SpaceshipDC10
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Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:31 am


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Fourty years ago, Western Airlines finally entered the age of wide-body airliners. It was, then, the last US trunk carrier to do so (see below). Things could have been different had a man not made his point clearly understood some four years earlier. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the company came close to ordering or even ordered other wide-bodies, but in the end, just like Braniff International, Western Airlines relied exclusively on one type of wide-body aircraft.

On January 4, 1969, a Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) decision was confirmed by President Johnson. The decision was to award Western Airlines (WAL) routes between eleven Mainland cities and Hawaii. Shortly after that award, Terell C. Drinkwater (TCD), then President of WAL, placed an order for three 747s as well as five 707s and four stretched 727s. Deliveries of the 747s were to start in October 1970. Though, for two reasons, that order would not last very long. Indeed, the year 1968 had brought changes to both the financial situation and the ownership of Western. Through the introduction of five B707-347Cs on its network, the airline’s revenues greatly increased. At the same time its operating costs rose faster and its long-term debt jumped from $80 million to $184 million. On the matter of ownership, following a public offer he published in different newspapers at the beginning of December, Kirk Kerkorian became Western’s largest stock holder with 28% of the shares. A couple of weeks later, WAL received the goahead for the Hawaii routes and its president ordered a batch of new aircraft. That order became a problem for Kerkorian since the airline’s financial situation wasn’t promissing and also because besides introducing the new 707s, the airline had already commited itself for six new 727-200s and was to add to its fleet thirteen new 737s during 1969.
At the time of its public offer, Kerkorian clearly stated that he would seek representation on the Board of Directors. For his part, TCD was determined to keep him and his associates away since he considered them like corporate raiders. Kerkorian, as the largest stock holder was resolute. For that reason the Board met in San Francisco on January 27, and there it was decided to increase the number of Board’s members from fifteen to eighteen. These three new seats went to Kerkorian, his right-arm man Fred Bellinger, and William Singleton. Then, at the first eighteen members Board meeting, Benninger enquired about the reasons why Western should have the 747 in its fleet. When all the pros were enunciated, he simply said: “As long as I’m a director of this company, I’ll vote against the 747.” And so was cancelled the order for twelve new aircraft, including the three 747s, that Drinkwater had placed a few weeks earlier.

Some two and a half years later, on September 29, 1971, American Airlines ordered four more DC-10-10s. These four trijets were in fact intended for Western Airlines. At the time, the two airlines were expecting a CAB decision regarding their proposed merger. One of the key arguments in favor of the merger was the Los Angeles-based carrier inability to finance any wide-body aircraft. Fortunatly, a clause allowed WAL to have such aircraft for its Hawaii services since as part of the agreement with American, the latter exercised options on its DC-10 order while Western agreed to assume the contract if the merger fell through and to reimburse American for its $24 million down payment on the four aircraft. That order was also the first to stipulate a 30,000-pound increase in MTOW (for a DC-10-10), to 440,000 pounds. The augmentation allowed an optional 32,700-pound auxiliary tank below the center section to be activated, giving the aicraft ample reserves for the Minneapolis-to-Honolulu route.

This is how Western Airlines took delivery of its very first DC-10 SPACESHIP on April 19, 1973 . Two more followed in June and a fourth in July. But just one month before receiving the first aircraft, the company ordered two more for delivery in 1974 and 1975, to be followed by a seventh in 1976. In January 1977, the carrier’s Board came very close to ordering several Airbus A300s, but instead it choose to order two more wide-body trijets and to take another two on option to be delivered in 1978 and 1979 respectively. WAL received its last two brand new DC-10s in 1980, a couple of months after placing an order for six B767 and six options. The twinjet order was later cancelled.

In all, Western received thirteen trijets from McDonnell Douglas. Of those, nine remained in service until the merger with Delta Air Lines in 1987, two (904 & 905) were sold to a leasing company and went on to fly for half a dozen operators, one (901) was sold to American, and finally, one (903) was lost in a landing accident at Mexico City in 1979.

In its issue dated 16 February 1980, Flight International published a short note about an option agreement that was signed by Western with Pan Am which covered the lease of three DC-10-30s owned by National Airlines before the merger. Plans were to use them on the MSP-London route. For whatever reason these plans never materialized. However, Western must have been very eager to enter the trans-Atlantic market since it launched in October 1980 a new direct service operated with its DC-10-10s between HNL and LGW with an intermediate stop at ANC. (A UK TV ad for the service) Though the route was terminated a year later.

