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717atOGG
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What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:55 am

I've been wondering about 1986-2001 TWA. What were they like? Their cabins? Their service?
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jfklganyc
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:05 am

I understand pretty bad until the mid to late 90s. From that point onward, they really cleaned up their operation (#1 on time), cleaned up their appearance (new livery and branding), and renewed a much smaller fleet.

Unfortunately, much of the nostalgia of TWA was long gone by the late 90s. They were a small airline with one hub in STL and a few token routes out of JFK, almost no international presence left and a small fleet of 767s for widebodies.

The TWA that most of the a.netters talk about was the 1980s powerhouse that has planes painted like tylenols and covered Europe like crazy with tristars and ancient 747s
 
pa747sp
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:17 am

I only travelled with them once, on a L1011 from JFK to LHR in 1988. I was on a staff ticket. When I got onboard I found my seat was broken. I spoke to the stewardess about upgrading me and she referred me to the gate agent. Luckily we were delayed due to bad weather. When I finalyl found a gate agent he charged me a tiny amount (I'm thinkg maybe USD25) and gave me a seat in First Class.
The first class service was very average at best in terms of food and beverages. However, the crew were lovely and considering how little it cost me to travel in first class (my original ticket was free) I can't complain.
Compared to other US carriers of the time, I think they were about average. Compared to BA and SK, both of whom I flew in Business class around the same time, they were well behind.
Nothing seems as good since the VC10.
 
717atOGG
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:27 am

Why would they have the large STL hub instead of the LAX, JFK, and ORD hubs of the 1970's? I know they got them from Ozark but why make it the primary hub?
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jsnww81
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:37 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 1):
Unfortunately, much of the nostalgia of TWA was long gone by the late 90s. They were a small airline with one hub in STL and a few token routes out of JFK, almost no international presence left and a small fleet of 767s for widebodies.

I flew them DFW-STL-CLE and return in the summer of 1995, and that about sums it up. This was just before the new branding was introduced, and I remember flying a series of very old 727s and DC9s. Comfort Class was in place by then (extra legroom throughout coach) and the plane was quite comfortable, but very old inside.

STL was also looking pretty bad - I recall a lot of mismatched jetbridges with peeling paint and very long, featureless concourses with worn carpet and late 1970s architecture.
 
trnswrld
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:47 am

TWA used to be the main airline I flew growing up as my mother worked for them for 30 years. In my opinion to be as unbiased as I can, I would say it was pretty much your average airline of the time. No better, no worse. I have had flights all over the place on them on most of their fleet with exception to the 747 and 717.
I don't really recall any particularly bad experiences on them or other complaints. Most memorable experiences would be L1011 flights, 762 flight from STL-ORD, 763 flights STL-OGG, and a cockpit jumpseat ride on a brand new 757 MCO-STL.
 
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BN727227Ultra
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:54 am

I flew OMA-STL-ATL on Ozark the day before the merger, and returned on TW.
Then flew OMA-STL-HNL and return in 1988.

The 741 to Hawai'i was dirty, but otherwise all aspects were nominal. That's damning with faint praise, there honestly was nothing memorable about the experience, unlike my Ozark flights where it seemed as if I was in a relative's living room!
 
EnviroTO
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:08 am

I flew them a lot in the late 90s. At that point they were much like American domestically but smaller and STL wasn't a great hub (not much there, a little bit dingy, and poorer performance in inclement weather). They had almost the same fleet types (727, DC9, MD80, 757), new planes arriving regularly, and they were in the middle of painting the fleet. One oddity was that their MD-80s had 3-2 seating instead of 2-3 (i.e. the port side had 3 seats) which was different than all the other airlines. I have no idea why that was.
 
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MD80
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:33 am

Quoting EnviroTO (Reply 7):
...had 3-2 seating instead of 2-3 (i.e. the port side had 3 seats) which was different than all the other airlines. I have no idea why that was.

A 3-2-arrangement allows a bigger-sized aft galley.
Dedicated to the MD-80, MD-90, MD-95, and DC-9: www.MD-80.com
 
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DocLightning
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:54 am

In the late 1970s and early 1980s TWA was a major international carrier whose aircraft regularly crossed oceans.

By the months before their demise, TWA had turned into a domestic carrier with LCC-like features and a legacy brand. They had little transoceanic service (and what little they had was on 767s) and essentially were "Air St. Louis."

I last flew with them in 1999 when I bought one of their heavily discounted student packs. These packs were sold at a rate of $500/4 flights. Each flight was worth one $125 pack, which was great for me as it got me to Detroit and back. I also remember that TWA was one of the last two 727s I flew aboard. I am not sure if UA or TW gave me my last 722 flight.

