Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
miaami
Topic Author
Posts: 936
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:27 am

Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:16 pm

Here is another interesting Enterprise video regarding the final days of Braniff in 1983.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nw4evfi_pU
 
CFWAD
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:36 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:15 pm

Great video and behind the scenes look at the last few weeks and months, however, Braniff I declared bankruptcy in May 1982; the Enterprise episode was released in 1983.
CaVOK
A300.310.319.320.321.332.333.343.B722.732.733.734.735.736.73G.738.739.742.74M.752.762.763.772.773.779.CR2.CR7.DC9.DC10.DH1.DH3.DH4.E135.E175. E195.MD83
 
cs03
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:56 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:26 pm

Also, "Splash of Colors" by John J Nance is quite a good book about the rise and fall of Braniff.
 
PANAMsterdam
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:04 pm

Thanks for sharing that Interesting video! Sad to see how they ended and shocking to see an airline going from highly profitable to bankruptcy in three years. I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
Iloveboeing
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:02 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:07 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
Thanks for sharing that Interesting video! Sad to see how they ended and shocking to see an airline going from highly profitable to bankruptcy in three years. I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.


Of course. AA vigorously defends its DFW hub like a mama bear defends her cubs.
 
PANAMsterdam
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:11 pm

After kicking out Delta in the mid 2000’s all non American Airlines planes are nowadays a little scared to land at DFW, afraid they might be eaten alive by AA as well :lol:
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
SpaceshipDC10
Posts: 7016
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:13 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.


I doubt they would still be around by now when you see what happened to CO, NW or US. Either they would indeed have been crushed by AA or acquired by another player, at least for the hub and probably the large fleet of 727s. DL comes to mind.
 
PANAMsterdam
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:18 pm

SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.


I doubt they would still be around by now when you see what happened to CO, NW or US. Either they would indeed have been crushed by AA or acquired by another player, at least for the hub and probably the large fleet of 727s. DL comes to mind.


That’s a very good point. Perhaps there would be a duopoly now at Dallas consisting of AA and DL, the same way AA has a duopoly at ORD with UA. But was Delta Air Lines a big airline in the early 80’s? If I recall correctly, they said in the video mentioned above that Braniff was the 9th largest airline in the US. What was the top 10 at that time? Pan Am number 1 internationally I assume, but overall...?
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
MrMD11
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:40 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:56 pm

Did anybody else notice Gordon Bethune at 03:25 ? Worked in the Maintenance Department at Braniff at the time.
 
davescj
Posts: 1287
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:58 pm

Thank you for posting. It was interesting. to see how and why some of the decisions were made.
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
vegasplanes
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:22 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:02 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.


I doubt they would still be around by now when you see what happened to CO, NW or US. Either they would indeed have been crushed by AA or acquired by another player, at least for the hub and probably the large fleet of 727s. DL comes to mind.


That’s a very good point. Perhaps there would be a duopoly now at Dallas consisting of AA and DL, the same way AA has a duopoly at ORD with UA. But was Delta Air Lines a big airline in the early 80’s? If I recall correctly, they said in the video mentioned above that Braniff was the 9th largest airline in the US. What was the top 10 at that time? Pan Am number 1 internationally I assume, but overall...?


According to the ATA for 1980 - the largest airlines by revenue were in order:

UA $4.373 BILLION
AA 3.675
PN 3.639
EA 3.453
DL 3.302
TW 3.278
NW 1.628
BN 1.444
RC 1.240 - only includes RW from 10/80
CO 0.988 - TI was 0.293 - FYI

By revenue DL was # 5 - BN was # 8 - soon to be #9 when RC included RW for full-year

What is most noticeable was the drop-off between TW (#6) and NW (#7) - half the size.
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:38 pm

vegasplanes wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
SpaceshipDC10 wrote:

I doubt they would still be around by now when you see what happened to CO, NW or US. Either they would indeed have been crushed by AA or acquired by another player, at least for the hub and probably the large fleet of 727s. DL comes to mind.


That’s a very good point. Perhaps there would be a duopoly now at Dallas consisting of AA and DL, the same way AA has a duopoly at ORD with UA. But was Delta Air Lines a big airline in the early 80’s? If I recall correctly, they said in the video mentioned above that Braniff was the 9th largest airline in the US. What was the top 10 at that time? Pan Am number 1 internationally I assume, but overall...?


