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AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sat Jul 17, 2004 11:57 am

Can anyone recollect the American domestic airline AIA (American International Airways). As I recall, it was a mainly-leisure airline connecting the Northeast with California and Florida. Any interesting stories?? I did fly an MD-80 PHL-PBI-PHL in the early 80s, but was too inexperienced to save any related parafanalia. I recall one dark blue aircraft and one basically white one. I seem to remember some lenghty delays on that particular journey, but nothing that ever dissuaded me from loving commercial aviation...

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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sat Jul 17, 2004 12:49 pm

Yeah, saw them in FLL quite often. Also flew B727-100 and DC-9s. (-50 but may have been a -30)
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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:44 pm

While starting law school in 1983 and 1984, I still had a girlfriend back in New Jersey. I flew them several times from ORD to Atlantic City, where my girlfriend picked me up even though it was a good distance from where she lived. (EWR was more convenient.) Reason: they were flying gambling junkets to Atlantic City, and most of the plane, if not all, was sold as a gambling charter. However, they had standby seats for $75, cash on the barrel if someone didn't show. You actually stood at the gate and waited, and paid if someone didn't show. I think you had to sign a public charter contract ticket right there. I'm pretty sure that I was never rejected (i.e. there was always a vacancy). Virtually none of the passengers had ever been on a plane before, many drank heavily, and most were standing in the aisle (there was one restroom on a DC9) trying to pee as the plane approached landing. I remember some male flight attendants in blazers and slacks who looked more like bar bouncers than typical f/as. On approach, they would have to use aggressive vocal tactics and a certain amount of physical intimidation to disperse the huge line of drunks trying to pee. Most of the pax didn't understand that the plane wasn't allowed to land while they were standing in the aisle. "'Sir', SIT." "But I gotta PEE!" "SIT." It was great.

They folded after stupidly trying to expand by flying out of PHL, as I recall. USAir just crushed them to protect its fortress hub. After Eastern left, they were never going to let anyone else in. After USAir screwed them with predatory prices, I fully expected the same thing to happen to the first Midway Airlines when it stupidly did the same thing. And it did. PHL is a death trap for airlines, and I will be curious to see what happens to WN as it tries to make a go there against a much-weakened USAir.



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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:53 pm

Didnt they operate L-1011's and were also affiliated w/ the Kalitta's from the NHRA?

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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sun Jul 18, 2004 12:00 am

As to the Kalitta airline, same name, different (and later) operation. The earlier one (the one I'm talking about), was a PASSENGER operation that folded somewhere around 1985, IIRC. Kalitta's operation is freight.

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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sun Jul 18, 2004 1:17 am

Correction yes Kalitta's is mainly freight, he did dabble in the charter market for several years. It was around 1997 that the charter flights started. He bought a couple of BA's L1011's and also used a 747 that he had in passenger configuration. I worked for a tour operator that used them for there charter flights.
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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sun Jul 18, 2004 1:45 am

Actual AIA slogan.....
You're on the button with the A-Team!
What the hell does that mean!!!???

Anyway, here's a brief description of the route system.
The MD-80 had a capacity of 170, the DC-9-30 had a capacity of 120!
WOW! That's what, a 27 inch seat pitch?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Philadelphia to:
Atlantic City 2X (DC930)
Boston 4X (2-DC930 2-MD80)
O'Hare 1X (DC930)
Cleveland 2X (DC930)
Detroit 2X (MD80)
Ft Lauderdale 1X (MD80)
Orlando 1X (MD80)
Pittsburgh 4X (DC930)
Tampa 1X (DC930)
W. Palm Beach 2X (DC930)

Atlantic City to:
Boston 1X (DC930)
Detroit 1X (DC930)
Orlando 1X (DC930)
Philadelphia 2X (DC930)
Pittsburgh sasu only (DC930)

Atlantic City 1X (DC930)
Philadelphia 4X (2-DC930 2-MD80)

Philadelphia 1X (DC930)

Philadelphia 2X (DC930)

Atlantic City 1X (DC930)
Philadelphia 2X (MD80)

Ft Lauderdale
Orlando 1X (DC930)
Philadelphia 1X (MD80)

Philadelphia 1X (DC930)

Atlantic City 1X (DC930)
Ft Lauderdale 1X (DC930)
Philadelphia 1X (MD80)

Atlantic City sasu only (DC930)
Philadelphia 4X (DC930)

Philadelphia 1X (DC930)

W Palm Beach
Miami 1X (DC930)

Typical fares:

Philadelphia to Orlando $109/$119/$149
Atlantic City to Detroit $69/$89
Atlantic City to Boston $59/$79
Orlando to Ft Lauderdale $59
Pittsburgh to Philadelphia $49/$69

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RE: AIA --Anyone Remember?

Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:48 am

The schedule described must have been after they moved the operation to PHL. I think that it was originally based in ACY.

As to the idiotic button slogan, I do recall that all the f/as at one point wore gigantic round pin-on buttons (like campaign buttons, but like 3-4" in diameter). I don't remember what they said. Maybe the slogan was some kind of word play on that "button". "On the button" in general is of course a reference to on-time performance. I think. :>



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