deltaflyertoo
Posts: 1479
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 3:18 pm

USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:06 pm

Hi

When I was a kid I had the thrill of flying USAIR in the 1980s throught the Pittsburgh hub many times. I remember USAIr was a bit special in that it was all coach, (no first) served full meals on flights of over 2 hours, and unlike Eastern, Delta, United, TWA etc who were flying massive jumbos, USAIr pioneered the use of 727s and 737s from the Pittsburgh hub to the west coast. Now that I'm older and wiser I've become curious about that whole operation and was wondering if there is anyone on the know on here that could answer the following questions and or add their 2 cents about USAir in the 80s.

From what I understand this operation at PIT was VERY profitable before US fell into buying PSA and Piedmont. Was curious though:

The 727s, ten of them, used from PIT to SFO and LAX, did they have special fuel tanks added? Or could any 727-200 do that route?

In 1987 on USAIR would rotate 737-300s on the PIT-SFO/LAX ops (equipped w/ video monitors for movies)...would loads fluctuate that they downsized from the 727 to the 737? Was their seasonal equipment rotations maybe 737s in winter and 727s in summer?

Did either type experience fuel stops on the way west?

As the hub grew for US was therre ever any talk of acquiring new 767-200s like PIedmont was and open PIt to LGW or PIT to CDG?

Any info or added thoghts would be cool! Thanks!
 
PITrules
Posts: 2109
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 11:27 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:18 pm

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Thread starter):
As the hub grew for US was therre ever any talk of acquiring new 767-200s like PIedmont was and open PIt to LGW or PIT to CDG?

Not being a US Airways insider, I would not be able to verify if there was any internal talk of acquiring 767s before the Piedmont merger. However, after the merger, USAir used one of the Piedmont 767s to launch PIT-FRA (1990 I believe). This was the first non-Piedmont USAir trans-Atlantic flight. It was started before USAir had any trans-Atlantic from PHL.

Around the same time, USAir also applied for PIT-LGW/NRT.


During the peak of the USAir hub in the late eighties, PIT had 330 mainline (non-Express) departures. By the time the midfield terminal opened in 1992, PIT had begun it's decline. While often the top US Airways hub for departures in the nineties, those figures include Express departures. If measured by total available seats, CLT, and soon PHL, beat out PIT after the Piedmont merger. The airport soon afterward became a distant 3rd hub when ranked in importance to US Airways.

To make a long story short, the PIT hub's demise can be attributed to:

- Losing connectivity dominance in this part of the region. PIT's eighties strength was before CO in CLE, DL in CVG, and NW in DTW "hub-raided" many of PIT's connecting passengers.

- The failure of US Airways to defend it's PIT hub against CLE and CVG due to late introduction of regional jets.

- A consistent decline in the region's economy, triggered by the decline in manufacturing, and continued by an unfavorable business climate with high corporate taxes, beaurocratic government, poor highways, and continued population loss.

- High facility fees at PIT, relative to other comparable hubs.


I pulled out some old USAir timetables, Here are some random highlights, all with mainline equipment:

Feb 1, 1984 - PIT had service to LAX 3x, and SFO 2x. ALB was served 4x daily. Elmira 3x. Evansville 1x. LEX 3x. JFK/LGA/EWR 26x weekdays. CLE 4x daily.

Nov 1, 1988 - ABQ 2x daily, BWI 7x, Burlington 3x, DAY 4x, IND 5x, JFK/LGA/EWR 20x, LAX 4x, SFO 4x, TOL 3x

May 2, 1990 - ACY 2x, DTW 6x, ERI 5x, LAX 5x, LGA/JFK/EWR 17x, SAT 2x, SEA 3x, SAN 3x, SFO 5x, AVP 4x, Worcester, MA 2x.

Again, those were all mainline.

[Edited 2007-09-12 07:23:52]
FLYi
 
RyanAFAMSP
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:24 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:41 pm

Can anyone verify the equipment on nonstop PIT-SFO and PIT-LAX in the 1980s? Are we sure those california flights are non-stop, or are they just through flight numbers via stations like MCI? My sense is that the 727-200 could make it on those legs but with severe weight restrictions and with no ability to raise mail/cargo revenue. I guess if there was enough of a high-end business travel market such an operation could have paid for itself, but I am curious to see if/how it operated and what its economics were.
 