According to the ATA for 1980 - the largest airlines by revenue were in order:

UA $4.373 BILLION
AA 3.675
PN 3.639
EA 3.453
DL 3.302
TW 3.278
NW 1.628
BN 1.444
RC 1.240 - only includes RW from 10/80
CO 0.988 - TI was 0.293 - FYI

By revenue DL was # 5 - BN was # 8 - soon to be #9 when RC included RW for full-year

What is most noticeable was the drop-off between TW (#6) and NW (#7) - half the size.


Even though that 1980 figure for Pan Am (which should be PA, not 'PN') includes the former National Airlines. which PA took over early that year, I'm surprised they are at #3 on the list, ahead of Eastern and Delta. Would've guessed they would be right around TWA in revenue.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 8102
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:42 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
After kicking out Delta in the mid 2000’s all non American Airlines planes are nowadays a little scared to land at DFW, afraid they might be eaten alive by AA as well :lol:


You have WN's 'little' 195 mainline ops a day at DAL. There's a fair amount of competition in the Dallas market although no, it isn't fragmented like LAX.
 
alfa164
Posts: 3619
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:47 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:24 am

That is an interesting, rather matter-of-fact look at the unfortunate situation Braniff faced; the program scrupulously failed to mention the "dirty tricks" AA used to help precipitate the airline's downfall. Living in Dallas at the time, I saw some of what was happening.


https://www.upi.com/Archives/1982/03/10 ... 384584400/

https://oklahoman.com/article/1984160/d ... ged-tricks
I'm going to have a smokin' hot body again!
I have decided to be cremated....
 
vegasplanes
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:22 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:45 am

mga707 wrote:
vegasplanes wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:

That’s a very good point. Perhaps there would be a duopoly now at Dallas consisting of AA and DL, the same way AA has a duopoly at ORD with UA. But was Delta Air Lines a big airline in the early 80’s? If I recall correctly, they said in the video mentioned above that Braniff was the 9th largest airline in the US. What was the top 10 at that time? Pan Am number 1 internationally I assume, but overall...?


According to the ATA for 1980 - the largest airlines by revenue were in order:

UA $4.373 BILLION
AA 3.675
PN 3.639
EA 3.453
DL 3.302
TW 3.278
NW 1.628
BN 1.444
RC 1.240 - only includes RW from 10/80
CO 0.988 - TI was 0.293 - FYI

By revenue DL was # 5 - BN was # 8 - soon to be #9 when RC included RW for full-year

What is most noticeable was the drop-off between TW (#6) and NW (#7) - half the size.


Even though that 1980 figure for Pan Am (which should be PA, not 'PN') includes the former National Airlines. which PA took over early that year, I'm surprised they are at #3 on the list, ahead of Eastern and Delta. Would've guessed they would be right around TWA in revenue.


My apologies on the code.

Here's the major stats per the ATA

PA 32,259 employees 15.217 million passengers 168,027 departures 30.18 billion RPMs 971 million Freight Ton miles $3.639 B in revenue $(247.6) million loss

TW 33,852 employees 20.398 million passengers 254,948 departures 28.1 billion RPMs
274.2 million Freight Ton miles $ 3.278 B in revenue $ 21.9 million profit

Seems Freight is where PA really excelled against TW
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 7291
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:17 am

Would've been a lot better for Pan Am to merge with Braniff, IMO.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
User avatar
jscottwomack
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:44 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:27 am

PANAMsterdam wrote:
SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
I really wonder how Braniff’s history would have looked like if they hadn’t overly expanded. Maybe they were still flying today or maybe they would have succumbed to the brutal strength of American Airlines eventually anyway? We will never know.


I doubt they would still be around by now when you see what happened to CO, NW or US. Either they would indeed have been crushed by AA or acquired by another player, at least for the hub and probably the large fleet of 727s. DL comes to mind.


That’s a very good point. Perhaps there would be a duopoly now at Dallas consisting of AA and DL, the same way AA has a duopoly at ORD with UA. But was Delta Air Lines a big airline in the early 80’s? If I recall correctly, they said in the video mentioned above that Braniff was the 9th largest airline in the US. What was the top 10 at that time? Pan Am number 1 internationally I assume, but overall...?



