sunking737
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30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 8:13 pm

"It was a rainy day in May of 1982. Pilots were getting messages to return to DFW. Rumors of a "Pilot Strike" were being used for the reason. Little did people know that a once great airline was being shut down. May 12th 1982 would become a sad day for many in The BRANIFF Family." from http://www.braniffpages.com/

Does anyone have memories of this day or of Braniff its self??
Just an MSPAVGEEK
 
Viscount724
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 8:24 pm

Reminds me of this photo of the Braniff terminal at DFW shortly after they ceased operations.

http://xplane10.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/2-25-death-of-bi.png
 
globalflyer
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 9:50 pm

Thanks so much. I just posted the same thing. This picture just fascinates me. BN was the best airline. The people, the planes, everything. You will always be remembered!
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
 
jfk777
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 10:17 pm

Very sad end to an airline which took the naval look out of planes. Harding Laurence was a pioneer who had limitless ambition. HE needed to merge with PAN AM.
 
chepos
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 10:22 pm

RIP Braniff, that is a creepy picture.

Regards,

Chepos
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NWAROOSTER
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 11:11 pm

Harding Laurence over expanded Braniff's flights to just keep from forfeiting them. Braniff was flying empty flights in the middle of the night. He caused the failure of Braniff.
As a side note. While Braniff shut down, the IAM took on a strike at Northwest Airlines with the prime issue being that Northwest wanted to establish part time help in the classifications below mechanic, such as Equipment Services, Stock Clerk and Cleaner. The IAM won the strike and part time help was not established. Part time help did not appear at Northwest until the merger with Republic Airlines which had part time help in the lower classifications.   
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B757Forever
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sat May 12, 2012 11:34 pm

I remember that day in May of 1982 as I was in A&P school in Ft Worth when Braniff shut down. I completed my courses and got my licenses in June of 1982. I quickly found there were virtually no jobs for A&P Mechanics as they had all been filled by former Braniff workers.
Shortly after the shutdown, I drove through DFW Airport and saw the masses of parked Braniff 727s. It was such a sad sight to see.
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September11
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 12:19 am

I love the picture above! I remember the reincarnation of Braniff III. Shut down for good in early 1990s.

[Edited 2012-05-12 17:38:50]
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contrails
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 12:30 am

It's been 30 years? Incredible!

I lived in the Metroplex when this happened. I had traveled on BN quite often, including a trip to LGW. I was taken back when the news came out, and it seemed to me like the whole Metroplex was under a cloud.

I drove out to DFW a few days after the shutdown and saw the planes sitting there. It is to this day one of the most depressing sights I've ever seen.

The saying "Gone but not Forgotten" is what I think of when I think of Braniff.
Flying Colors Forever!
 
delawareusa
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 1:17 am

Used to fly them from Mexico City to DFW in the mid 70s. Was sad when they shut down.
 
BobbyPSP
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 3:26 am

The beginning of the end so to speak...

I was working on the phones at United @ Atlanta Reservations when this was announced
 
802flyguy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 6:46 am

This sad anniversary sent me Gogling; I found this interesting article concerning the doings of Scott Spencer who had a great to do with the demise of Braniff II and Braniff III

http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla...orts-new-baggage-tag-code-fbi.html

"The years-in-the-making grand plan to convert the shuttered Norton Air Force Base into the grandly named San Bernardino International Airport, a hub of commercial flight, is now more than an expensive and protracted affair. It's a federal criminal investigation.

"The FBI has swept up phones, computers and documents from sundry airport agency and development offices and from what the San Bernardino Sun calls the rented gated mansion of airport developer Scot Spencer....

...How much clearer could it be? Not clear enough, it seems. If Scot Spencer had stolen a piece of luggage from an airport baggage carousel, he could never even get hired as a skycap. Yet Spencer, who had a hand in tanking an entire airline, still gets work developing SBIA."