PITrules
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 11:27 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:49 pm

Nonstop, with 727s and 733

[Edited 2007-09-12 07:50:13]
FLYi
 
PITrules
Posts: 2109
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 11:27 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:50 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 1):
Around the same time, USAir also applied for PIT-LGW/NRT.

Spring 1991 timetables also show PIT-MAN on the route map, with the note "subject to gov't approval". Needless to say, this service never began.
FLYi
 
Cody
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 12:16 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:17 pm

I believe the ten 727's were just standard, junk-yard 727-200's with no additional fuel tanks. I am a little sketchy on this, but hopefully there are some USAir 727 experts on here. I know when PIEDMONT started flying non-stop 727's to the West Coast from CLT, sometimes a fuel stop was needed in DEN. When that occurred, passengers were all given a $20.00 bill.

Around 1987, the original, ten 727-200's stopped flying to California, for the most part. I don't believe it was seasonal. I think the 737 became the preferred West-Coast airplane, until the 767's and 757's came online. When PIEDMONT was taken over, they started putting the 727's out west again, but more from North Carolina, if I remember correctly. Some of USAir's 737-300's had auxiliary fuel tanks for the non-stop LAX/SFO routes. Those tanks have since been decommissioned.

It seems like a big reason that MCI became a focus city was for fuel stops, but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

In the very early 1980's, USAir did discuss serving London from PIT with a 747. It was stronger than a rumor as I saw it in writing in a newsletter.
 
Flighty
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RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:06 pm

Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
It seems like a big reason that MCI became a focus city was for fuel stops,

In fact, they still use MCI for this purpose. A321, A320.  Wink
 
Cody
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 12:16 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:22 pm

Prior to the HP merger, US A321's used ABQ sometimes for fuel stops.
 
bcoz
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:00 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:03 pm

I believe they were using MCI to route a lot of traffic from PIT to the West Coast as late as 1991. I know my mom flew LAX-MCI-PIT on US that summer.

While I spent most of the 80s and 90s in the South (and thus was a huge Piedmont fan), we did live in Pittsburgh from 1990-1993. Greater Pitt was such a unique airport just before the midfield terminal opened on 10/1/92. It was really amazing how they had tried to make the airport a functioning hub in a deregulated era in a building that, for the most part, was built long before deregulation. Baggage claim carosels here and there in a sort of random fashion... At least one or two gates that had their own security (kind of like MCI today).... Jetways from the lower level of the building where you had to walk up to your aircraft and not, for lack of a better term, down. Just a great hodge podge....

bcoz
 
n5014k
Posts: 84
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RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:12 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 1):
Nov 1, 1988 - ABQ 2x daily, BWI 7x, Burlington 3x, DAY 4x, IND 5x, JFK/LGA/EWR 20x, LAX 4x, SFO 4x, TOL 3x

I flew through PIT often before PI established a hub at BWI. It was always bustling but frankly not very attractive overall, except for the art deco main foyer. Still, I always liked it...kind of funky.

Connections sometimes involved some long walks, although US ran some shuttle buses between the East Dock and the Southeast Dock. The gate area where the AL Commuter flights boarded was a madhouse. Usually buses took you to the planes at a remote location. The bus wold stop by several planes and they'd announce which flight it was. I got lots of good close-ups that way.

Now that I'm self-employed I have a client in Pittsburgh and I have to go there every two weeks. Before WN showed up the US walk-up fare BWI-PIT and DCA-PIT was over $900 round trip. Last week on WN I paid $150. It's almost cheaper than driving. Now US's fares have dropped - last time I checked it was around $230 RT, but as far as I'm concerned it's: "Where were you when I needed you?"

Anyway, the hub seemed to do okay in the face of NW (and RC too, for that matter) at DTW and DL at CVG, but adding the CO hub in CLE seems to have been the nail in the coffin for US at PIT. I don't know how much the lack of O&D and Pittsburgh's struggling economy have to do with it...it was a handy place to connect and everyone seemed to be from somewhere else. Now that I think of it, I used to have to connect in PIT on US to get to CLE, before OZ started making that run.

To tell you the truth I liked US better when it was Allegheny. I liked the regional airlines as a whole. At first the changeover to USAir didn't change the airline's service much, at least not to me. The DC-9-30's were comfortable enough. If I was traveling with a small group we would grab the front two rows since they faced each other and there was a table between them.

It was a big deal when they got 727's, and while I can't help you about fuel capacity I can tell you that the red-eye I took out of LAX always made a stop at IND.
 
davidlc3
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:30 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:32 am

Quoting RyanAFAMSP (Reply 2):

The 727s were used by both PI and US for trans-cons until the 737-300LR came online. At US our PIT-LAX/SFO/SEA flights were all 733s with video monitors.

