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Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:23 am
by Zortan
I was reading through the thread about Malaysia's previous routes to YVR, MEX, EZE, etc., and that got me thinking - what are the craziest routes you've heard of from each airline. I heard something mentioned once about Iraqi Airways in GIG and other stuff like that, but I'm curious to hear more. Also - what is the craziest airline in terms of routes you've heard of, and what were those crazy routes?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:37 am
by rajincajun01
*Looks up new, but discontinued, Frontier routes from the past few years*

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:43 am
by MalevTU134
How do you define crazy? In the 1990s a route from Lappeenranta to Frankfurt -Hahn would have been considered crazy.

But in the vein of the other thread:

RG (Varig) flew GIG-GRU-JNB-BKK-HKG.
RO flew OTP-SXF-LUX-LIS-CMN
LZ (Balkan) flew SOF-CAI-NBO-HRE (not positive on those intermediate stops)

Some flights I have taken myself: SVO-LCA-SID-GRU-GIG (was scheduled with a stop in SSA as well, bit we just flew past it).
SVO-LCA-ADE-TNR.

SU flew some flights monthly, especially to Africa. And with "weird" stops.

A lot of the airlines from the then Socialist Bloc flew to weird destinations in "friendly" countries, such as Cuba, Vietnam etc. No commercial justification, of course.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:45 am
by Zortan
Cool! By crazy I mean something that doesn't really make much financial sense / weird routings, etc.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:47 am
by PB26
GIG-LIS-AMM-SDA by Iraq Airways.
GIG-GRU-JNB-BKK-HKG by Varig.
CCS-(MAD)-DAM-THR by Conviasa.
EZE-CPT-JNB-KUL by Malaysia.
The Fiesta Route by Qantas.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:49 am
by WWads
DAY-CVG on DL was a bit ridiculous.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:52 am
by Pellegrine
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the UA around the world flight:
JFK-LHR-DEL-HKG-NRT-SFO-JFK ???

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:57 am
by MalevTU134
Also, airlines like ME, JU, AZ, KL, OA, MS, AF, UT, LH, SU, VS all flew to Australia.

Oh, and not that long ago, UU (Air Austral of La Réunion) flew RUN-SYD-NOU. I call that crazy.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:59 am
by hoons90
WWads wrote:
DAY-CVG on DL was a bit ridiculous.


There was also SFO-OAK, LAX-SNA/ONT, IAH-EFD. Mostly for connections, I guess.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:01 am
by Spiderguy252
How about that Iran Air flight from Tehran to Caracas via Damascus on a 747SP?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:05 am
by Antarius
Zortan wrote:
Cool! By crazy I mean something that doesn't really make much financial sense / weird routings, etc.


The one that got SMI/J fired from UA.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:08 am
by kelval
UU (Air Austral) dreamed of turning RUN in a Indian Ocean hub and had a RUN-SYD-NOU at the beginning of the decade, using a 777-200LR that was mostly empty.

I remember them marketing the alternate route to Nouméa "down under" back in the days (CDG-RUN-SYD-NOU). As a aviation enthusiast, I would gladly have tried, but obviously, the route didn't make much financial sense.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:17 am
by leftcoast8
Sea-Tac used to get quite a bit of service from Aeroflot. Besides SVO on the Il-96, there were flights to the Okhotsk coast (Vladivostok, Magadan, Petropavlovsk and Khabarovsk) using the Il-62 and Tu-204. I always thought that was weird.

Northwest proposed a SEA-KIX-KUL-CGK route using the DC-10 back in 1996, but for some reason it fell through. I can't imagine there's much demand (VFR or business) between the PNW and the Malay Peninsula. Portland of all places had direct flights to Bangkok (DL L-1011) and Singapore (NW A330).

Long ago, CP Air's Vancouver-Australia route was YVR-HNL-NAN-SYD, and there was also a YVR-HNL-NAN-AKL. Both used the DC-10. Qantas flew Cairns-Brisbane-Honolulu-Vancouver twice weekly, and before that SYD-HNL-SFO-YVR. In the mid-80s, BA flew LHR-SFO-YVR on Tue/Sat, and LHR-SFO-SEA on Mon/Thu (the other three days were LHR-SFO terminators) using the 747-100/-200. This changed to a daily 763 to SEA (BA82/83) and daily 747 Classic to YVR (BA84/85) sometime in the 90s, but I can't pin down the exact date.