I only flew the original BN once, a short SFO-LAX trip on a DC-8-62, but managed to ride Braniff III a few more times. As an aviation obsessed kid, I always admired the airline's style and panache. It was sad to see it go under. Amazing that has been thirty years.
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 9:43 am

I was 14 when BN shut down and living in Colorado, so my exposure to them was limited to just one set of flights taken two months before the shutdown. Years later, I had a co-worker who worked for the original Braniff. We got to talking about Fat Albert and she shared a story, i paraphrase:

When the order came to shut down, Fat Albert was in flight from Dallas to Honolulu. The story went that operations called the crew and informed them that the airline had shut down and they were all out of work, operations gave them the option of landing in Los Angeles and disembarking all the passengers then flying the plane back empty. According to my coworker, the captain replied, "We have 450 passengers who paid to fly to Hawaii and by god we're going to take them there." So the crew took the passengers the rest of the way, disembarked one load of passengers then supposedly picked up the other load of passengers waiting to fly back to Dallas and flew them back. My coworker said she knew people who were on the flight back and she described it as the wildest party in the sky.

My one experience on Braniff happened in March of 1982, flying from Denver to Ft Lauderdale for spring break. What really stands out was the hop from Miami to Ft Lauderdale. It was a clear night, we leveled off at 3,000 feet and slowed down to 200 miles an hour on a St. Patrick's day green 727. Sitting on the left side of the plane, I could see all of south florida lit up like a golden christmas tree. There were strings of gold lights as far as the eye could see. It's a sight I'll never forget as long as I live and I thank Braniff for giving me that memory. Ironically, my brother, who came in the next day along with my mother, didnt get that treatment. He and mom ended up driving from Miami to Ft Lauderdale on a chartered greyhound bus because their plane had to take a plane load of passengers from a canceled flight back to Dallas.

Braniff truly was a class act.

BTW, I thought I read somewhere that Harding Lawrence passed away this week. Ironic that he'd pass away so close to the thirtieth anniversary of the passing away of the Flying Colors.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 11:20 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
BTW, I thought I read somewhere that Harding Lawrence passed away this week.

No, Mr. Lawrence passed away in January of 2002 at age 81. He was married to Mary Wells, the advertising exec that got the Braniff advertising account as her new agencies very first account. She helped with the designs that made Braniff what it was in the late 60's. She is still around. Besides Braniff she also had Ford, Alka-Seltzer and BIC as accounts.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 11:41 am

I flew for Braniff International for 8 years-it was a truly unique organization with its own set of problems. Harding Lawrence (please note the correct spelling of his name) ran the airline like a monarchy. When he moved the corporate headquarters from Exchange Park near Love Field to DFW he had an incredible apartment built for himself INSIDE the building, complete with a private swimming pool (that leaked into the Human Resources Department below.) He had an insatiable ego, made many poor decisions and hired some questionable executives. Braniff also owned a villa in Acapulco for the exclusive use of its senior executives and on Friday nights first class would be packed with them. You always knew Harding was going to be aboard if you got on the aircraft and there was a bottle of Chivas sitting on the counter--the scotch we normally used was Dewars. For many years after Braniff had disposed of the BAC-111 fleet, they kept one airplane,(N1543) painted in a non-descript paint job, for the personal use by Harding, Ed Acker or whoever they decided could use it. Occasionally, it was leased out to various celebrities--I remember Cher used it at least once--but the costs of maintaining one airplane and keeping pilots and certain select f/a's qualified on it were enormous.

I was in management for a couple of years and every month there was something called "Management Club" in Dallas--most of us blew it off except for 2 nights per year--"Chairman"s Night" and "President's Night." Attendance at those was mandatory. A nice dinner was served. The "entertainment" at one Chairman's Night consisted of Harding and Mary Wells showing a slide presentation of all the homes they owned around the world--a house in Dallas, a co-op in New York, a villa in southern France (where Mary Wells Lawrence lives today) and a ranch out in Colorado or Wyoming someplace, as well as a home in Acapulco. This was being shown to people who took home on average $400 every two weeks. And what was really scary was listening to the comments of people seated around me saying things like "Isn't it just wonderful that they want to share this with us?"

Harding was eventually fired by the Board of Directors. John Casey took over then. When Casey resigned and went to Pan Am was, in retrospect, when I realized that the rats were leaving the sinking ship. One can only wonder what would happen today if a chief executive used funds in a publicly held corporation for personal use.

The real Braniff were the rank and file employees--wonderful people--who ran the airline in a professional and safe manner. They were the ones most hurt by the shutdown. The senior executives grabbed the cash and ran. With proper leadership, Braniff might not be a stand alone airline today but at least would have been a viable partner for a merger. They came close to merging with Eastern and Pan Am at various times but it just never materialized.

