Well, first, Braniff went bankrupt...makes you wonder about routes like this. Actually I like what I remember of Braniff. But I've never seen this route mentioned before, FWIW, and I try to keep abreast of Oklahoma airline history. (I live in OKC.)
Anyway, Braniff had roots in Oklahoma so maybe that was part of it.
Tulsa - Tokyo that sort of makes no sense . St Louis is bigger and they dont have service at the moment to Tolyo what airline at the moment would want to start service to Tokyo from Tulsa . At the moment I dont see that happening no time soon .
I think the TUL-NRT flight was ran around 6 flights daily. One of the flights originated in Lawton and one in Wichita Falls in order to tap into the military traffic. There was also talk of a MEM-TUL-NRT-HKG-SIN flight to tap into the Asian visitors going to Graceland.
As I recall, the BN TUL-NRT flight operated only as a test run since Muskogee (OK) was in the running for the 1980 Worlds Fair, but they lost out at the last hour. It was said that a popular song at the time "OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE" had played a part in the selection of another city. BOAT (from McAlester,OK.)
On Asian routes, Braniff operated the SP from LAX to SEL, continuing on to HKG and SIN. Another route crisscrossed the Pacific, DFW-HNL-GUM-HKG (the GUM-HKG leg on that was very short lived I might add). There were active plans at one point in BN's history to operate a "Round the World" service similar to what Pan Am and TWA operated eons ago, which today is operated by UAL. This probably would have used the SP and -200s.
Indeed, Braniff's CEO Harding Lawrence entered a bit of shall we say a "nutty phase" toward the end of his tenure at the carrier. (He resigned or was forced into resigning from the airline and went on to Pan Am, yet another carrier that crashed financially..hmm..strange no?) Lawrence added routes and bought airplanes 'like a drunk with a credit card' during the late 70s-early 80s. This was mainly due to his completely misguided belief that airline deregulation would be rescinded after a few years, Can we say "Ooops". (G) This explains BN's wacky and explosive route growth back then. But getting to the point: TUL-NRT wasnt one of them (G). In fact, I dont believe NRT was even served by BN at all, they bypassed NRT going to SEL because of Japanese regulatory constraints. I can just imagine the scene at TUL with all these passengers from Narita arriving there. That's funny to contemplate. (LOL!)
There was a long standing joke that if you told Harding Lawrence to go to hell...he'd send his corporate attorneys up to the Civil Aeronautics Board to apply for the route. (VBG)