Northwest/Delta's longest A330-200 route was/is DTW-NGO (plus a tag-on to MNL), followed by DL's short-lived SEA-HKG (2014-2018). Toyota has R&D plants in SE Michigan, and the region is also home to a large Filipino diaspora. On top of this, both the Big 3 automakers and Toyota have die-cast/injection mold factories in the Philippines.

There's also Air Canada's various tries at getting a route to India going:

YYZ-LHR-BOM-SIN ("Singapore '85" L-1011 service, started 4/15/1985 and ended 1/1991)
YYZ-FRA-DEL, later YYZ-ZRH-DEL
YVR-LHR-DEL (started in 1996. Tu/Th/Sa departures were LHR terminators using the 767-200. Mo/We/Fr/Su had a tag-on to Delhi and used the 747-400 Combi. Cancelled in 1998 after Air Canada/United signed the ATI JV with Lufthansa)

I don't know when the technical stop was changed from FRA to ZRH, nor when it was replaced with nonstop YYZ-DEL. Did AC ever serve Mumbai between 1991-2017?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:26 am
by qf744fan
I'm sure I remember reading about a regular 747 flight between Hong Kong and Macau prior to the fast ferries.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:27 am
by N292UX
TOL-DTW was pretty wild. Driving from TOL to DTW can take under an hour. Flight times were insanely short.

Plus, there's 10+ Frontier routes that can make one raise eyebrows.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:29 am
by AlexBrewster03
What were some of the craziest Frontier routes?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:42 am
by trent768
Some route from Indonesia that I remember reading from some old aviation magazine:
- ORY-XXX-SIN-CGK/DPS-SYD-NOU by UTA
- PRG-DEL/BOM-SIN-CGK by OK
- DPS/CGK-SIN/BKK-AUH-MAD/VIE/MXP/BRU/FCO/ZRH/ATH by GA.
- CGK-DPS-BIK-HNL-LAX by GA.

I think at some point GA and KL flew from AMS to MES/SUB. As for today, I think the most absurd route in Indonesia is the weekly TAS-KUL-CGK by HY. No idea who their target market is though...

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:49 am
by BNORD1
flew, many times, IND-DAY on US, or ORD-SBN-FWA on UA, or DAL-FTW-AUS-Sat on BN

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:50 am
by F9Animal
I always found the Alaska milk run to be a crazy route. I am pretty sure they still do it?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:51 am
by BNORD1
or another one ORD-MBS-FNT-DET on UA (loved the DC-6's and CVR's)

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:55 am
by Gemuser
Possiably the craziest of them all was the QF's Fiesta Route mentioned in reply 5 without details.
The route was SYD-NAN-PPT-ACA-MEX-NAS-BDA-LHR flown once or twice a week with B707 aircraft. It started in the 1960s and finished in the 1970s Really, really crazy but very interesting!

Gemuser

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:55 am
by RWA380
hoons90 wrote:
WWads wrote:
DAY-CVG on DL was a bit ridiculous.


There was also SFO-OAK, LAX-SNA/ONT, IAH-EFD. Mostly for connections, I guess.


Flew ONT-BUR on an AS 727 continuing onto Portland, same trip flew CO 72S SAN-ONT & have flown HA MKK-LNY on the D95 all of 8 minutes wheels up to wheels down.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:57 am
by adambrau
I think it was Pan Am 90/91 that went JFK-ZRH (747) - GVA - IST (727) and vice versa.