International Lease Finance Corp. annouced in March 1981 that it had bought a former Air New Zealand DC-10-30 which in turn would be leased for a period of three-and-a-half years to Western Airlines. With this new aircraft, WAL opened another new trans-Atlantic route when it began linking DEN with LGW in April. That service only lasted until the end of the year and the airline cited low fares and high operating costs as the reasons for the abandonment. The aircraft was then used on the carrier’s network until it became part of a joint service with Air Pacific linking LAX with NAN via HNL. For that matter, the aircraft was painted in full Air Pacific livery with small Western Airlines stickers next to doors 2L and 2R and from what I understand, the joint service was operated by Western between California and Hawaii and by FJ between the Pacific Islands, and lasted until December 1984 when the aircraft was returned to its lessor.

Today, three former Western DC-10s (904, 905 & 906) are still active with FedEx as MD-10-10(F)s N559FE, N560FE and N357FE respectively.

WESTERN AIRLINES DC-10 FLEET

DC-10-10

N901WA '901' 46908/95 19 APR 73 – 07 APR 85 Sold to American (N166AA).

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Photo © Fenrich Family


N902WA '902' 46928/104 12 JUN 73 – 30 MAR 87

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


N903WA '903' 46929/107 21 JUN 73 – 31 OCT 79 Destroyed in a landing accident at MEX.

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Photo © M.Oertle


N904WA '904' 46930/112 20 JUL 73 – 31 MAY 81 Sold to International Air Leases

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Photo © Ellis M. Chernoff


N905WA '905' 46938/153 14 MAY 74 – 30 JUN 81 Sold to International Air Leases

N906WA '906' 46939/203 03 JUN 75 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Ellis M. Chernoff


N907WA '907' 46946/222 22 JUN 76 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Sunbird Photos by Don Boyd
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Photo © Sunbird Photos by Don Boyd


N908WA '908' 46977/251 13 MAR 78 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


N909WA '909' 46983/252 18 MAY 78 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Darrel W. Duarte
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


N912WA '910' 46645/283 19 JUL 79 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


N913WA '911' 46646/285 28 JUL 79 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Robert Pittuck


N914WA '912' 47832/318 12 MAY 80 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


N915WA '913' 47833/322 05 JUN 80 – 31 MAR 87

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Photo © Ellis M. Chernoff

DC-10-30

N821L '950' 47848/136 14 APR 81 – 27 DEC 84 „The Londoner“

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Photo © Paul Robinson
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.

First wide-body aircraft deliveries to US trunk carriers

1969-12-19 Pan American B747-121 N733PA

1969-12-31 Trans World Airlines B747-131 N93102

1970-04-30 Northwest Orient Airlines B747-151 N601US

1970-05-18 Continental Airlines B747-124 N26861

1970-06-18 American Airlines B747-123 N9661

1970-09-08 National Airlines B747-135 N77772

1970-09-26 Delta Air Lines B747-132 N9896

1970-11-26 Eastern Air Lines B747-121 N735PA – leased from Pan Am

1971-01-05 Braniff International B747-127 N601BN

1971-07-29 American Airlines DC-10-10 N103AA

1971-07-29 United Air Lines DC-10-10 N1802U

1971-11-01 National Airlines DC-10-10 N60NA

1972-04-14 Continental Air Lines DC-10-10 N68041

1972-05-09 Trans World Airlines L-1011-1 N31001

1972-07-11 Eastern Air Lines L-1011-1 N304EA

1972-10-10 Delta Air Lines DC-10-10 N601DA

1972-11-10 Northwest Orient Airlines DC-10-40 N143US

1973-04-19 Western Air Lines DC-10-10 N901WA

1973-10-03 Delta Air Lines L-1011-1 N701DA



Sources:

The Only Way to Fly, by Robert J. Serling
McDonnell Douglas DC-10, by Terry Waddington
Delta – an airline and its aircraft, by R.E.G. Davies
Airliners.net (photos)
Airlinerlist.com
Flightglobal.com (archives)
 
sunking737
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:36 am

Ships 907WA, 908WA, 912WA, and 915WA all went on to fly with Sun Country. Strange thing is my Dad worked for WAL in LAX MX until 1979, and I worked for SY. I flew on these planes as a kid and catered them when they were at SY.