From a service perspective we offered pre-departure juice or wine in COACH! 3 hot meal choices, a movie and even did a pre-arrival service with ice cream sandwiches. On the PI side we offered free champagne (morning flights) and free wine on afternoon departures to the west coast. Both offered hot towel service - in COACH!

Also remember that PI/US had the BWI-LGW flight that we bought from TW. We also did a wet lease program using our metal and our crews to fly BA colors from PIT/BWI-LGW.
 
steeler83
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:35 am

Quoting Bcoz (Reply 8):
It was really amazing how they had tried to make the airport a functioning hub in a deregulated era in a building that, for the most part, was built long before deregulation. Baggage claim carosels here and there in a sort of random fashion... At least one or two gates that had their own security (kind of like MCI today).... Jetways from the lower level of the building where you had to walk up to your aircraft and not, for lack of a better term, down. Just a great hodge podge....

I remember that old PIT terminal, and those ramps to walk up to the aircraft and security screenings here and there. I remember the one screening area had mirrors on the ceiling! Looking back on that, I thought that was the sweetest thing!

Now if I may shed some light on the whole demise of the PIT hub, I believe WN had to do with that as well. They entered the BWI market in 1993, and really began to grow a network there in the later part of the decade to places like ALB, PVD, BUF, and the like, which were top regional markets for US travelers connecting in PIT. Instead of flying US via PIT, they could fly for much cheaper through BWI.

9/11 was pretty much the breaking point for US. They had a hub at BWI since the Piedmont merger, which ultimately closed in 2002 (I think), and then PIT came 2 years later as losses amounted while WN capitalized. WN also anounced PHL in 2003 and began service to places like MDW, PVD, MCO and a few other destinations.

I am still hoping for someone else to come on in and fill in the gaps left behind when US cut flights there. A second focus city would be a very welcomed site there.
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:20 am

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Thread starter):
USAIr pioneered the use of 727s and 737s from the Pittsburgh hub to the west coast.



Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Thread starter):
The 727s, ten of them, used from PIT to SFO and LAX, did they have special fuel tanks added? Or could any 727-200 do that route?

In 1987 on USAIR would rotate 737-300s on the PIT-SFO/LAX ops (equipped w/ video monitors for movies)...would loads fluctuate that they downsized from the 727 to the 737? Was their seasonal equipment rotations maybe 737s in winter and 727s in summer?

Did either type experience fuel stops on the way west?

I do still remember quite well of one of my first plane trips as a child, on a US B727 from PIT to LAX and back on the same aircraft. This was back in the winter of 1985 and I do recall that the flight was non stop to and from PIT and LAX. It was a very long flight too and do remember being served hot meals on both flights, On the PIT - LAX flight I still remember seeing the Rocky Mountains from the air for the very first time which is something I have the pleasure of seeing regulary at the present.  Smile

I am not to sure if those 727s had special fuel tanks or not butt I do believe that they were 200 Advanced series that had the capabilities of doing transcon. I am not to sure if they rotated the 727 with the 737 on the PIT - West coast routes seasonaly, but I was just looking at an old PIT timetable from Dec.1989 and noticed that US operated a combination of 727s and 737-300s to their west coast markets. At that time US had five daily nonstops from PIT - LAX and four to SFO,
and Three to PHX, SAN, SEA, and DEN. In this day of age here in PIT we are now lucky to see any non stop service to these destinations.
 
phllax
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:53 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:06 am

Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
It seems like a big reason that MCI became a focus city was for fuel stops, but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

Yes and No. MCI was used as a connecting hub for flights that originated in BOS/LGA/DCA. Many of those used 200's or regular 300's. I know they had a 200 do DCA-MCI-SFO. In the early 90's up until 97, they offered LAX/LAS/SFO-CMH/IND/MCI with the 737's, usually 300 but also 400's too when they came online.

These flights slowly disappeared as the 757's came on the property and they downsized the ops at MCI/CMH/IND and BWI.
 
deltaflyertoo
Posts: 1479
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 3:18 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:24 am

Thanks for the answers people! Yes the meals were hot and indeed there were 3 choices! I do remember the offer of wine or juice before pushback and Davidlc I do remember the ice cream sandwhiches. They were custom made with the USAIr redish brown logo on them and were delicious. Hot towels I remember as well. Anyone remember if US served those ice cream sandwhiches as the snack only the short haul DC-9 and BAC 1-11 flights out of PIT? Or were they for the longer flights out of PIT only. So many memories. Even though those things are costly by today's standards its the whole homogenious feel the industry has now that it didn't back then. The logos, colors, interiors of the planes, uniforms, etc....was just cool.
 