Oh well, we all moved on to bigger and better things. But Braniff International's first class service was legendary--our executive chef, Willy Rossell made sure of that. I remember him standing next to me as I carved a Chateaubriand once saying "Always add meat to sauce, never sauce to meat. Cheap cuts of meat are covered in liquid."
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traindoc
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 12:43 pm

My first jet A/C flight was in 1967, on a Braniff 720, from HOU to DAL. We even had breakfast on that flight of 1 hour! Ever since then I have been hooked on flying.

And yes, BN was a special airline which stood out from all the others. Now, if you want to have that type of flying experience, you will have to fly the likes of SQ, EK, etc. Air travel in the U.S. is now either Walmart (coach) or Costco (first class).
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 2:26 pm

One of the many great, unsolved mysteries of Braniff International was what happened to its extensive and VERY valuable collection of South American art. Various terminals, (DFW and MCI come to mind) had glass-enclosed cases displaying antiquities and original art work and pottery. Every Braniff airplane had original Peruvian molas on the bulkheads and the General Offices and training facilities had much on display. All of it mysteriously disappeared right under the eyes of the bankruptcy court. Guess we'll never know what really happened although I would like John Nance, a former Braniff pilot and now a great writer, to update his 1983 book "Splash of Colors." It is probably the most accurate version of the demise of one of America's greatest airlines but I am sure that over the years more information has come to him that would make very interesting reading.
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Okie
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 2:52 pm

Quoting B757forever (Reply 6):
I remember that day in May of 1982 as I was in A&P school in Ft Worth when Braniff shut down. I completed my courses and got my licenses in June of 1982. I quickly found there were virtually no jobs for A&P Mechanics as they had all been filled by former Braniff workers.


I had a friend who worked Mx for BN and when the shut down happened the creditors/bankruptcy court locked down all the facilities. It took practically six months before any of the Mx staff could recoup their personal tools and equipment. It was only with help from friends who loaned him tools and an understanding new boss and coworkers that he could regain employment.

Okie
 
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longhauler
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 2:57 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 16):
Guess we'll never know what really happened although I would like John Nance, a former Braniff pilot and now a great writer, to update his 1983 book "Splash of Colors." It is probably the most accurate version of the demise of one of America's greatest airlines but I am sure that over the years more information has come to him that would make very interesting reading.

I agree, this book reads like an adventure novel, and is well worth the effort to buy and read.

Clearly he had a lot of inside information, and as you state, likely has even more now.
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cargolex
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 3:22 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 16):
I would like John Nance, a former Braniff pilot and now a great writer, to update his 1983 book "Splash of Colors." It is probably the most accurate version of the demise of one of America's greatest airlines but I am sure that over the years more information has come to him that would make very interesting reading.

That would be fantastic. That's a great book, and very accurately outlines the organizational problems that lay underneath the glossy exterior. It would be genuinely interesting to hear what revelations have come about since publication. It's already a very good read and a good cautionary tale about how to manage a business.
 
bohica
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 3:43 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
the captain replied, "We have 450 passengers who paid to fly to Hawaii and by god we're going to take them there."

I read than in an article one time and according to the article the captain then said "What are they going to do? Fire me?"
I can't remember what publication it was in. I want to say Airliners or Airways. It's been a long time.   

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 14):
One can only wonder what would happen today if a chief executive used funds in a publicly held corporation for personal use.

Several years at Club Fed.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 6:10 pm

The stories of Harding Lawrence and his "manage by fear" method of management was legendary. He could also blow his top in a method that could be heard for hundreds of feet around him!

One time his daughter who was going to Duke took Eastern as Braniff didn't go there. On a trip back to Dallas, Eastern lost her luggage. He went over to the Eastern ticket counter and made a scene that had the entire terminal cringing.

He knew how each and every service was to be performed. One time a F/A had a glass turned the wrong way on the tray and when HL received it and saw the mistake he threw the entire tray back at her.

F/A's were known to call in sick if they knew HL was going to be on their flight that day.

Another F/A was non-reving and had HK sitting next to her. I believe the flight was DFW-LGA. She said he couldn't have been nicer and totally the gentleman. It was totally unexpected!

One Braniff place was HL's palace. On the walls there were original paintings, not copies.

HL's idea of expansion was "do it while you can" as he thought deregulation wouldn't last and that the industry would be re-regulated in a few years and airlines would be able to keep whatever routes that they had expanded into. This never happened and Braniff was not able to afford this mass expansion. Didn't they start like 24 new cities in one day?

