:25 pm

It operated for a period in the 80's. It used IAH as one of the hubs and mostly used the A300's, some 757's and L10's. You could fly, as I did ATL-SFO for $99.00. The only catch was, you couln't check luggage as the lower compartment was used for strictly cargo. It wasn't bad at all. They even gave you a decent snack  Smile
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 1:50 pm

Eastern's Moonlight Specials. A300 aircraft for the most part. IAH was the hub. Eastern got a contract with Consolidated Freight. Freight underneath. Icing on the cake in the cabin.

Safe Flying  Smile
Florida Express, Braniff II and ......
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:40 pm

I worked those flights as a F/A.
Loved the A300...you would purchase your sodas and snacks...like on most airlines today...checked bags were not allowed...

Still have my service manuals for the moonlight special...I can scan them if someone needs them...
PRINAIR - Puerto Rico International Airlines
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:37 pm

It started with a Houston hub using A-300s exclusively. 727-200s and DC-9-30s were added later as smaller markets were added. To my knowledge, no L-1011s or 757s were ever utilized on the service. When it began seats 10A & 10B were removed at the gate to lower the minimum F/A crew required to five then reinstalled in the morning but it became more trouble than it was worth and the practice was discontinued. When the Moonlight Special began having too strong an impact on sister company Continental's business, the operation was moved to O'Hare. O'Hare was totally unsuitable due to weather and lack of gate and ramp space. The Moonlight Special was shut down sortly thereafter. CF Airfreight then started using its own aircraft. I believe Pan Am tried a similar product out of Las Vegas called the Starlight something-or-other. IIR, main Airbus routes out of IAH were to: ATL, LAX, SFO, PDX/SEA, ORD, EWR, BOS and MIA. 727s were used to PHX and IAD with DC-9s to CLT. I think MCO also had a Moonlight Special flight. I remember working the ORD-DFW-LAX run towards the end. They were a blast to work in the early days with tons of backbackers, seniors, and young families who had never flown before. The rampers in Houston used to sell barbeque and tamales to all the crews milling around in the middle of the night (ground time was usually two to three hours while all the cargo was being reshuffled). Another one of Eastern's brilliant innovations that died due to management incompetence.
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:57 pm

My parents flew there moonlight shuttle.
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:53 am

As I recall you could check baggage, for a fee-- it just wasn't guaranteed to get on the plane, and if it travelled on a later flight Eastern wouldn't deliver it. You'd have to come back to the airport and get it. Sounds fair enough.
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 4:09 am

That sounds like such an interesting concept. I wonder why more airlines don't try that today. It is far better than having the planes sit idle throughout the night.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 4:21 am

I have an EA timetable from early 1987 that lists "Moonlight Shuttle" service (it's a little icon that looks like a quarter-moon). I'll have to go and dig that one up if anyone's interested. I was in college then and flew DEN-MCI-OMA and back very cheaply. I think DEN-MCI-DEN was 727s and MCI-OMA-MCI was DC-9s.
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 4:40 am

I wonder why more airlines don't try that today. It is far better than having the planes sit idle throughout the night.

Good point, Rjpieces.

Notice that JetBlue has launched lots of transcontinental redeyes, as well as late-night flights to/from Florida and Puerto Rico, soon to include BQN and also the new DR service. As a result, few--if any--of JetBlue's planes sit idle overnight.

Notice also that JetBlue is one of the few profitable airlines in the U.S. Coincidence? Hmm...  Smile
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
Tom in NO
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 5:01 am

FYI, the Moonlight Shuttle was referenced in another thread about 2 months ago. Here's some more info on it:

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
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RE: Eastern Moonlight Shuttle

Sat Mar 13, 2004 5:04 am

It was called the "Moonlight Special," not shuttle.  Big grin

EA even had a great commercial for it, using a tune sung to CCR's "Midnight Special" :

If you're headin' for the East Coast, there's a new way to fly
It's the Moonlight Special, and the price ain't high.

When the sun goes down, down...then the price does too
Let Eastern's Moonlight Special shine its ever-lovin' light on you.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group

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