Thanks for the story, brings back many memories.
"Don't believe it unless its parked on the ramp, or printed in the schedule...SUBJECT TO CHANGE"

I'm a SUNDUCK......Worked for RC & SY @ MSP
 
brilondon
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:14 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Thread starter):
1972-10-10 Delta Air Lines DC-10-10 N601DA

Why did DL not acquire more of the DC-10 and end up with the L1011?
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:56 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 2):
Why did DL not acquire more of the DC-10 and end up with the L1011?

At the end of the '60s, when the time came to choose between the two types of trijets, Delta, a long time and faithfull Douglas customer surprised many by ordering the L-1011. Because of the problems with RB.211 due to Rolls-Royce financial difficulties, DL decided to order five DC-10-10s in 1971. They were sold to UA before delivery and leased between 1972-1975. Clearly, the DC-10 was a stop gap before the TriStar arrived.
 
DesertAir
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:35 pm

I flew on a Western DC-10 from LAX to MEX in the mid 1980s. What a great experience. I was disappointed when my return trip was on a 727.
 
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SFOA380
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:45 pm

I fondly remember flying the DC-10 Spaceship many time from SFO-HNL as a kid. Western introduced me to Salisbury Steak, the "half-way game" and the rolling punch volcano. I think I looked more forward to the flight than the vacation itself!
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:01 pm

In May of 1973 when I was 9 years old my dad made a family surprise trip to Disneyland and San Francisco, all in Western Airlines we flew in then then spanking new Dc10, the flight carried around 100 pax, so my brother (10 years old) and I ran around like crazy and remember perfectly asking for and ORANGE seat !!!, mid-flight the captain walked on the cabin greeting passengers (those were the days!), and giving kids like my brother and I red plastic pins with wings as captains !!! I still have Mine somewhere and my brother Too!!! I guess the Dc 10 had less than 10 flight on it since I remember it smelled plastic and the restrooms were spotless, I often wondered if that flight was the first revenue service for that aircraft...???

Anyways I still remember how big it was and it permanently made me an airliner freak, as a boy in school I used to draw airplanes a lot and tons of them had the big red W on its side....

Thanks for the memories.

P.D. weirdly enough my favorite trijet is the Tristar !!!

TRB
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:56 pm

Quoting SFOA380 (Reply 5):
the "half-way game" and the rolling punch volcano

Which means what?   Explain - sure sounds interesting!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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SFOA380
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:24 pm

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 7):
Which means what? Explain - sure sounds interesting!

About an hour before the plane landed, the flight attendants would roll around this ultra-cheesy plastic volcano and serve the passengers punch out of it. It was complete with dry ice, floating orchids, etc. Like stated above by TheRedBaron-- those were the days!!!
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:43 pm

Quoting SFOA380 (Reply 8):
About an hour before the plane landed, the flight attendants would roll around this ultra-cheesy plastic volcano and serve the passengers punch out of it. It was complete with dry ice, floating orchids, etc. Like stated above by TheRedBaron-- those were the days!!!

Hahaha - interesting! ... and the "half-way game" ?  
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
eastern747
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:59 pm

I knew a F/A who was on that MEX flight. He was working F/C I believe and was asked by another flight F/A to change jumpseats so she could talk with another F/A. He changed seats and he lived. She did not. (( The crash was caused because the front end crew landed on a closed runway under construction, and hit the construction equipment......
 
