Tom in NO
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Posts: 6725
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 1999 10:10 am

Braniff International Rememberances

Mon Mar 06, 2000 6:33 am

I'm currently rereading John Nance's superlative book entitled "Splash of Colors: the Self-Destruction of Braniff International", and remembering how (at the time) trend-setting their paint jobs were. As I recall, Braniff was known as the "Jelly-bean airline". I never had a chance to fly them (my parents usually paid for tickets on AA or CO while I was growing up), but did look forward to seeing their planes on trips through DFW or IAH.

Does anyone have any special memories of Braniff (ex-employee or otherwise)? Was customer service as ummmmm....bad as Nance's book said it was? How was Harding Lawrence as a CEO? Bear in mind I'm looking at the era up to May of 1982, not version II of Braniff of the mid and late-80's.

They really fell upon hard times with the fuel prices skyrocketings, over-eager expansion of service, overseas routes not cutting it financially, etc.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Tom in NO (at MSY)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: Braniff International Rememberances

Mon Mar 06, 2000 7:12 am

My one experience of flying Braniff was a flight from Corpus Christi to DFW. My log shows me that it was on 14 October 1981 and the aircraft involved was 727 N464BN. What struck me about the flight was the very generous legroom. In fact, some seats were face to face. Also, the seat coverings were shiny (PVC simulated leather?). The aeroplane was only about 1/3rd full. This may have been one of the factors leading to their demise the following year.

On that same trip I attended the 1981 Confederate Air Show - in those days held at Harlingen Field, near Brownsville. On the Friday, Braniff flew in a special charter on one of their "Big Orange" 747's. After it landed, the 747 was marshalled to a position near the airshow's spectator area of the airport. The 747 jist taxied into position being guided by a bat waving marshall. The crowds on the ramp just had to clear the area of their own accord. I remember walkng bakwards accross the ramp looking directly up at the nose of the 747 as it was still advancing. Once the 'plane stopped and the passengers disembarked, many spectators took shelter from the blazing sun under the great bulk of the fuselage and wings.

Throughout the Confederate's display, regular airline activity continued. It was strange to see a bunch of Japanese Zero's break off their "Tora, Tora, Tora" sequence to allow a Braniff 727 or Southwest 737 to depart.