Delta has a hub at DFW after Braniff till the early 2000s. Delta tried and pulled out.
TWA, Ozark, Braniff, Piedmont, USAir, American, Delta, Frontier, Midwest Express, Western, Eastern, Southwest, Northwest, PanAm, United, Mississippi Valley, Britt, Continental, Trans America, Midway, America West, National, American Trans Air, Sun Country
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:27 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Would've been a lot better for Pan Am to merge with Braniff, IMO.


I have long thought that as well. National was just not a good 'fit' for Pan Am.
 
zkeoj
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:00 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:20 am

When did Ch11 came in? I assume that didn't exist at that time, else Braniff would have gone for that? I looked up on google, but couldn't find a date when it was introduced, only what it is, and how it relates to other chapters, such as Ch7.
 
alfa164
Posts: 3619
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:47 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:53 am

zkeoj wrote:
When did Ch11 came in? I assume that didn't exist at that time, else Braniff would have gone for that? I looked up on google, but couldn't find a date when it was introduced, only what it is, and how it relates to other chapters, such as Ch7.


They did file Chapter 11, but without the support of creditors or outside financial institutions, there was no initial pathway to reorganize. Two years after it was grounded, Hyatt Corporation "came to the rescue", offering a reorganization and a plan to operate the airline. They did operate briefly (maybe 4 years?) as a LCC, but quietly folded after that.
I'm going to have a smokin' hot body again!
I have decided to be cremated....
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:40 am

alfa164 wrote:
zkeoj wrote:
When did Ch11 came in? I assume that didn't exist at that time, else Braniff would have gone for that? I looked up on google, but couldn't find a date when it was introduced, only what it is, and how it relates to other chapters, such as Ch7.


They did file Chapter 11, but without the support of creditors or outside financial institutions, there was no initial pathway to reorganize. Two years after it was grounded, Hyatt Corporation "came to the rescue", offering a reorganization and a plan to operate the airline. They did operate briefly (maybe 4 years?) as a LCC, but quietly folded after that.


The second iteration of Braniff operated for 5 1/2years, from spring of '84 until fall of '89. Initially with a DFW hub, started a second hub at MCI after only about two years and then rapidly scaled back their DFW operation. Acquired Florida Express in 1987, which brought BAC-111s into their previously all 727-200 fleet. Some of the BACs were aircraft that the original Braniff had operated new back in the '60s. In 1989 they added ex-Western/Delta 737-200s to the fleet, grounded the fuel-thirsty BACs, and right before their demise that fall they started to take delivery of brand-new A320s that had been ordered and then cancelled by financially troubled Pan Am.
 
PANAMsterdam
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:54 am

alfa164 wrote:
That is an interesting, rather matter-of-fact look at the unfortunate situation Braniff faced; the program scrupulously failed to mention the "dirty tricks" AA used to help precipitate the airline's downfall. Living in Dallas at the time, I saw some of what was happening.


https://www.upi.com/Archives/1982/03/10 ... 384584400/

https://oklahoman.com/article/1984160/d ... ged-tricks


Wow that's disgusting what AA has done. I wasn't a big fan of them after i learned what they had done to TWA staff and now this... Competition is good, but dirty tricks are bad (yes, that applies to you too, BA!)
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
zkeoj
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:00 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:59 am

mga707 wrote:
alfa164 wrote:
zkeoj wrote:
When did Ch11 came in? I assume that didn't exist at that time, else Braniff would have gone for that? I looked up on google, but couldn't find a date when it was introduced, only what it is, and how it relates to other chapters, such as Ch7.


They did file Chapter 11, but without the support of creditors or outside financial institutions, there was no initial pathway to reorganize. Two years after it was grounded, Hyatt Corporation "came to the rescue", offering a reorganization and a plan to operate the airline. They did operate briefly (maybe 4 years?) as a LCC, but quietly folded after that.


The second iteration of Braniff operated for 5 1/2years, from spring of '84 until fall of '89. Initially with a DFW hub, started a second hub at MCI after only about two years and then rapidly scaled back their DFW operation. Acquired Florida Express in 1987, which brought BAC-111s into their previously all 727-200 fleet. Some of the BACs were aircraft that the original Braniff had operated new back in the '60s. In 1989 they added ex-Western/Delta 737-200s to the fleet, grounded the fuel-thirsty BACs, and right before their demise that fall they started to take delivery of brand-new A320s that had been ordered and then cancelled by financially troubled Pan Am.


alfa164 and mga707: Many thanks for the clarification. Would have been cool to have another update of that documentary for after the "second and final collapse". I loved the colourful birds - what a shame they went down the way they did :(
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:30 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Would've been a lot better for Pan Am to merge with Braniff, IMO.