aa2mm
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:28 pm

I was hired by WA as a res agent in 1982. I was getting on the good ole tail end of airlines' employees stanby privileges.
I used to fly our company jet ( DC-10 ) on the 8/9AM flight to HNL...rushed to the bathroom to change out from our non-rev suits, put them in locker at the airport and took the van to Waikiki. Spent the day at the beach and rushed back to the airport for the 6PM flight to LA.
2 FC meals and 2 movies.
With low senority, IIRCC, the pass cost $7 one way.
My most memorable experience on the DC-10 was, a FA I ran into a lot at the airport, took me down to the galley downstairs to show me where the carts were. Huge working space...with deep metal counter top where the carts were forming a circle at the front of the plane.
Those were the good ole days for non-revs. No frequent flyers upgrades. FC was paid FC.
As a B class airline comparing to AA, UA, PA and TW, our meal services were not as elaborate. But, on the 727s, we still tossed the salad from the cart, and bring out a whole cake/tart from the cart also.
A typical menu West coast to HNL : ( from memory now )
Stuff avocado with shrimps and thousand island salad dressing.
Warm bread.
Chateaubriand, baked in individual size.
I can't remember now what the dessert course was.
I did remember ordering a cake for a friend/paid pax birthday. And the FAs brought it out and served it to the people around her.
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:45 pm

In those days we dressed up to fly, no slackers, no t shirts etc... Incredible experiences for a kid, nowadays kids could fly to the moon and they would be fixed to their iPads ....

TRB
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:05 pm

Wow, just learned a lot about my latest Aeroclassics die-cast 1:400 model. :+) Thank you for posting this essay!

13 planes is a lot for a small trunk carrier. Where all else did Western fly them? I didn't know WA as big enough at MSP to use DC-10's to anywhere from there. Did most of them wind up at the SLC hub later?

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
 
Viscount724
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:11 pm

Quoting SFOA380 (Reply 8):
uoting ClassicLover (Reply 7):
Which means what? Explain - sure sounds interesting!

About an hour before the plane landed, the flight attendants would roll around this ultra-cheesy plastic volcano and serve the passengers punch out of it. It was complete with dry ice, floating orchids, etc. Like stated above by TheRedBaron-- those were the days!!!

Western ad from 1985.

 
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Tomassjc
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:29 pm

When I was at Mexicana we leased N907WA for a few years between it's time at DL and SunCountry. It had a different configuration than the MX birds, which were 3-4-2 across. It gave us seating headaches with it's 2-5-2 seating when there was an aircraft swap. And the flight attendants often overlooked the person in the middle seat in the row of 5 during service, as they weren't sure which flight attendant from which aisle was supposed to serve that person! We lovingly referred to ship 907 as "The Wally Bird".

Tomas SJC
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
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n901wa
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:54 pm

N907WA. The Last DC-10 that Delta flew out of HNL. This is the picture of the last time the wheels Hawaii, in Delta paint.
N907WA
 
avion660
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:12 pm

Thanks also from me for bringing back the memories.

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 13):
13 planes is a lot for a small trunk carrier. Where all else did Western fly them?

As a kid I loved seeing those things sailing over the green Kent fields on their way to touching down at LGW: the white and red colour scheme clearly made a deep impression since it was over 30 years ago!
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:00 pm

Quoting sunking737 (Reply 1):
Ships 907WA, 908WA, 912WA, and 915WA all went on to fly with Sun Country.

You missed one. 909 was also used by Sun Country under Swedish registration.

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 13):
Wow, just learned a lot about my latest Aeroclassics die-cast 1:400 model. :+) Thank you for posting this essay!

Thanks, and you are welcome. The date was a perfect fit, and also when I discovered how Western happen to enter the wide-body era, I felt it could be interesting to share and remember how things were back then.
 
ridgid727
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:48 am

Quoting n901wa (Reply 16):
N907WA. The Last DC-10 that Delta flew out of HNL. This is the picture of the last time the wheels Hawaii, in Delta paint.

thanks for sharing. In the background I can see a Mid Pacific Ys111
 
707lvr
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:02 am

Western had those brown flight crew uniforms, so-so food, goofy but simple cartoon television ads but was generally just a really nice and reliable airline. I do miss it.
 
milesrich
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:32 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 2):
Why did DL not acquire more of the DC-10 and end up with the L1011?
Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Thread starter):
First wide-body aircraft deliveries to US trunk carriers

