This is awesome. Thank you for sharing. JFK-LYS, as I recall was very short lived (less than a year) and I remember an F/A friend telling my family (I was only 16 then so I don't remember all the details) saying it almost never went out full. There is a long history of US-France (non Paris) service that quickly ended. Other than NCE, the market can't seem to support anything beyond Paris, then and now. DL tried to revive JFK-LYS in the late 2000s with a 757 and it was quickly dropped. AF tried flights on A310's from Boardeaux, Strasbourg, and one other French city that I now do not recall, and they were quickly axed.
I think in 1989 AA started RDU-ORY as well. It lasted into the early 1990s and flown with the 762.
I think that Lyons could be a destination more than worth a try for United from Newark with the A321XLR. NYC-LYS had a (pre-corona) PDEW of 78 in 2019. Thats not all too bad. I mean HAM had a PDEW of 88 to NYC back in 2004 before CO started EWR-HAM and they made it work with the way more thirsty 757. Only issue could be the vicinity to Geneva.
LYS was the first transatlantic IFS (International Flagship Service) trip I worked as a new hire F/A. The highest load I ever saw on the flight was about 90 passengers total on the 762. It was an awesome trip to work, very friendly passengers, Satolas was a cute little airport, and the people in the city itself were very sweet. It had that small town feel to it. The food was incredible, naturally, and I remember one trip I flew that some senior flight attendants made reservations to go to Paul Bocuse. Those were the days! We got to know some people who worked in restaurants where we were regulars, and I remember when we told them that AA was pulling out of LYS, some of them even cried. We were crushed to be leaving, I remember my last trip in February or March of 1990.
Thats a really nice story! Have you flown to HAM as well? This flight operated in the same timeframe as well. Do you remember the loads between BRU and HAM? Do you know if AA could sell tickets between BRU and HAM?
JFK-BRU-HAM was my second International trip, I flew internationally straight out of initial training, because I speak French and Spanish. Up until 2014, we were either international or domestic, and you either had to have the linguistic skills or the seniority to fly those routes. We didn’t have Dutch speakers yet, so we staffed BRU-HAM with French and German speaking crew. Announcements were made in English, French and German, in that order.
It was a tiring trip to work, 2 legs across 6 time zones. We would land early in the morning in Brussels, and sit on the ground for a little over an hour. We had passengers onboard while cleaners came onboard and they cleaned the cabin around us and the passengers. The flight from ORD arrived a little after us, and when the cleaners were done, if any passengers on the ORD flight were continuing to HAM, they would board. Same thing with our passengers, if we had any JFK-originating passengers who were going to DUS, they would go to the ORD plane. BRU was a little “scissor hub.” We weren’t allowed to carry any local traffic on the flight.
The loads between BRU and HAM weren’t completely full, because some passengers were bound for BRU. But we still did a Champagne brunch in all cabins on the short flight, it was like an hour and 10 minutes, as I recall. By the time you got to HAM, you were exhausted. I was in HAM in the winter months, on my first trip, some senior crew took me under their wing, and we had dinner in a restaurant that I want to say was in the basement of city hall. That was the first time I ever had gluwein! Not sure if I’m spelling it correctly.
I’m glad I got to experience what flying was like in the good old days, so different from the Greyhound bus experience of today.