Airline mergers, particularly at that time, were a mess and very complex undertakings, operationally for the industry. Pan Am needed to merge with a US carrier that had a strong domestic footprint and a hub outside of New York and Miami. Pan Am never quite adapted to the rapidly changing circumstances of the competitive landscape. It focused much of its growth in the 1980s on the New York market (Pan Am Express at JFK, the Shuttle at LGA) and took out the crown jewels of its network by selling off the Asia Pacific and LHR routes in 1991 to survive (the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 was yet another deep nail in the coffin for Pan Am). The airline simply didn't adapt. It shifted flying to smaller A310s but the 747s were still the backbone of the fleet, and difficult to fill in slower travel months. The Persian Gulf crisis and then the war, recession, and very shortsighted management all contributed to the airline's demise. Pan Am entered the 1980s and exited the decade with a domestic route map that was virtually unchanged.
 
SpaceshipDC10
Posts: 7016
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:36 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Would've been a lot better for Pan Am to merge with Braniff, IMO.


That would probably have been a better choice compared to National, however, did Pan Am had enough money to acquire Braniff when they went after National?
 
cs03
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:56 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:57 pm

Recalling from memory, but Pan Am paid a high price for National, as there was a bidding war with Texas International to control National and Frank Lorenzo walked away with a quick profit on the deal after Pan Am paid the higher per share price.
 
SpaceshipDC10
Posts: 7016
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:05 pm

cs03 wrote:
Recalling from memory, but Pan Am paid a high price for National, as there was a bidding war with Texas International to control National and Frank Lorenzo walked away with a quick profit on the deal after Pan Am paid the higher per share price.


True, PA paid way too much for National, but how much should they have paid for Braniff, and how much more compared to NA?
 
N104HR
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:24 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:52 pm

BN had such a robust network spanning up/down the middle of the country that could have been paired down once merged with a coastal carrier. A merger with People’s Express I think would have had an interesting, complimentary network that they could have used and abandoned some of the ridiculous post-deregulation routes they operated.
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:32 pm

zkeoj wrote:
mga707 wrote:
alfa164 wrote:

They did file Chapter 11, but without the support of creditors or outside financial institutions, there was no initial pathway to reorganize. Two years after it was grounded, Hyatt Corporation "came to the rescue", offering a reorganization and a plan to operate the airline. They did operate briefly (maybe 4 years?) as a LCC, but quietly folded after that.


The second iteration of Braniff operated for 5 1/2years, from spring of '84 until fall of '89. Initially with a DFW hub, started a second hub at MCI after only about two years and then rapidly scaled back their DFW operation. Acquired Florida Express in 1987, which brought BAC-111s into their previously all 727-200 fleet. Some of the BACs were aircraft that the original Braniff had operated new back in the '60s. In 1989 they added ex-Western/Delta 737-200s to the fleet, grounded the fuel-thirsty BACs, and right before their demise that fall they started to take delivery of brand-new A320s that had been ordered and then cancelled by financially troubled Pan Am.


alfa164 and mga707: Many thanks for the clarification. Would have been cool to have another update of that documentary for after the "second and final collapse". I loved the colourful birds - what a shame they went down the way they did :(


There was also a very short-lived 'Braniff 3' that operated briefly in the early '90s. From all I recall about them they were a total mess of an operation and thankfully did not last long.
 
alfa164
Posts: 3619
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:47 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:38 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
Wow that's disgusting what AA has done. I wasn't a big fan of them after i learned what they had done to TWA staff and now this... Competition is good, but dirty tricks are bad (yes, that applies to you too, BA!)


It was sad. Those were the heydays of Robert Crandall, the brilliant but ruthless (and, apparently, scrupleless) head of AA. I personally saw some of this; I was flying weekly between DFW and ORD at the time, generally alternating between AA and BN (one flew hourly on the hour; one flew hourly on the half-hour; I forgot which was which). I had a flight booked an American, and when I got the the airport I was told the flight was cancelled. I asked the counter agent to put me on the next Braniff flight instead - tickets were interchangeable, and I knew BN had a flight 30 minutes later - so she did a few things on her screen, got on her phone, and, after a few moments, told me she could not do that because the BN flight was full. I told her I would catch AA an hour later.