I always liked the BAC-111. I think it was the perfect plane for their mid continent routes.

But if you look at the Braniff 1972 annual report, there is a section which details the fact that the board was already
concered with the rising price of jet fuel and was seeking ways to save fuel.

[Edited 2012-05-13 11:12:20]
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SingaporeBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 6:16 pm

What was the inflight service like and what was the FAs uniform like?Did they have both male and female FAs?I rremember they used to fly to Asia to Singapore on their beautiful orange 747SPs.Never got to see their crews at Paya Lebar airport and wondered if they layovered in SIN at that time.
 
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 7:36 pm

I never flew BN internationally, but I imagine it was just slightly better than the domestic service, which was wonderful.
Food choices were excellent, premium liquor was served in F. The F/A's always friendly.

The F/A's wore geometric Pucci outfits in bright bold colors, like celery green with purple and black and white. Later on they migrated to Halston uniforms which were brown suits with champagne colored shirts and ties. Very professional looking.
Any way you look at it Braniff certainly did stand out from the rest of the airlines. And I would go as far as to say that Braniff had
a look that changed F/A uniforms forever.

They have photos of these uniforms at http://www.braniffpages.com.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 7:38 pm

Quoting type-rated (Reply 21):
The stories of Harding Lawrence and his "manage by fear" method of management was legendary. He could also blow his top in a method that could be heard for hundreds of feet around him!



He could indeed have monumental temper tantrums. The rule was to place a glass in front of a f/c passenger turned so that the Braniff logo was visible. Flight Attendant 101 stuff. One of our established procedures was for the dessert cart was to use the silver champagne bucket and tastefully arrange to fruit in it for presentation. On one flight, Harding saw that, threw the champagne bucket across the cabin and screamed "champagne buckets are for champagne."

One day, shortly after starting our service to LGW, the 747 for that flight had a mechanical and HL threw a fit. He was flying to LGW that night and by God it was going to be on a Braniff flight! With only 2 747's in the fleet at that time and one down, this presented a major obstacle. So Marketing "wet-leased" a 747 with pilots and flight attendants from Wardair Canada for this one flight. By a stroke of sheer genius, Wardair had picked up the other "original" 747 that BI had never taken delivery of and left the interior in the original color scheme. Myself and another Braniff f/a were the only two real Braniff employees working the flight but I did all the announcements calling the flight Braniff International Flight 601 (I think it was) to London-Gatwick. Everything went very smoothly, Mr. Lawrence was a perfect gentleman and sought out the other f/a and myself to tank us after landing. I can only imagine what it cost to charter that airplane for a one-way flight!

Quoting SingaporeBoy (Reply 22):
What was the inflight service like and what was the FAs uniform like?Did they have both male and female FAs?I rremember they used to fly to Asia to Singapore on their beautiful orange 747SPs.Never got to see their crews at Paya Lebar airport and wondered if they layovered in SIN at that time.



Yes, Braniff had many male flight attendants. In South America they had been around since the fifties or even earlier but they did not come to the domestic system until 1973. I was fortunate enough to be among the first males hired. Our original uniforms were designed by Emilio Pucci and were the basic pilot's uniform--black, double breasted with brass buttons and a pilots hat. We had one gold stripe on the sleeve. The only difference was that the pilot uniform was dark blue.

Later, in about 1977, Braniff chose designer Halston to create a new look which included beige ultra-suede overcoats, a beige suit for both the men and women and an "H" print tie for the men and a blouse, skirt and waist sash in the same print for the ladies. The men wore "ecru" colored shirts (a light beige color). We really turned heads walking through terminals with our Hartmann luggage.

Service was very much like international service today of SQ and other carriers. We did a 6 cart presentation in first class and even in coach we served complimentary rose wine and "cappucino"--really all that was was hot chocolate, coffee and brandy. F/C service was done in "French" style, holding the two serving instruments in one hand and placing the food on the plates. They made us practice it and practice it until we could all do it. We even did what was essentially the same service in FC domestically on longer flights with a slightly abbreviated service from DFW to ORD. Meat was carved at passenger side, salad was served the same and desserts were things like Cherries Jubilee, Crepe Suzettes and Baked Alaska. As I recall there was a choice of 5 entrees in FC and 3 in YC internationally. There was no BC back then.
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jmbweeboy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 8:00 pm

I gather from what I've read here Lawrence was to Braniff what Leona Helmsley was to her hotels ?