PA had many strange routings - like HKG-DPS-SYD that didn't even touch US soil.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:02 am
by MD80Ttail
How about AS flying MD80s to Russia back in I believe the late 80s or early 90s??? Help me w those dates please......but the flight was real. Real strange.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:03 am
by MD80Ttail
I think AS even flew flights to Siberia in 1970s........on 707s

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:11 am
by YYZLGA
Gemuser wrote:
Possiably the craziest of them all was the QF's Fiesta Route mentioned in reply 5 without details.
The route was SYD-NAN-PPT-ACA-MEX-NAS-BDA-LHR flown once or twice a week with B707 aircraft. It started in the 1960s and finished in the 1970s Really, really crazy but very interesting!


Wow that's wild. Was the purpose of the route to serve people travelling between London and Australia who wanted a vacation stopover and weren't interested in BKK?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:22 am
by blandy62
BOM-DEL-BKK-HKG-KIX/ICN on AI towards the end was on A310 but might have been operated on those other aircraft type too

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:24 am
by usflyer msp
MalevTU134 wrote:
How do you define crazy? In the 1990s a route from Lappeenranta to Frankfurt -Hahn would have been considered crazy.

But in the vein of the other thread:

RG (Varig) flew GIG-GRU-JNB-BKK-HKG.
RO flew OTP-SXF-LUX-LIS-CMN
LZ (Balkan) flew SOF-CAI-NBO-HRE (not positive on those intermediate stops)

Some flights I have taken myself: SVO-LCA-SID-GRU-GIG (was scheduled with a stop in SSA as well, bit we just flew past it).
SVO-LCA-ADE-TNR.

SU flew some flights monthly, especially to Africa. And with "weird" stops.

A lot of the airlines from the then Socialist Bloc flew to weird destinations in "friendly" countries, such as Cuba, Vietnam etc. No commercial justification, of course.


TAAG still flies between Luanda and Havana fortnightly...

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:34 am
by SCFlyer
AN's SYD-MEL-CGK-KUL & v.v in the late 90s. Also related, AN briefly had a twice weekly SYD-AKL flight in conjunction with AR (with AR buying a large block of the seats as part of the codeshare).
Edit: AN quietly axed AKL when AR decided to return to SYD with their own aircraft.

QF briefly had BNE-CNS-HNL-LAX in the early 90s with a 742 and/or a 74L? (no cabotage rights on HNL-LAX). That was gone by the mid 90s, it was pretty much the low yielding "BackPackers" express.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:35 am
by jbwhite99
hoons90 wrote:
WWads wrote:
DAY-CVG on DL was a bit ridiculous.


There was also SFO-OAK, LAX-SNA/ONT, IAH-EFD. Mostly for connections, I guess.


A friend said that Piedmont flew from Greensboro, NC to Winston Salem, NC.

But I've taken 2 crazy ones in my day: JFK-SWF - 11 minutes in the air on a propellor airplane, 44 air miles. But I had a weirder one: floew HKG to BKK on Thai Air, then switch to SAS and flew BKK to Karachi to Baghdad to Athens.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:41 am
by FlyingElvii
The CO/AirMike Island Hopper route. Was previously flown by PanAm. I am not sure if UA still flies it? Honolulu (HNL) to Majuro (MAJ) to Kwajalein (KWA) to Kosrae (KSA) to Pohnpei (PNI) to Chuuk (TKK) to Guam (GUM).Used to include Johnston Island before the base closed. I’m not sure, but didn’t Hawaiian operate this for a while as well? Or was that just the Johnston Island leg?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:42 am
by hoons90
blandy62 wrote:
BOM-DEL-BKK-HKG-KIX/ICN on AI towards the end was on A310 but might have been operated on those other aircraft type too


AI still flies these routes, minus the BKK stop. Current equipment is the 788, but in the past the 310, 319, 77L and 77W have been used.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:44 am
by southwest1675
HSV-LAX in the late 60s/70s

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:47 am
by BoeingGuy
hoons90 wrote:
WWads wrote:
DAY-CVG on DL was a bit ridiculous.


There was also SFO-OAK, LAX-SNA/ONT, IAH-EFD. Mostly for connections, I guess.