As I left the counter, I was a little perplexed, because the DFW-ORD flights were never full - usually barely half full. I went to a phone and called Braniff myself; they had plenty of seats. I took the Braniff flight.

One other thing I learned about later: Braniff's most profitable route was the DFW-HNL on the 747, and its First Class cabin was almost always full even though these were expensive tickets. "Someone" got the idea of calling BN and making reservations for large groups of First Class seats - and, keep in mind, in those days you could easily call and make the reservation, and pay for it when you got to the airport - but those "someones" never showed-up for the flight. The result was Braniff being denied the opportunity to sell the most profitable seats on the entire airline, while incurring the (expensive) catering and crew costs. While it is difficult to prove who was behind it, the suspects seem obvious to me.


mga707 wrote:
There was also a very short-lived 'Braniff 3' that operated briefly in the early '90s. From all I recall about them they were a total mess of an operation and thankfully did not last long.


That's right; a Miami shopping-center developer named Jeffrey Chodorow teamed-up with Paine Webber to buy the skeleton of Braniff from Hyatt Hotels; they lasted for almost exactly a year (July 1991 - July 1992), even though they had declared bankruptcy less than two months after they started flying. It was the saddest reiteration and the most ignominious end of a once-innovative and classy airline that I can imagine.
I'm going to have a smokin' hot body again!
I have decided to be cremated....
 
PANAMsterdam
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:45 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:50 pm

alfa164 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
Wow that's disgusting what AA has done. I wasn't a big fan of them after i learned what they had done to TWA staff and now this... Competition is good, but dirty tricks are bad (yes, that applies to you too, BA!)


It was sad. Those were the heydays of Robert Crandall, the brilliant but ruthless (and, apparently, scrupleless) head of AA. I personally saw some of this; I was flying weekly between DFW and ORD at the time, generally alternating between AA and BN (one flew hourly on the hour; one flew hourly on the half-hour; I forgot which was which). I had a flight booked an American, and when I got the the airport I was told the flight was cancelled. I asked the counter agent to put me on the next Braniff flight instead - tickets were interchangeable, and I knew BN had a flight 30 minutes later - so she did a few things on her screen, got on her phone, and, after a few moments, told me she could not do that because the BN flight was full. I told her I would catch AA an hour later.

As I left the counter, I was a little perplexed, because the DFW-ORD flights were never full - usually barely half full. I went to a phone and called Braniff myself; they had plenty of seats. I took the Braniff flight.

One other thing I learned about later: Braniff's most profitable route was the DFW-HNL on the 747, and its First Class cabin was almost always full even though these were expensive tickets. "Someone" got the idea of calling BN and making reservations for large groups of First Class seats - and, keep in mind, in those days you could easily call and make the reservation, and pay for it when you got to the airport - but those "someones" never showed-up for the flight. The result was Braniff being denied the opportunity to sell the most profitable seats on the entire airline, while incurring the (expensive) catering and crew costs. While it is difficult to prove who was behind it, the suspects seem obvious to me.


Gosh, that's not even unfair competition this is deceiving customers and flat out bullying of Braniff. Thanks for sharing this story!

As an aviation fan, I have always wished that I was born 30 years earlier because when I came around, all the fun was gone :(
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
User avatar
BN727227Ultra
Posts: 695
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:15 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:03 pm

alfa164 wrote:
That is an interesting, rather matter-of-fact look at the unfortunate situation Braniff faced; the program scrupulously failed to mention the "dirty tricks" AA used to help precipitate the airline's downfall. Living in Dallas at the time, I saw some of what was happening.


https://www.upi.com/Archives/1982/03/10 ... 384584400/

https://oklahoman.com/article/1984160/d ... ged-tricks


AA tried to rope BN in on the dirty tricks. Crandall wanted BN to collude on pricing to drive DL out of DFW, but the BN guy was taping the conversation...
 
USAirKid
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:42 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:01 am

alfa164 wrote:
One other thing I learned about later: Braniff's most profitable route was the DFW-HNL on the 747, and its First Class cabin was almost always full even though these were expensive tickets. "Someone" got the idea of calling BN and making reservations for large groups of First Class seats - and, keep in mind, in those days you could easily call and make the reservation, and pay for it when you got to the airport - but those "someones" never showed-up for the flight. The result was Braniff being denied the opportunity to sell the most profitable seats on the entire airline, while incurring the (expensive) catering and crew costs. While it is difficult to prove who was behind it, the suspects seem obvious to me.