PacNWjet
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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2000 1:18 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:43 am

Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
It seems like a big reason that MCI became a focus city was for fuel stops, but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

Wow, US flew all the way from Pittsburgh to Finland non-stop? Who knew?  duck 
 
nkops
Posts: 2156
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:09 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:55 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 1):
May 2, 1990 - ACY 2x

Ahhh... the good ol' days... I miss them!!
:evil:
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:42 am

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 15):
Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
It seems like a big reason that MCI became a focus city was for fuel stops, but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

Wow, US flew all the way from Pittsburgh to Finland non-stop? Who knew?

I think POR was mistaken for PDX.
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:59 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 1):
During the peak of the USAir hub in the late eighties, PIT had 330 mainline (non-Express) departures.



Quoting N5014K (Reply 9):
The gate area where the AL Commuter flights boarded was a madhouse. Usually buses took you to the planes at a remote location. The bus wold stop by several planes and they'd announce which flight it was. I got lots of good close-ups that way.

With this 330 mainline departure peak in the late 80's, did US have to utilize remote parking for mainline aircaft and bused the pasengers out to the planes in a similar manner that it was done with the express flights? When I was younger i do remember seeing US mainline jets parked with stairs attached just passed the East Dock, visable from the Parkway west.

Also what gates did the AL commuter / US express flights depart out of at the old PIT terminal in the 80s to the very end?
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:02 am

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Reply 14):
I do remember the offer of wine or juice before pushback and Davidlc I do remember the ice cream sandwhiches. They were custom made with the USAIr redish brown logo on them and were delicious.



Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 12):
I do still remember quite well of one of my first plane trips as a child, on a US B727 from PIT to LAX and back on the same aircraft.

Oh yes. I do remember getting served one of these ice cream sandwiches on the return flight back to PIT on that particular trip to California on the 727.
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:06 am

Here are a couple of links to some old full PIT schedules from the 80s:

http://www.departedflights.com/PITp1.html

http://www.departedflights.com/PIT89p1.html
 
RICguy
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:03 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:45 am

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 18):
did US have to utilize remote parking for mainline aircaft and bused the pasengers out to the planes in a similar manner that it was done with the express flights? When I was younger i do remember seeing US mainline jets parked with stairs attached just passed the East Dock, visable from the Parkway west.

Yes, many of the BAC-1-11 flights and a few DC-9s parked at a remote location and passengers were bused to the main terminal. I always remember the RIC flights ended up arriving or departing from those remote locations. There were usually 5-10 A/C parked at the remote site at any given time, or at least during the early morning and mid to late evening bank.

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 18):
Also what gates did the AL commuter / US express flights depart out of at the old PIT terminal in the 80s to the very end

They parked at gate 21 at the very end of the southeast dock.

http://oldterminals.topcities.com/pit%20brochure3.jpg
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:02 pm

Quoting RICguy (Reply 21):
They parked at gate 21 at the very end of the southeast dock.

I do not really remember this particular gate area for the express flights. Was it a level below the main area? Was is it also used as the main boarding gate for the mainline flights that were parked at the remote hardstands?
 
Cody
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 12:16 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:17 pm

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 15):
Wow, US flew all the way from Pittsburgh to Finland non-stop? Who knew?

Sorry I meant PDX (Portland, OR).

As for meals, USAir served a hot breakfast every morning from PIT to PHL. The PA announcement went something like, "We are getting ready to serve you breakfast. Since this flight is so short, if you want breakfast, put your tray table down and when we come to you, tell us what you'd like to drink. If it is not down, we will assume you do not want anything and move on."

Sometimes passengers had to put their Aladdin trays under the seat in front of them for landing because there wasn't enough time to collect them!
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:36 pm

Quoting Cody (Reply 23):
Sometimes passengers had to put their Aladdin trays under the seat in front of them for landing because there wasn't enough time to collect them!

