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Now Extinct Low Fare Carriers Of Early 90's

Fri Jul 20, 2001 6:39 am

I flew quite a few of these in the early 90's. As a college student I was always looking for a great deal to head down to Florida to visit family. I wish I remember the exact dates of some of these flights, thinking back on them, they were quite an experience.

I flew the 3rd and final incarnation of Braniff from JFK to FLL, it had to be late 1991 I think. The 727 was red, and certainly seemed aging. One of the overhead bins was lacking a door to keep it closed. I was a little confused by the ticket jacked, it still had the old "billboard" log on it, and they had crossed out all of the rules and regulations with black ink, apparently they no longer applied. The gates they used at JFK were in one of the most run down terminals there, I don't remember which. The flights themselves were pretty uneventful, standards fare was served. I was even scheduled to fly them again the following July, but they went bankrupt before I got the chance.

I also flew Skybus, a public charter. They were also an experience. I don't know if they could have possibly squeezed any more coach class seats on the plane. the Plane itself, I think it was a 727 operated by Private Jet. These flights were pretty routine, they flew EWR-Sanford, FL-FLL. On the return, the only way my friend meeting me at the airport could find me was by the cardboard sign that had Skybus handwritten on it at the end of the terminal.

My best experiences were on Carnival. I flew several times direct from SWF-FLL and HPN-FLL, both routes I'm suprised haven't been picked up by someone else. After having my flight out of HPN cancelled due to snow, and convincing the reservation agent on the phone that Islip was not a "short" drive from my home in Connecticut as she insisted. I was rebooked on a Carnival flight from JFK-MIA. It was only upon arrival at the gate that I realized I would be flying on an Iberia 767 that was a code share. It was like being instantly upgraded. I got full meal service with silverware, I don't think the regular carnival flights were offering anything more than snack and beverage service in those days. I also got a movie and the chance to fly in a much more spacious widebody, all for $200.

Anyway, I'm still always open to flying any start up I can, I've also tried WestPac (I'll save that story for another day), CityBird, Spirit (Never again) and jetBlue (my first choice, when I travel anywhere).

I guess I regret never having the chance to have tried Kiwi, Sunjet or The Florida Shuttle, but from what I've heard I didn't miss much.
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RE: Now Extinct Low Fare Carriers Of Early 90's

Fri Jul 20, 2001 2:58 pm

What was CityBird like?
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
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RE: Now Extinct Low Fare Carriers Of Early 90's

Fri Jul 20, 2001 11:29 pm

CityBird was fantastic. At the time they were flying EWR-BRU. This was my first trip to Europe, even though it was mid December, the $200 roundtrip ticket was a steal. The MD-11 seemed to be pretty new, and I was really shocked by the level of service. For such a cheap fare, I didn't expect the full meal service, snacks, numerous drinks, and little travel pack that we recieved. I realize that is standard for most international flights, but I really didn't expect it for the price we payed. I really couldn't detect any difference in service. I'm assuming the routes weren't profitable for them, and that's why they pulled out. They must have been taking away too much business from Sabena for less than half the cost. And if I'm correct, they are partially owned by Sabena.


RE: Now Extinct Low Fare Carriers Of Early 90's

Mon Jul 23, 2001 5:30 am

Ever flown AirSouth? They had 737's and went out of business around 97. What food and drink was served on the Carnival flights?
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I Have Flown Airsouth And Kiwi!

Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:58 am

Oh, the good old college days when I was BROKE!!! I flew Airsouth twice, kinda neat story. I flew their 737 from Tallahassee to Atlanta back in 94 b/c the walk up fare r/t was approx. $75!!! I am not kidding, the flight attendants dragged an Igloo cooler down the aisle during the inflight beverage service! The return flight was cancelled Sunday night b/c a vehicle on the tarmac accidentally bumped into the plane. I complained about the inconvenience and got a free ticket, which I used in 95 to fly from Atlanta to Tampa. So, for $75 I definitely got my money's worth.

As for Kiwi, I flew them 2 or 3 times from Atlanta to Orlando on their old 727's, as they always had sales for $99 r/t. My most vivid memory was on a flight from MCO to ATL through a low pressure system around New Year's 1996. Both Atl and MCO were closed due to bad weather for 2 or 3 hours, so naturally there were 500-600 angry passengers at the gate . I somehow managed to sneak onto the 1st flight out that day, and I was in the last row beside an engine. We took off into the soup, and after we reached our cruising altitude of 35000 feet we were still in the clouds!! It was by far the most turbulent 1 hour flight of my life, and sitting in the last row didn't help. Needless to say, I survived. I also flew Valujet 2 times before their crash (never since), and I flew LTU from Orlando to Europe in May of this year for $299 r/t. I love the discount carriers, they keep the big guys from charging an arm and a leg. As long as they are safe, I will fly them.

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