Delta originally ordered the L-1011, not the DC-10; however, in 1971, Rolls Royce entered bankruptcy, and this not only delayed L-1011 deliveries by over a year, it also put Lockheed is serious financial trouble. Unlike with military contracts, Lockheed could not follow their more or less standard operating procedure, and go to their customers, and say, "we underestimated our costs, and we have to raise the price." Instead, Lockheed was able to get Congress to appropriate $250 Million to save the company. This was a loan and was paid back, but without it, Lockheed may also have gone down the tubes. Delta believed, for competitive reasons, that they needed wide body lift, so they ordered five DC-10's, which were then sold to United just prior to delivery, and leased back for a two year period, until the TriStars were delivered in sufficient numbers. The reg #'s, N601-05DA became N1833-37U. The problem Lockheed had is that their airplane was not designed to accommodate GE or P&W engines, without a major redesign. Had they been able to swap engines relatively easily, they probably would have avoided the problem, and may have sold a lot more airframes, but the dependency on Rolls, which caused late deliveries, along with the lack of a full size version with true international range, led to the low sales numbers. Only Delta re-ordered the airplanes, or bought them used in any substantial numbers, and operated them longer than any other carrier. The TriStar and its losses led Lockheed to leave the commercial airplane business, as airline executives are not a susceptible to bribery or the gifts of lobbyists, as foreign governments and US Congress members are. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917751,00.html



1969-12-19 Pan American B747-121 N733PA

1969-12-31 Trans World Airlines B747-131 N93102

1970-04-30 Northwest Orient Airlines B747-151 N601US

1970-05-18 Continental Airlines B747-124 N26861

1970-06-18 American Airlines B747-123 N9661

1970-09-08 National Airlines B747-135 N77772

1970-09-26 Delta Air Lines B747-132 N9896

1970-11-26 Eastern Air Lines B747-121 N735PA – leased from Pan Am

1971-01-05 Braniff International B747-127 N601BN

1971-07-29 American Airlines DC-10-10 N103AA

1971-07-29 United Air Lines DC-10-10 N1802U

You left out the United's first 747-122 delivery, N4703U, delivered 1970-06-30.
 
SpaceshipDC10
Topic Author
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:49 pm

Quoting milesrich (Reply 21):
You left out the United's first 747-122 delivery, N4703U, delivered 1970-06-30.

You are right. I had it on my list but skipped the line.   
 
laca773
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:55 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Thread starter):

Fourty years ago, Western Airlines finally entered the age of wide-body airliners. It was, then, the last US trunk carrier to do so (see below). Things could have been different had a man not made his point clearly understood some four years earlier. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the company came close to ordering or even ordered other wide-bodies, but in the end, just like Braniff International, Western Airlines relied exclusively on one type of wide-body aircraft
Quoting AA2MM (Reply 11):
I was hired by WA as a res agent in 1982. I was getting on the good ole tail end of airlines' employees stanby privileges.
I used to fly our company jet ( DC-10 ) on the 8/9AM flight to HNL...rushed to the bathroom to change out from our non-rev suits, put them in locker at the airport and took the van to Waikiki. Spent the day at the beach and rushed back to the airport for the 6PM flight to LA.
2 FC meals and 2 movies.
With low senority, IIRCC, the pass cost $7 one way.
My most memorable experience on the DC-10 was, a FA I ran into a lot at the airport, took me down to the galley downstairs
Quoting Tomassjc (Reply 15):
When I was at Mexicana we leased N907WA for a few years between it's time at DL and SunCountry. It had a different configuration than the MX birds, which were 3-4-2 across. It gave us seating headaches with it's 2-5-2 seating when there was an aircraft swap. And the flight attendants often overlooked the person in the middle seat in the row of 5 during service, as they weren't sure which flight attendant from which aisle was supposed to serve that person! We lovingly referred to ship 907 as "The Wally Bird".

Tomas SJC

Thankl you for posting the great WA DC10 History. It's been great to read. I enjoy threads such as this one.
Saludos
LACA773
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:22 pm

Quoting laca773 (Reply 23):
Thankl you for posting the great WA DC10 History. It's been great to read. I enjoy threads such as this one.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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N62NA
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:24 pm

Quoting TheRedBaron (Reply 6):
I still remember how big it was

My first widebody flight was as a 12 year old on National Airlines from MIA to EWR. Good old National Airlines flight #8. And yes, the sheer spaciousness of the DC-10 (compared to the 727-200 we flew down on) made a huge impression on me too.
 
dc1030cf
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:38 pm

Thank you SpaceshipDC10 for such a great post. As a youngster from Southern California, I've always love the DC-10 (you can tell from my user ID) my friends and I would always drove to World Way West, West Imperial Blvd and the corner of Century Blvd / Sepulveda Blvd just to look at planes of Continental, Tigers and Western. This post really brings back many good old memories. BTW, anybody remember the special "Fly any two round trips and buy a round trip ticket to Hawaii for $99" ? Western Airlines, the ooooooooooooonly way to fly  
 
TheCheese
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RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:20 am

Quoting SFOA380 (Reply 5):
the "half-way game"

I remember this from flying Western ANC-SEA and back a lot when I was a kid.