Ah the good old Aladdin trays. I was looking a few moments ago at the Dec.1989 PIT scheadules and was amazed on how many flights, especially shorter ones like PIT - PHL offered meal services as recently as then. You are now lucky to get anything on some of those flights now out of PIT or in fact such a flight in general period on US.
 
davidlc3
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:30 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:40 pm

When we first bought PSA the suits in PIT figured that if it worked in PIT, it would work in LA so they started serving hot meals on aladdin trays from SFO - LAX. TOTAL disaster! Not to mention they were serving things like ham salad and a bag of cheetos...  Smile

The ice cream sandwiches were eliminated to save cost...not the cost of the product but the cost of dental claims from pax (they were always heavily packed in dry ice and were like rocks) and cleaning costs...we always had a handful of seat cushions that had to be replaced each flight due to melting chocolate.
 
steeler83
Posts: 7391
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:38 am

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 15):
Wow, US flew all the way from Pittsburgh to Finland non-stop? Who knew?

haha... yeah, it's supposed to be PDX, as Cody has already corrected himself  Smile

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 24):
Ah the good old Aladdin trays. I was looking a few moments ago at the Dec.1989 PIT scheadules and was amazed on how many flights, especially shorter ones like PIT - PHL offered meal services as recently as then. You are now lucky to get anything on some of those flights now out of PIT or in fact such a flight in general period on US.

Oy...

For the heck of it, you could look at my post on "What's going on at PIT" regarding the latest suggested cuts at PIT. I am waiting for US to just get the hell out now and let somebody else come in and actually serve PIT "correct-ly"??? The next time I will fly into PIT is on another airline, even if it's WN from PHL or BWI. I am boycotting US...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
midway7
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:24 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:21 am

Quoting RICguy (Reply 21):
Yes, many of the BAC-1-11 flights and a few DC-9s parked at a remote location and passengers were bused to the main terminal. I always remember the RIC flights ended up arriving or departing from those remote locations. There were usually 5-10 A/C parked at the remote site at any given time, or at least during the early morning and mid to late evening bank.

Do you have any more information on this? Growing up, I loved the old PIT terminal and US hub, and to me it is a permanent memory of commerical aviation in the 1980's. I never knew they parked any aircraft remotely, with the exception of the props. What gates or areas in the terminal did pax board the busses at to take to these aircraft?

Thanks,

Midway 7
 
jcavinato
Posts: 392
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:14 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:27 am

USAir's Club. In 1983 (or '84) the company started a club along the main hallway about a hundred feet past security on the left side. It was something like $100 to join for one year. A life time was $300 and to include a spouse was $400. I paid for the lifetime for my and my wife. What a bargain over the twenty four years, though I thought it was going to disappear about four years ago (like my Eastern Airlines one did). They later moved it to the left wing of the terminal on the right hand side. Then they built three of them in today's terminal, though only the main one remains open.
 
RICguy
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:03 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:18 am

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 22):
do not really remember this particular gate area for the express flights. Was it a level below the main area? Was is it also used as the main boarding gate for the mainline flights that were parked at the remote hardstands?



Quoting Midway7 (Reply 27):
Do you have any more information on this? Growing up, I loved the old PIT terminal and US hub, and to me it is a permanent memory of commerical aviation in the 1980s. I never knew they parked any aircraft remotely, with the exception of the props. What gates or areas in the terminal did pax board the busses at to take to these aircraft?

I believe it was below or at ground level??? I never connected on an AL Commuter flight so I cannot say for sure. I also vaguely remember that the "remote aircraft" buses operated from a gate or location on the east concourse somewhere near gate 13???? Keep in mind that concourse was at ground level and I think the buses pulled right up to the gate or designated door. Check out the photo below. You can see a bus parked on the east concourse next to the 737 in the back ground. Also in the middle of the picture above the 1-11 in the background, you can see a bus heading to the remote stands. That is about the general area where the remote aircraft parked. It just appears none are parked at that time. Not sure when this was taken.

http://oldterminals.topcities.com/pit1989.jpg

I do remember during peak times US would use UA and PI gates on the east dock. My father traveled quite often through PIT during mid to early 80s, he always told me what a hassle connecting can be at PIT because of the remote parking of aircraft. It could be the fact that all his flights originated or departed for RIC which were also BAC1-11s.
 
USPIT10L
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:24 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:04 am

Quoting Deltaflyertoo (Thread starter):
From what I understand this operation at PIT was VERY profitable before US fell into buying PSA and Piedmont. Was curious though:

The 727s, ten of them, used from PIT to SFO and LAX, did they have special fuel tanks added? Or could any 727-200 do that route?