Don’t forget SFO-SJC and OAK-SJC. They were tag-ons in a lot of cases.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:04 am
by FlyingElvii
SCFlyer wrote:
AN's SYD-MEL-CGK-KUL & v.v in the late 90s. Also related, AN briefly had a twice weekly SYD-AKL flight in conjunction with AR (with AR buying a large block of the seats as part of the codeshare).
Edit: AN quietly axed AKL when AR decided to return to SYD with their own aircraft.

QF briefly had BNE-CNS-HNL-LAX in the early 90s with a 742 and/or a 74L? (no cabotage rights on HNL-LAX). That was gone by the mid 90s, it was pretty much the low yielding "BackPackers" express.

Lots of “empty Segments” around in the 80’s and 90’s, even into the 2000’s. I flew several, just to say I had done so. Some others I worked at either end, covering Vacay or calloffs. Work the flight in from Chicago, ride to the next stop, help with the turn, and ride it back, helping to turn it there. Fun days....

I did LAF-BMG, LAF-HUF numerous times on the 1900, SWM, F27, and even the BAC. LAF-MIE, LAF- BEH on Mesaba, both SWM and SF3, HUF-OWB, LAF-DAY, SBN-DAY was a PI 727 for a while, SBN-FWA on the UA 727 and the AirWisc 146, HUF-SPI, MCO-TPA on Florida Express, Monterey-SBA, and a bunch of others. IND-EVV-PAH-MEM was a twice daily Britt run on the SWM. (US ran IND-EVV 4 times daily for several years, with everything from the BAC to 727’s). OKK-AID-DTW on Skyway was one I wanted to log, but never got the chance to. There were lots of these in around the Midwest. Britt, Air Illinois, Great Lakes, Air Wisc, Miss Valley, and others ran many of them. There is a PAH-CGI on a Skywest CRJ right now that looks interesting, if I can ever find the time.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:06 am
by LH658
IAH to TPE via ANC or SEA, I forgot, but was on a A343. Wasn't crazy, though it was interesting.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:10 am
by speedbird52
Pellegrine wrote:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the UA around the world flight:
JFK-LHR-DEL-HKG-NRT-SFO-JFK ???

To be honest every single one of those legs seems to have the potential for profit. It doesn't seem like great aircraft utilization though but what do I know...

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:11 am
by TheFlyingDisk
FlyingElvii wrote:
The CO/AirMike Island Hopper route. Was previously flown by PanAm. I am not sure if UA still flies it? Honolulu (HNL) to Majuro (MAJ) to Kwajalein (KWA) to Kosrae (KSA) to Pohnpei (PNI) to Chuuk (TKK) to Guam (GUM).Used to include Johnston Island before the base closed. I’m not sure, but didn’t Hawaiian operate this for a while as well? Or was that just the Johnston Island leg?


Looks like it's still in operation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1cON15Av1M

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:12 am
by FlyingElvii

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:12 am
by speedbird52
BA84 to Vancouver originally stopped in Seattle, but with a twist: Two days of the week it would be LHR-SEA, and then YVR, and the other days of the week it was LHR-YVR-SEA. I find it insane that for a short period of time it was possible to fly from Seattle to Vancouver in a 747. I doubt it had carriage rights.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:16 am
by TWA772LR
It was rumored that NW was looking at DTW-BGW shortly after the fall of Saddam. Obviously it didn't happen but still a weird one.

If you dont know anything about the oil industry, SVG-IAH was a weird one too, as well as SAs JNB-IAH in the 80s, and SQ SIN-DME-IAH which is now SIN-MAN-IAH.

FlyingElvii wrote:
The CO/AirMike Island Hopper route. Was previously flown by PanAm. I am not sure if UA still flies it? Honolulu (HNL) to Majuro (MAJ) to Kwajalein (KWA) to Kosrae (KSA) to Pohnpei (PNI) to Chuuk (TKK) to Guam (GUM).Used to include Johnston Island before the base closed. I’m not sure, but didn’t Hawaiian operate this for a while as well? Or was that just the Johnston Island leg?

United still does it.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:16 am
by BoeingGuy
speedbird52 wrote:
BA84 to Vancouver originally stopped in Seattle, but with a twist: Two days of the week it would be LHR-SEA, and then YVR, and the other days of the week it was LHR-YVR-SEA. I find it insane that for a short period of time it was possible to fly from Seattle to Vancouver in a 747. I doubt it had carriage rights.