This reminds me quite a bit of Uber's behaviors. Booking and canceling Lyft rides and other similar things. If you can prove tortious interference like this, you can get a fair bit of damages.
 
USAirKid
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:42 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:05 am

In watching the documentary, I kept wondering why they didn't declare Chapter 11 earlier, with the intent to reduce costs and reorganize. It seems by the time you get to doing things like witholding parts of paychecks, it seems kinda clear that you just need to file Chapter 11 and get on with it. From what it seems the CEO and management team had a bit too much pride, and refused to swallow it early enough.

I'm also curious, what happened to BN's fleet of 727s? I went looking at airfleets, but they don't list BN's 727s.
 
superjeff
Posts: 1373
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:35 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Would've been a lot better for Pan Am to merge with Braniff, IMO.
conn

There actually was an attempt to merge the two (or, at least Braniff II - the Hyatt owned operation) in about 1984, but the Feds wouldn't approve it. There were some good u between the two airlines, as Ed Acker, who had been the CFO at Braniff under Harding Lawrence, ended up later on as President of PanAm. Their route networks would have been complimentary, and Braniff had a strong international network in South America and also to Europe.
 
User avatar
deltacto
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:49 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:50 am

USAirKid wrote:
In watching the documentary, I kept wondering why they didn't declare Chapter 11 earlier, with the intent to reduce costs and reorganize


In 1982 this was uncharted territory .... No major airline had ever done that .... Continental was the first to do so in 1983


USAirKid wrote:
I'm also curious, what happened to BN's fleet of 727s? I went looking at airfleets, but they don't list BN's 727s.


In 1981 BN sold 15 727-227's to American: N410BN, N412BN-N425BN

http://www.aeromoe.com/fleets/aa.html

After Braniff shut down in 1982:

20 727-227's went to PEOPLExpress: N426BN-N445BN

http://www.aeromoe.com/fleets/pex.html

30 727-227's went to Braniff 2: N406BN, N408BN, N409BN, N446BN-N472BN

http://www.aeromoe.com/fleets/bn2.html

Of Braniff's 7 newest 727-227's, 4 went to US Air and 3 went to Alaska

5 727-227's that had been built but not delivered all went to Air Florida

complete fleet list here https://rzjets.net/aircraft/?page=1&par ... frstatus=3
(this is hard to navigate because it includes all the 727-100's dating back to the mid-60's)
 
Joeblow
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:28 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:57 am

Interestingly, if you look at the credits at the end, Scott Pelley (now of 60 Minutes) is listed.

He used to work in DFW local news before he jumped to CBS.
 
User avatar
aeromoe
Posts: 1290
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:34 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:04 am

Quoting deltacto up thread a bit...BN went bankrupt in May 1982, not 1983 as asserted in the thread title. Looking forward at the time I was hoping to fly them to Basic Training in June 1982 but with the bankruptcy I ended up nonstop DEN-SAT on Continental 727-200. I came out of Basic Training and learned CO and TI were merging via the Texas Air purchase!
Since 60s: AA AC AS BA BD BF BN BR(85) BY B6 CO CZ(16) DG DL EA EI EN FI FL FT F9 HA HP ICX JI JQ J7 KE KL KS LH MC NW OC OO OZ(87) OZ(88) PA PI PN(97) PT QF QQ RM RO RV(99) RV(16) RW SK SM SQ S4 TI TS TW UA UK US UZ VS VX WA WN WS W7 XV YV YX(13) ZZ 9K
 
User avatar
jaybird
Posts: 408
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 4:23 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:21 am

I worked for a tour company in Honolulu at the time and Braniff was one of the airlines we used for flights to Hawaii. Our sales rep in Texas was married to someone in BNs marketing department - and she called around 3pm-4pm that afternoon to say Braniff was shutting down. We were able to pull all the BN files and start rebooking them to other carriers before anyone even knew about it. The last scheduled BN flight was the daily HNL-DFW that day.
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:25 am

USAirKid wrote:
In watching the documentary, I kept wondering why they didn't declare Chapter 11 earlier, with the intent to reduce costs and reorganize. It seems by the time you get to doing things like witholding parts of paychecks, it seems kinda clear that you just need to file Chapter 11 and get on with it. From what it seems the CEO and management team had a bit too much pride, and refused to swallow it early enough.