In 1987 on USAIR would rotate 737-300s on the PIT-SFO/LAX ops (equipped w/ video monitors for movies)...would loads fluctuate that they downsized from the 727 to the 737? Was their seasonal equipment rotations maybe 737s in winter and 727s in summer?

Did either type experience fuel stops on the way west?

As the hub grew for US was therre ever any talk of acquiring new 767-200s like PIedmont was and open PIt to LGW or PIT to CDG?

I don't remember fuel stops needed for those flights. I took a 733 to LAX in 1988 and 1989 (Christmas departure and New Year's arival) and we ddn't need fuel stops, not even for a redeye.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 1):
Not being a US Airways insider, I would not be able to verify if there was any internal talk of acquiring 767s before the Piedmont merger. However, after the merger, USAir used one of the Piedmont 767s to launch PIT-FRA (1990 I believe). This was the first non-Piedmont USAir trans-Atlantic flight. It was started before USAir had any trans-Atlantic from PHL.

Around the same time, USAir also applied for PIT-LGW/NRT.

I don't recall USAir proposing any nonstop transatlantic service from PIT or anywhere else until the PI merger.

Quoting Bcoz (Reply 8):
I believe they were using MCI to route a lot of traffic from PIT to the West Coast as late as 1991. I know my mom flew LAX-MCI-PIT on US that summer.

MCI was a USAir focus city from 1990 to 1993.

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 11):
Quoting Bcoz (Reply 8):
It was really amazing how they had tried to make the airport a functioning hub in a deregulated era in a building that, for the most part, was built long before deregulation. Baggage claim carosels here and there in a sort of random fashion... At least one or two gates that had their own security (kind of like MCI today).... Jetways from the lower level of the building where you had to walk up to your aircraft and not, for lack of a better term, down. Just a great hodge podge....

I remember that old PIT terminal, and those ramps to walk up to the aircraft and security screenings here and there. I remember the one screening area had mirrors on the ceiling! Looking back on that, I thought that was the sweetest thing!

I don't really remember the security areas, except for all the burgundy around the concourse (docks, whatever). The old USAir logo was everywhere! In fact, the only place they changed the logo was at the ticket counters. Everything else stayed there until the demolition in 1999.

Quoting N5014K (Reply 9):
Connections sometimes involved some long walks, although US ran some shuttle buses between the East Dock and the Southeast Dock. The gate area where the AL Commuter flights boarded was a madhouse. Usually buses took you to the planes at a remote location. The bus wold stop by several planes and they'd announce which flight it was. I got lots of good close-ups that way.

Yes gate 21 was a madhouse! Every time my grandma came from Jersey Shore, near IPT, we'd pick her up and drop her off there.

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 18):
With this 330 mainline departure peak in the late 80's, did US have to utilize remote parking for mainline aircaft and bused the pasengers out to the planes in a similar manner that it was done with the express flights? When I was younger i do remember seeing US mainline jets parked with stairs attached just passed the East Dock, visable from the Parkway west.

I do recall gate 32A being used for remote parking. IIRC RIC flights were one of them--I recall slipping and falling down the airstairs on a 727 (IINM) after we arrived at PIT. It had been raining when we arrived.

Quoting RICguy (Reply 29):
I believe it was below or at ground level??? I never connected on an AL Commuter flight so I cannot say for sure. I also vaguely remember that the "remote aircraft" buses operated from a gate or location on the east concourse somewhere near gate 13???? Keep in mind that concourse was at ground level and I think the buses pulled right up to the gate or designated door. Check out the photo below. You can see a bus parked on the east concourse next to the 737 in the back ground. Also in the middle of the picture above the 1-11 in the background, you can see a bus heading to the remote stands. That is about the general area where the remote aircraft parked. It just appears none are parked at that time. Not sure when this was taken.

See above. Gate 13 was a regular USAir gate--I flew out of it to TPA on February 13, 1988 on AL399 a 727-200. Wish I knew to catch the reg number, but I was six. Just remembering the date and gate was enough. The flight number came when I got a batch of AL/US timetables from 1983-1990 last year. What a bunch of memories those brought back! Thanks for the thread--it takes the sting out of all the cuts US is making these days here.
It's a Great Day for Hockey!
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:47 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 30):
See above. Gate 13 was a regular USAir gate--I flew out of it to TPA on February 13, 1988 on AL399 a 727-200. Wish I knew to catch the reg number, but I was six. Just remembering the date and gate was enough.

Infact, you still being able to remember the exact departure gate at PIT for your TPA trip at the the age of six is definately amazing.