JMBWEEBOY
 
citationjet
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 8:42 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
So the crew took the passengers the rest of the way, disembarked one load of passengers then supposedly picked up the other load of passengers waiting to fly back to Dallas and flew them back. My coworker said she knew people who were on the flight back and she described it as the wildest party in the sky.

My parents were non-revs on the last flight Braniff operated - flight 502 from HNL to DFW, which left HNL on May 12, 1982 and arrived in DFW the morning of May 13, the day AFTER Braniff had shut down. Below are their first class boarding passes. The crew who flew the flight 501 from DFW to HNL were indeed asked to land in LAX, but the captain refused and continued on to HNL. The flight and cabin crew then changed to civilian clothes and reboarded the same aircraft for the final flight back to DFW. All the non-revs and crew were put in first class for the last flight, including my parents. I have also confirmed from Flight 502's captain's widow that the flight crew actually did put the cost of fuel for that final flight on their personal credit cards, because the local fueler would not refuel the aircraft due the airline being shutdown earlier in the day, May 12. My parents landed at dawn at DFW, with planes parked everywhere. They rented a car and drove home to ICT, this ending his Braniff career that started in 1956.
Boarding passes from the last flight.
First Class boarding passes from Braniff's last flight operated. Flight 502 HNL to DFW. Departed HNL May 12, 1982 and arrived DFW May 13, 1982, the day AFTER Braniff shut down. My parents were non-revs on that flight.
First Class boarding passes from Braniff's last flight operated. Flight 502 HNL to DFW. Departed HNL May 12, 1982 and arrived DFW May 13, 1982, the day AFTER Braniff shut down. My parents were non-revs on that flight.
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longhauler
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 9:05 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
According to my coworker, the captain replied, "We have 450 passengers who paid to fly to Hawaii and by god we're going to take them there."

This has been reported often, and I always had a problem with it. Namely you have 450 passengers going away on vacation, (well most of them anyway, other than the HNL originating passengers). How enjoyable a vacation do you think they would have, knowing they have no way to get home? Other airlines would be booked solid, and any open space would be at a premium price.

It probably would have been a favour for them to return to them to DFW, where they started ... and where incidentally the outbound crew went! (probably also knowing they had no other way to get home).
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citationjet
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 9:15 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 27):
It probably would have been a favour for them to return to them to DFW, where they started ...

Most passengers on the DFW to HNL flights do not start their trip in DFW, so they wouldn't have been home either. They would have been in a city that is neither their home nor their final destination.
By flying on to HNL, they got one plane load to their destination, and got another plane load (like my parents) closer to home.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
WA707atMSP
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 10:54 pm

Quoting bohica (Reply 20):
Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12): the captain replied, "We have 450 passengers who paid to fly to Hawaii and by god we're going to take them there."
I read than in an article one time and according to the article the captain then said "What are they going to do? Fire me?"
I can't remember what publication it was in. I want to say Airliners or Airways. It's been a long time.

It was in Splash of Colors, of course. Here is the exact quote:

"Chic Smalley, flight engineer on Flight 501, raised Dallas operations (OCC) on the VHF ARINC (Aeronautical Radio, Inc.) frequency. 'Are you going into L.A.?' asked OCC, Chic asked Charlie (Charlie Lamb, the aircraft's captain) 'are we?'

Lamb didn't hesitate. 'Aw, hell. We've got perfect flying weather, three hundred people who've paid good money to go to Honolulu, and we've got enough fuel. Hell, no, we're not going into L.A.'

'I get the impression he diesn't care', Smalley said. 'He just asked, he didn't order us down'

'I don't care if he does order us down (Lamb said), we're going to Honolulu. If they don't like it - well, what can they do, fire me?"

All three laughed, and Smalley relayed the 'no' to OCC, who put up no protest."

Source: Page 369, Splash of Colors.
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Viscount724
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Sun May 13, 2012 11:16 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 24):
So Marketing "wet-leased" a 747 with pilots and flight attendants from Wardair Canada for this one flight. By a stroke of sheer genius, Wardair had picked up the other "original" 747 that BI had never taken delivery of and left the interior in the original color scheme.

As a sidenote, Braniff also leased the CP Air 747-200 below for about a month in November/December 1978, possibly to cover for an aircraft in maintenance. It was re-registered N620BN during the lease.


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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 12:07 am

You are correct. Braniff was scrambling in late 1978-79 for 747's for lease or sale and there just were not any available. We did lease that CP Air plane for a month and also an American 747 (N9666) which required that all of the f/a's go through speial training at AA's headquaraters in DFW to get qualified on the "lower lobe" galleys. You had to learn the emergency escape routes in case the elevators were inop. Later, BI lease another 747 from AA for a brief time (N9667)and finally, after a lease deal with Royal Air Maroc fell through, they managed to lease two 747's ex-Lufthansa, fondly known as "The HIndenburg" and "Hitler's Revenge." Neither were known for their mechanical reliability. The second one, N611BN was a 747-200 and they never got the orange paint quite right. It looked rather like a huge Dreamsicle. We also leased a World Airways 747 Convertable (N749WA) for a while before the 747SP's came online. That was a sweet airplane.
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modernArt
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 1:52 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 31):
Later, BI lease another 747 from AA for a brief time (N9667

This plane made a cameo appearance in an episode of "The Rockford Files." Jim and Rocky are on vacation in Hawaii. Its sitting in the background in one scene filmed at HNL.
 
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 2:43 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 24):
Service was very much like international service today of SQ and other carriers.

Thanks for your postings. That was awesome.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 2:56 am

The beginning of the end. Braniff had class. I worked for BN II. They had class, pride, and a work ethic no one else has. Now? So sad. It's not a career or source of pride... simply a job. I miss Braniff. I miss Eastern. I miss Pan American World Airways. I miss Northwest Airlines.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 4:20 am

And then there were a few who worked for all three versions of Braniff.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 4:37 am

I remember that Thursday afternoon as if it was yesterday. I was living in Dallas, and there were tornado warnings. I had flown on what turned to be my last Braniff scheduled flight the previous Sunday from ORD to DFW. Howard Putnum pulled the switch too quickly; he never looked for DIP financing, but at that time, no airline had filed Chapter 11 and kept flying. Additionally, there was a credit crunch, and interest rates were near or at their all time highs. I just bought a house and moved in and had a 16 3/4% 30 years fixed mortgage and was happy to get it. Jumbo CD's were paying about the same return. When the announcement was made, the local tv stations interrupted to report Braniff's shutdown. Putnum had all the planes come back to DFW so that creditors couldn't seize them.
 
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 11:56 am

Quoting type-rated (Reply 35):
And then there were a few who worked for all three versions of Braniff.

Putnam's mistake was not to have DIP financing in place but then no airline had ever gone bankrupt. The deal with Hyatt and PSA fell apart partly due to the fact that PSA wanted to staple all of the experienced Braniff people at the very bottom of their seniority lists. If they had been able to work that out a faster restart of Braniff might have been possible.

Braniff II made a good attempt to restart the airline. They had a lot going against them from the get go.

For example, when Braniff shut down in May, 1982, most of the aircraft were flown to DFW--the DC-8's went to DAL. However, many of the airplanes were never properly "pickled" for a long-term shut down. Some of them never even had the toilet tanks emptied or the food carriers removed. By all accounts the interors were a mess when they were attempting the restart and as a result had the added expense of gutting the interiors and replacing them. Most of the really good aircraft had been transferred by the leasors to PeoplExpress.

AA had total control of the DFW hub so Braniff !! wisely decided to concentrate on MCI and MCO--I have never really understood why MCI has never really made it is a hub as the location is great and the facilities quite good. It looks like a mini DFW with the semi-circular terminals. While O & D traffic may not be incredible its location has a lot going for it.

I had friends that had moved on to more financially stable airlines like Northwest and Piedmont after Braniff International and actually quit their jobs to return to Braniff thinking they were chasing a seniority number. Bad idea. Both airlines--Piedmont in particular--were just outstanding at hiring former Braniff people immediately. I was in the first class Northwest Orient hired and we had six former BI f/a's in our class. A group of pilots were going through training at the same time we were. Many people also went to Republic.

Braniff III was a pure joke. That Scott character was later indicted on fraud and other charges--he made a mockery of the good name of the airline and messed up the lives of a lot of good people. My only hope is that he was "very popular and made lots of new friends" in prison.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 1:00 pm

Growing up in an airline family I vividly recall the shutdown of Braniff. It was the first major US airline failure and really did send chills through the industry. The old days of failing carriers being ushered into the arms of stronger partners were OVER. Up until the day of Braniff's shutdown there was still the "government wont let us fail" mindset from the regulated days.