QF also had a 747 on SFO-YVR for many years as a tag-on.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:17 am
by Georgetown
FlyingElvii wrote:
The CO/AirMike Island Hopper route. Was previously flown by PanAm. I am not sure if UA still flies it? Honolulu (HNL) to Majuro (MAJ) to Kwajalein (KWA) to Kosrae (KSA) to Pohnpei (PNI) to Chuuk (TKK) to Guam (GUM).Used to include Johnston Island before the base closed. I’m not sure, but didn’t Hawaiian operate this for a while as well? Or was that just the Johnston Island leg?


Yup, UA still flies the island hopper

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:21 am
by speedbird52
BoeingGuy wrote:
speedbird52 wrote:
BA84 to Vancouver originally stopped in Seattle, but with a twist: Two days of the week it would be LHR-SEA, and then YVR, and the other days of the week it was LHR-YVR-SEA. I find it insane that for a short period of time it was possible to fly from Seattle to Vancouver in a 747. I doubt it had carriage rights.


QF also had a 747 on SFO-YVR for many years as a tag-on.

Cool! I miss the years of milk run long hauls. I know it is irrational but they inspire a sense of adventure in me, and a sense of really being far away.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:24 am
by FlyingElvii
Pan Am and TWA had a bunch of Add-on Empty Segments to JFK as well. PA did CLE-IND, CMH-IND, and IND-MCI at different times, TWA did IND-DAY, IND-CVG, and IND-CMH as well. These were not the only ones, either.
There are a bunch more of these that I can recall, but it’s too late an hour to go digging through boxes for the old OAG’s. When I first ran into one of those, it was a wide-eyed wonder, a window onto the world to a curious and adventure-seeking small town teen.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:34 am
by Iluvtofly
In 1985 I flew on an Eastern L1011 on a 16 minute flight from Buffalo to Toronto

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:36 am
by leftcoast8
LH658 wrote:
IAH to TPE via ANC or SEA, I forgot, but was on a A343. Wasn't crazy, though it was interesting.


This was a China Airlines flight (CI16/17) that operated from 2004 to 2007. It was CI's only foray into Seattle. By comparison, AE/CI has served YVR for nearly 30 years (AE started TPE-YVR on the 747SP in 1991).

Delta could do with a Skyteam partner for SEA-TPE, since the route is currently monopolized by Star Alliance (EVA Air) and Delta doesn't fly to Taiwan anymore. Not since axing PDX-NRT-TPE (DL69/579 and DL68/578) in 2017.

I wonder, when did SEA-NRT-TPE switch to SEA-NRT-SIN. And what was the tag-on on the PDX-NRT route before and after the switch from SEA-TPE to SEA-SIN?

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:37 am
by BartSimpson
F9Animal wrote:
I always found the Alaska milk run to be a crazy route. I am pretty sure they still do it?


I've done Juneau - Sitka - Ketchikan - Seattle once.

It's not a crazy route but simply a faster way for the people there to travel than the Marine Highway.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:36 am
by LH658
I think a crazy route in today terms is UA hopper route in the Pacific. Or Uzbekistan airways Guam to Nagoya.

Re: Craziest Airline Routes from the Past?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:50 am
by Gemuser
YYZLGA wrote:
Gemuser wrote:
Possiably the craziest of them all was the QF's Fiesta Route mentioned in reply 5 without details.
The route was SYD-NAN-PPT-ACA-MEX-NAS-BDA-LHR flown once or twice a week with B707 aircraft. It started in the 1960s and finished in the 1970s Really, really crazy but very interesting!


Wow that's wild. Was the purpose of the route to serve people travelling between London and Australia who wanted a vacation stopover and weren't interested in BKK?

In those days it provided the shortest and quickest route between Australia & Central/South America. It was the only choice to avoid the dog leg to LAX/SFO until LAN started IPC-PPT. It also served a diplomatic service for Australia.

Gemuser