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 12):
I do still remember quite well of one of my first plane trips as a child, on a US B727 from PIT to LAX and back on the same aircraft. This was back in the winter of 1985 and I do recall that the flight was non stop to and from PIT and LAX.

The only thing I recall from the departure gate for LAX that morning was that my departure gate was out of the old South Dock and it was a very cold and snowy winter morning in Feburary. I was five at the time. If I was going to guess the particular departure gate, it was either gate 33 or 32
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:25 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:02 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 30):
I do recall gate 32A being used for remote parking. IIRC RIC flights were one of them--I recall slipping and falling down the airstairs on a 727 (IINM) after we arrived at PIT. It had been raining when we arrived.[/quote

You may be correct. I do recall seeing busses parking at that particular gate area / ground level door and seeing people waiting in that particular area and getting on and off those busses.


[quote=RICguy,reply=29]I believe it was below or at ground level??? I never connected on an AL Commuter flight so I cannot say for sure. I also vaguely remember that the "remote aircraft" buses operated from a gate or location on the east concourse somewhere near gate 13???? Keep in mind that concourse was at ground level and I think the buses pulled right up to the gate or designated door. Check out the photo below. You can see a bus parked on the east concourse next to the 737 in the back ground. Also in the middle of the picture above the 1-11 in the background, you can see a bus heading to the remote stands. That is about the general area where the remote aircraft parked. It just appears none are parked at that time. Not sure when this was taken.



Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 30):
See above. Gate 13 was a regular USAir gate--I flew out of it to TPA on February 13, 1988 on AL399 a 727-200.

After looking at that photo, and looking at this old terminal map: http://oldterminals.topcities.com/pit%20brochure3.jpg
It looks like that those busses in that photo were coming and going from gate 11. That 737 looks like it was parked at gate nine. I do believe that gate 13 was a regular gate area with a Jetway. If a remember corectly did the gates prior to the rotunda area on the East Dock did not have any windows in the waiting area?
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
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RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:09 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 26):
For the heck of it, you could look at my post on "What's going on at PIT" regarding the latest suggested cuts at PIT. I am waiting for US to just get the hell out now and let somebody else come in and actually serve PIT "correct-ly"??? The next time I will fly into PIT is on another airline, even if it's WN from PHL or BWI. I am boycotting US...

The only thing I fear about boycotting US for their never ending hacking and slashing of flights out of PIT is if alot of people follow such suit, that will give US more reasons to downsize what is left even further and make PIT just a regular spoke of an average outstation. Yes I would love to see one or more of the discount carriers here at PIT like WN, B6, and FL and run large operations like out of PIT like WN does out of PHL and BWI for example, but unfortunately it is more wishful thinking at the present time.
 
RICguy
Posts: 107
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RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:26 am

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 32):
It looks like that those busses in that photo were coming and going from gate 11. That 737 looks like it was parked at gate nine. I do believe that gate 13 was a regular gate area with a Jetway. If a remember corectly did the gates prior to the rotunda area on the East Dock did not have any windows in the waiting area?

Yes, I think you are right. I couldn't remember the exact gate number but it looks like it would be gate 11. No, I don't believe they did have windows either. It was kind of dark narrow concourse too. The rotunda did have windows with individual boarding ramps for each gate.

Okay...it has been a long time since I have seen the movie "Money for Nothing" which starred John Cusack; but there was a scene toward the end of the movie in which he was trying to depart a flight from one of the rotunda gates at PIT. Not sure which one...I think it was the east dock??? Anyone interested might want to check it out, pretty good cast and I think it was based on a true story...
 
pitops
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:22 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:32 pm

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 33):
The only thing I fear about boycotting US for their never ending hacking and slashing of flights out of PIT is if alot of people follow such suit, that will give US more reasons to downsize what is left even further and make PIT just a regular spoke of an average outstation. Yes I would love to see one or more of the discount carriers here at PIT like WN, B6, and FL and run large operations like out of PIT like WN does out of PHL and BWI for example, but unfortunately it is more wishful thinking at the present time.

In the next couple years, WN will be adding more flights and possibly acquiring additional gates.
Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH
 
IADCRJ
Posts: 328
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RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:32 pm

Quoting RICguy (Reply 34):
Okay...it has been a long time since I have seen the movie "Money for Nothing" which starred John Cusack; but there was a scene toward the end of the movie in which he was trying to depart a flight from one of the rotunda gates at PIT. Not sure which one...I think it was the east dock??? Anyone interested might want to check it out, pretty good cast and I think it was based on a true story...