I'm also curious, what happened to BN's fleet of 727s? I went looking at airfleets, but they don't list BN's 727s.


I flew on one of them Guayaquil-Baltra (Galapagos) and back a week later in Aug/Sep of 2007. AeroGal. A nice ride--still had the leather Braniff interior. Also, as mentioned above, a group of them were sold to AA a year or so before Braniff's demise. You know tht BN was desperate for money in that they sold aircraft to their 'mortal enemy, AA.
 
User avatar
deltacto
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:49 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:45 am

aeromoe wrote:
Quoting deltacto up thread a bit...BN went bankrupt in May 1982, not 1983 as asserted in the thread title. Looking forward at the time I was hoping to fly them to Basic Training in June 1982 but with the bankruptcy I ended up nonstop DEN-SAT on Continental 727-200. I came out of Basic Training and learned CO and TI were merging via the Texas Air purchase!


your site is one of my absolute favorites .... thank you for putting all this together!
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1906
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:35 am

mga707 wrote:
USAirKid wrote:
In watching the documentary, I kept wondering why they didn't declare Chapter 11 earlier, with the intent to reduce costs and reorganize. It seems by the time you get to doing things like witholding parts of paychecks, it seems kinda clear that you just need to file Chapter 11 and get on with it. From what it seems the CEO and management team had a bit too much pride, and refused to swallow it early enough.

I'm also curious, what happened to BN's fleet of 727s? I went looking at airfleets, but they don't list BN's 727s.


I flew on one of them Guayaquil-Baltra (Galapagos) and back a week later in Aug/Sep of 2007. AeroGal. A nice ride--still had the leather Braniff interior. Also, as mentioned above, a group of them were sold to AA a year or so before Braniff's demise. You know tht BN was desperate for money in that they sold aircraft to their 'mortal enemy, AA.


This transaction was also unusual because it reduced the average age of both Braniff's and AA's fleets. Braniff sent 15 of their oldest, most maintenance intensive 727-200s to AA, and AA in turn was able to retire 15 707s that were even older than the ex-Braniff 727s.
 
Flyingsottsman
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:32 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:49 am

Wow even back then the US airline industry was very cut throat like a game of thrones, I remember being a DFW back in January 1983 and seeing all those BN aircraft parked over in the distance, ironically my Auntie and I flew around the US on AA, was my very first trip to the US.
 
User avatar
aeromoe
Posts: 1290
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:34 am

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:43 am

deltacto wrote:
aeromoe wrote:
Quoting deltacto up thread a bit...BN went bankrupt in May 1982, not 1983 as asserted in the thread title. Looking forward at the time I was hoping to fly them to Basic Training in June 1982 but with the bankruptcy I ended up nonstop DEN-SAT on Continental 727-200. I came out of Basic Training and learned CO and TI were merging via the Texas Air purchase!


your site is one of my absolute favorites .... thank you for putting all this together!


thanks! :smile: I wish I had the ambition to maintain the fleets. :(
Since 60s: AA AC AS BA BD BF BN BR(85) BY B6 CO CZ(16) DG DL EA EI EN FI FL FT F9 HA HP ICX JI JQ J7 KE KL KS LH MC NW OC OO OZ(87) OZ(88) PA PI PN(97) PT QF QQ RM RO RV(99) RV(16) RW SK SM SQ S4 TI TS TW UA UK US UZ VS VX WA WN WS W7 XV YV YX(13) ZZ 9K
 
BritishB747
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:14 pm

Re: Braniff Bankruptcy 1983

Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:02 am

An excellent documentary. I remember watching this a few years back when I was in Gibraltar. None of my UK based streaming/catch-up services worked over there so YouTube was my friend for all those months.

I really got the impression that Howard Putnam tried everything to turn Braniff around. It was gut wrenching to watch those efforts fail. A really interesting story though.
AT5 AT7 AB6 319 320 321 333 33V 343 346 AR8 733 734 736 73G 738 744 752 753 763 77E 77W 788 BET CR7 D10 D38 DHT DH4 E70 E75 E90 F70 J41 M83 S20 SF3

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos