BostonBeau wrote:Before deregulation, National operated several flights a day between BOS and JFK, generally timed to make connections to international flights at JFK. National operated more BOS-JFK flights than any other airline at the time. During those days, many people traveled to Europe on a package tour, and most package tours originated at JFK. I think at that time, fares were based on the distance between starting and ending point, not on the actual miles flown. So a flight from Boston to London via JFK cost no more than a nonstop Boston-London flight: the airlines involved divvied up what was paid for the ticket. But, if you were on a tour-based fare, even though the airline would make more money flying you nonstop, rather than connecting at JFK, they wouldn't do it. I spent 30 minutes on the phone once with a Pan Am tour agent trying to convince him to let me fly BOS-LHR instead of BOS-JFK-LHR on a tour-based ticket.
National had a big problem though with labor, and more often than not was on strike. It's probably an urban myth, but supposedly National was in no hurry to settle strikes, because they made more from the mutual aid pact airlines used to have than they did flying.
You are very correct. Not only National but also Northwest took a very strong anti-labor stand. Ted Baker, the founder of National, and Donald Nyrop at Northwest were both notorious.
I think the only way the National/Pan Am merger really would have worked would have been if National was operated on its own Certificate and under its own name for at least a few years while the route system could have been rationalized to feed Pan Am's international flight without hurting National's domestic franchise between Florida and the West Coast (MIA-MSY-IAH-LAS-LAX/SFO). Living in New Orleans in the late 1960's and early 1970's, they were second in that city to Delta but probably stronger to the West Coast and definitely stronger to Tampa and Miami than Eastern, which was their competion on those routes.