Thanks alot  Smile I now have another potentially good movie to put on my TO WATCH LIST .
 
steeler83
Posts: 7391
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:34 pm

Quoting PITops (Reply 35):
In the next couple years, WN will be adding more flights and possibly acquiring additional gates.

Heh... I guess with US downsizing possibly to something less than 100 daily flights, and a potential WN build up, we could have US with I guess 80 flights to about 30 cities and WN with maybe 30 or 40 flights to 10 or 12 destinations... I wonder what MSY looks like. Is that a focus city for anyone, or just one rather large spoke with a considerable WN presence pre-Katrina?
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
DiscoverCSG
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:22 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:02 am

Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

We already beat PDX to death... but did the old US even serve PDX? It seems to me PDX and SLC were big-ish holes in the US route map in the mid-'90's.

Quoting Davidlc3 (Reply 10):
We also did a wet lease program using our metal and our crews to fly BA colors from PIT/BWI-LGW.

Ah, yes! This was back when code-sharing was a novelty. I remember being told by a family member that code-sharing meant US crew and BA plane. Ugh.

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 30):
Every time my grandma came from Jersey Shore, near IPT

I presume you're talking about the town of Jersey Shore, PA? I'd like to know how that place got its name. I've commuted across PA on I-80 dozens of times, and depending on my mood, seeing the exit sign for Jersey Shore in the middle of PA was either a time to laugh or just a cruel joke.

Quoting IADCRJ (Reply 31):
you still being able to remember the exact departure gate at PIT for your TPA trip at the the age of six is definately amazing.

Well, I remember departing from C61 on "BA199" to LGW at the age of 11. Years later, I had some spare time in the PIT terminal before a flight, so I went down to Concourse C and saw the gate desks sitting empty, the glazed windows (why?) with the German and UK flags still hanging, though no flight had departed to either country in a long time. How sad!
 
steeler83
Posts: 7391
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:37 am

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 38):
Well, I remember departing from C61 on "BA199" to LGW at the age of 11. Years later, I had some spare time in the PIT terminal before a flight, so I went down to Concourse C and saw the gate desks sitting empty, the glazed windows (why?) with the German and UK flags still hanging, though no flight had departed to either country in a long time. How sad!

I take it that you were on a BA 763 back circa 1995 or so? And yes, the fact that PIT no longer has departures for Europe is indeed very sad. Part of me is actually hoping that US will just abandon PIT all together so that somebody else can come in and resurrect PIT, like CO is doing with CLE as we speak some years after UA pulled out of there. Maybe a boycott of US would only entice the airline to cut more service, but maybe that's what most of us seem to want anyway. Besides, if I am no longer going to fly that airline, that also means that I will not fly out of any airport. Put me on UA, CO, DL, NW, or AA, or any of the LCCs. Let this be official. My last US flight was 1566 on an A319 to PHL, and it took place back in March of this year...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
USPIT10L
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:24 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:02 am

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 38):
Quoting Cody (Reply 5):
but the 737's with auxiliary fuel tanks normally did not have a problem making it from PIT to LAX/SFO/POR.

We already beat PDX to death... but did the old US even serve PDX? It seems to me PDX and SLC were big-ish holes in the US route map in the mid-'90's.

Yes, USAir served PDX from 1988 to 1991, from RNO, SMF, and SFO, and also from 1994-95 with 757s nonstop from PIT.

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 38):
Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 30):
Every time my grandma came from Jersey Shore, near IPT

I presume you're talking about the town of Jersey Shore, PA? I'd like to know how that place got its name. I've commuted across PA on I-80 dozens of times, and depending on my mood, seeing the exit sign for Jersey Shore in the middle of PA was either a time to laugh or just a cruel joke.

Supposedly the residents were all from New Jersey. The exit's about 25 miles from the town, however. You take PA 880 to PA 44 and go through lovely (sarcasm) towns like Rauchtown to get into town. It's the only place in the world where my mom would let me watch all the TV I wanted. God I hated that place in the summertime.
It's a Great Day for Hockey!
 
phllax
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:53 am

RE: USAIR+Pittsburgh+1980s

Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:10 am

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 38):
We already beat PDX to death... but did the old US even serve PDX? It seems to me PDX and SLC were big-ish holes in the US route map in the mid-'90's.

PDX saw continued service for a short time after the PSA system was eliminated. I think it was a daily to PIT.

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