30 years later airline failures are de rigeur, but then it was a major shock. People use the word "shocking" as if they cant believe a cat would kill a mouse, things that aren't truly "shocking" by definition, but the collapse of Braniff WAS shocking.

I got to fly Braniff on a trip to MEX and ACA when I was four. I don't remember it at all but at least I got to experience the Flying Colors. RIP BN.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 6:10 pm

I was talking to a fellow aviation enthusiastic a few years back and he referred to Braniff II as ... "pretty much the original Braniff." According to him, it was run by most of the original execs and used the same pilots, FA's and aircraft. Would any of you agree with him?
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 6:48 pm

Not quite, Braniff II was bought and run by Jay Pritzker family of Chicago and the Hyatt Hotel chain.

Even though he claimed no airline experience, there are photos of him and Harding Lawrence at a Continental Airlines board meeting in 1961 and 1962. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to imagine a hotel magnate as being a director on a board of an airline.

Pritzker did hire some former Braniff execs, but not all. I think what the problem with Braniff II was trying to make MCI a hub. No airline has been able to make that happen yet. They started out right with some A320's, but couldn't produce enough funding to keep II going until all the A320's arrived. I believe those went to America West.

Somebody I knew that worked at Braniff II said the sales force was pretty weak and they didn't promote the airline as good as they could have. Which doesn't help matters either.

On a related subject, there always has been speculation that AA & WN kind of forced the original Braniff into the condition it was in at the end. After all he was the CFO of Southwest before being hired by Braniff to "save" it. Then there was that phone call from Robert Crandall trying to get Braniff to raise it's fares... that was an anti-trust action there. Anyway in 1982 both AA & WN were matching fares with BN no matter how low they went. Braniff just didn't have the money to stay in the game.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 6:49 pm

Would anyone here know if BN (version 1.0) had orders or were shopping for new aircraft near their end, aircraft other than the 727, DC-8, or 747? Were they actively looking at 727 replacements, such as 757?

At that time, they were a good model of minimal fleet types and standardization. This had its plusses, but also minuses, in that it might have been somewhat inflexible (for instance in smaller markets) or in the ability to shift capacity. I don't think any other contemporary large US airline had a similarly miminalist fleet selection. Possibly National? (but a much smaller airline).

Also, I know BN v 2.0 had a regional operation via Air Midwest, and the early 1980s, dedicated regional feeders were not commont, but was BN 1.0 in any planning any regional feed partnerships? Within a few years, most of the majors, and a few of the local service carriers, were using regional airline partners, wonder if BN was in that sort of planning, too.

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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 7:00 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
When the order came to shut down, Fat Albert was in flight from Dallas to Honolulu.
Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 12):
So the crew took the passengers the rest of the way, disembarked one load of passengers then supposedly picked up the other load of passengers waiting to fly back to Dallas and flew them back.
Quoting CitationJet (Reply 26):
My parents were non-revs on the last flight Braniff operated - flight 502 from HNL to DFW, which left HNL on May 12, 1982 and arrived in DFW the morning of May 13, the day AFTER Braniff had shut down.

Were there revenue passengers on the last flight BN 502 HNL-DFW? If so, who did the ground handling since the flight departed HNL after it was known that Braniff had shut down?

Who unloaded the plane at DFW?
 
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 7:48 pm

Quoting rampart (Reply 41):
Would anyone here know if BN (version 1.0) had orders or were shopping for new aircraft near their end, aircraft other than the 727, DC-8, or 747? Were they actively looking at 727 replacements, such as 757?

Braniff considered the 757 and L-1011-500 as 727 and DC-8-62 replacements in 1978 / 79.

From 1980 onward, Braniff's situation was so grim that they were selling aircraft at fire sale prices to raise cash. Braniff sold new 727-200s off the Boeing flight line to Air Florida, and an undelivered 747SP to Aerolineas Argentinas. Braniff simply could not have been able to finance new aircraft after 1979.

As Braniff contracted, they had a large number of surplus aircraft, so they also sold 30 of their oldest 727-200s to AA in 1980. AA used these aircraft to replace 707s, which were even older and less fuel efficient than the ex-BN 727-200s.