At the beginning of the flight (before take-off or during the climb) the cabin crew would hand out forms to fill out and take a nominal amount of cash (I think it was $10 or $20) per participating passenger. Passengers would guess the hour and minute when the plane would arrive at the half-way point in their flight (determined by the flight engineer, as I remember) with whomever guessed closest getting the pooled cash, which could run to several hundred dollars.

I remember my dad (who flew ANC-SEA several times a year) winning the Half-Way Game several times.

I also recall my dad telling me (and this might be 100% baloney knowing him) that Western would give the flight crew a $1000 bonus if they set a record time between cities. This was told to me on the occasion of us having near-record tailwinds once again ANC-SEA and making the trip in not much more than 2 hours flight time.

To wrangle this post back on topic, I also remember flying the Spaceships quite a bit from other places on the West Coast (like SFO and LAX) back to ANC.

Also, the London service was heavily marketed to Alaska, though I can't imagine that would've produced enough traffic to matter, really.
 
tommytoyz
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:08 am

RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:22 am

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 10):
I knew a F/A who was on that MEX flight. He was working F/C I believe and was asked by another flight F/A to change jumpseats so she could talk with another F/A. He changed seats and he lived. She did not. (( The crash was caused because the front end crew landed on a closed runway under construction, and hit the construction equipment......

I know exactly who you are talking about. If you see him, tell him I am still waiting for him to return the keys to my Chevette....
 
F9Animal
Posts: 4282
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:13 am

RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:22 am

That was a great story SpaceshipDC10! Very interesting read, and very good memories of Western!
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
greggariouspdx
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:22 am

RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:23 am

I had the great pleasure of flying on "The Londoner," which was WA's short-lived HNL-ANC-LGW, on a DC-10. Having a direct flight from the UK to Hawaii via Anchorage sounded like a good idea, but high fuel prices and low demand killed the route pretty fast. I was living in Juneau, Ak at the time and while I'm not sure how I scored an upgrade, I managed to sit in F from ANC-LGW. The seats were big but nothing special, but I remember the service being excellent. I also remember less than 50 people on the entire plane, despite some heavily discounted fares from Alaska. I was thrilled when WA came to Juneau (though with a 727-200 - would love to see a DC-10 trying to land at JNU) as their service was superior to AS at that time. I also remember the Station Manager at JNU being a really nice guy.
 
bohica
Posts: 2421
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:21 pm

RE: Western Airlines DC-10s

Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:50 am

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Thread starter):

Thank you for the EXCELLENT post about the Western Airlines DC-10. It brings back lots of good memories.  

Both my parents worked for WA and when I was a child, they took me to the Hangar at SFO to see the plane just after delivery. We got to explore the entire plane, including the downstairs galley. I was also fortunate enough to be on the Inaugural flight of the WA DC-10 MSP-LAX in First Class. There was a very festive atmosphere on that flight.




Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 13):
13 planes is a lot for a small trunk carrier. Where all else did Western fly them? I didn't know WA as big enough at MSP to use DC-10's to anywhere from there.

WA flew the DC-10's to/from (in no particular order) Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, LAX, SFO, SEA, SAN, MSP, DEN, SLC, MIA, FLL, NAS, LAS, LGW, DFW. I might have missed some. WA also flew the DC-10 to IAH in an interchange deal with CO.

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 13):
Did most of them wind up at the SLC hub later?

No. While some DC-10 flights went to SLC, the majority of DC-10 flights went out of the LAX hub. SLC was mostly 727's and 737's. Looking at departedflights.com, the only cities the DC-10 flew out of SLC to just before the DL merger was SEA, SAN, and DFW. SLC had seen DC-10 service to SFO, LAX, and MSP at one time.


I miss WA and I miss the DC-10.

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