This transaction was truly a "win / win" situation for both airlines, because it lowered the average fleet age of both BN and AA! Braniff offered to sell TWA fifteen 727-200s, also to replace 707s, but TWA did not take Braniff up on the offer.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 7:52 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 43):
Quoting rampart (Reply 41):
Would anyone here know if BN (version 1.0) had orders or were shopping for new aircraft near their end, aircraft other than the 727, DC-8, or 747? Were they actively looking at 727 replacements, such as 757?

Braniff considered the 757 and L-1011-500 as 727 and DC-8-62 replacements in 1978 / 79.

Going a little OT, I think Braniff's "Ultra" colors would have looked SENSATIONAL on a 757-200, especially the dark blue scheme! It is a shame they did not stay in business long enough to buy 757s.....
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 8:16 pm

Quoting milesrich (Reply 36):
I remember that Thursday afternoon as if it was yesterday. I was living in Dallas, and there were tornado warnings

This reminds me of the recollection of how Bob Crandall heard the news (from the book Hard Landing).

He and another executive were on an AA 727 on the tarmac at DFW ... it was raining and storming terribly, there was lightning, ground stop, ramp closed, etc. All of a sudden the captain came back, whispered something in Crandall's ear and walked back to the cockpit. Crandall got up, motioned to his counterpart and said "We're getting off. Braniff just shut down." The two walked down the aft 727 staircase and waited in the pouring rain for a ride.

Classic Bob Crandall.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 8:28 pm

Is the random Braniff tag still at the end of South Park episodes?

One of my earliest memories is being at MEM and seeing a dark blue Braniff 727, which I thought was just the bee's knees. Always wanted to fly them but never got too (being about 7 or 8 at this point I didn't have a lot of say in the family's travel plans)...
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 8:47 pm

One of the things I recall reading in "Splash of Colors" is that, ironically, once Braniff was shut down and auditors started going through the Braniff books, Braniff actually had plenty of cash on hand and could have actually continued operating.

From "Splash of Colors:"

"Buried in the figures, however, were two other important bits of information, the significance of which was missed. First, the prepaid fuel already 'in the system' and available for use amounted to an additional $14 million, or enough to fly Braniff for two weeks. The second, though, was the ticking bomb. Braniff had indeed run out of crash, because the money it had earmarked for reflying a shut-down airline (in accordance with 'The Plan') was left safety on another part of the balance sheet. Braniff had been taking in as much as $100 million per month in gross revenues as late as November 1981 (before Texas Class was introduced), but by March and April 1982 this had dropped to $80 million in gross revenues per month. A healthy airline with such an income should have had no more than $90 million in receivables. A cash-strapped airline would have less than $80 million. Braniff (according to the sworn documents filed July 26, 1982) had a staggering $138.5 million! Braniff hadn't had enough cash in the accounts because it had failed to collect it.

Whether by design or incredible managerial negligence, the collection of Braniff's vital receivables had begun slowing down amid word of an impending shut-down (circulating among the employees of that department) as early as April 20, 1982. The result was the whopping nest egg of $129 million ($138.5 million less about $9 million for doubtful accounts). That was the location of the restart cushion.

None of the $129 million figure reflects the potential value of the boxes and stacks of unprocessed tickets, returned items, overpaid accounts and other interline documents that the people of the accounting areas were never given the help nor the time to process - items estimated to represent up to $50 million of potentially recoverable income to Braniff."

Braniff, in one form or another, actually still had plenty of cash or assets on hand to continue operating!

Also interesting to mention, is the fact that after Braniff shut down, there were negotiations in the work with Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) to use a re-started Braniff as a subsidiary as PSA based in DFW. That possibility is mentioned in several publications. The joint-venture between PSA and a re-born Braniff never took flight, however.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 10:18 pm

It was always rumored that Howard Putnam was brought in not to save Braniff, but to shut it down.
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RE: 30 Years Ago Today Braniff Shuts Down

Mon May 14, 2012 10:46 pm

Quoting type-rated (Reply 48):
It was always rumored that Howard Putnam was brought in not to save Braniff, but to shut it down.

I know that Southwest Airlines was not the company it is today... but by the early 80's it had accomplished nearly a decade of profits and was already a strong company. I have a hard time believing that Howard Putnam would choose to leave a company like that, with a potentially bright and prosperous future, to take charge of an airline that was shutting down.

Granted, Southwest was still in its early days, but it's future was bright.... but I just cannot believe he left a high-management position at WN to accept a position at BN knowing his role, and legacy, would be running an airline into it's final days.
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