I remember watching "The Thomas Crowne Affair" aboard one of their 752s from STL to LAX when I was a senior in college. Their onboard service was competitive, but nothing special.
-Doc Lightning-

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AA737-823
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:18 am

I flew TWA DFW-STL-DCA and back shortly before the merger, and again after the merger.
The service, by then, was extremely limited. Their idea of coach breakfast was a plain bagel in a grocery bag with a TWA logo on it.
The crew, however, was really terrific. And The 717s were as well. The decrepit MD-80 I flew on, however, was a true relic of a bygone era, even by 2000 standards. I believe it had come from Ozark.
STL was interesting. It was the first time I had ever made a flight connection in my life. Prior to that, I'd always traveled nonstop. I kind of liked it. It wasn't up to date or even very nice, but I still found a certain comfort to it.

Quoting EnviroTO (Reply 7):
One oddity was that their MD-80s had 3-2 seating instead of 2-3 (i.e. the port side had 3 seats) which was different than all the other airlines. I have no idea why that was.

All the other airlines, ignoring Delta and Alaska, who also had the 3-2 seating.
That said, I don't think TWA actually did have 3-2 on their MD-80s; at least, none of them that I ever flew in, did.
 
chrisair
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:52 am

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 4):
STL was also looking pretty bad - I recall a lot of mismatched jetbridges with peeling paint and very long, featureless concourses with worn carpet and late 1970s architecture.

Sounds a lot like STL the last time I went through there in 2011. The WN gates are great. The rest, not so much.

It's a trip looking at the closed D gates and still seeing some remnants of TWA, like the podiums and that god awful red carpet.
 
Gasman
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:09 am

I had only one experience with them, and that was in 1974 LAX-JFK-LHR on a 707 in Y.

All I remember (as a 7 year old) was while it wasn't as comfortable as NZ's DC-10, the catering (pastries that seemed impossibly fresh) and friendly service was amazing.
 
warden145
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:54 am

Quoting 717atOGG (Reply 3):
Why would they have the large STL hub instead of the LAX, JFK, and ORD hubs of the 1970's? I know they got them from Ozark but why make it the primary hub?

As I understand it, the consolidation at STL was directly because of the Karabu deal that Carl Icahn forced TWA to accept before he left. To make a very long story short, the deal made it impossible for TWA to make any money on flights that weren't into or out of STL. For that matter, IIRC Icahn sold a bunch of the European routes...

I only had the pleasure of flying TWA for one round-trip...an MD-80 SJC-LAX, then my only flight on an L-1011, flying from LAX to SFO. I was 10 or so (early 1990's) and flying as a UM, and the FA's moved me from my window seat to a seat in the center section shortly before landing so they could keep an eye on me...I remember being upset that I couldn't see out the window and disappointed that I couldn't go up to the flight deck after we landed. I wish I had a better memory of the flight...for that matter, I wish I had been old enough to appreciate what it was. But, c'est la vie...
ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
 
uncgso
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:05 pm

I only had the pleasure of flying TW once as well. This was mainly because they did not serve my home airport of GSO. However, when my brother and I flew to Illinois for my grandfather's 80th birthday, we routed RDU-STL-MWA. First leg was on a DC-9, with the second on a TWE J-31. I remember it was late August and probably about 110 degrees, all of us sitting in pools of our own sweat on the tiny Jetstream. On the flight to Marion we could hear what i assumed was ice breaking off from the air conditioning compressor in the front of the plane and then sliding to the back of the plane above us. The return MWA-STL was on a TWE J-31 again with the STL-RDU leg on a brand new MD-83. I remember this flight being delayed due to a maintenance issue but it was fixed quickly. The staff for the entire trip was great and while Lambert was not the prettiest airport, I found it to be quite functional for our connections.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:43 pm

I flew them extensively in the 70's, 80's, 90's and up until their demise. I was an early Aviator member and was Aviator Plat. at the end. I love and miss the airline.

Unlike those that just flew it once, I found my overall experience very good. The planes were clean und kept up. The comments in this thread about the MD80's being old are puzzling since TWA had some of the latest MD 80's off the line and still fly with AA today. My favorite was the L1011.

Some of the best service I ever had was aboard TW flights. The airline had its troubles with leadership, ownership and labor--but which airline didn't? The attention to detail was so good that many times I would be recognized by the staff walking up to the podium and upgraded immediately with the only reason being that I was a good customer and they wanted to show their appreciation.

I am probably much older than many on this thread so I keep the TWA experience in perspective and have a bigger data bank than one flight.

I miss the airline. I miss the people. I wish they flew today.
 
SJCMSP
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:56 pm

I only flew TWA a few times although it was in their final days in the 1999-2001 timeframe. The flights/interiors/service was fine, pretty similar to what you found on other legacy carriers at the time. Someone mentioned their terminal in STL was rundown; I would concur with that. The whole thing also had a closed-in, tight feeling as well. My most lasting memory was the ground congestion at STL during rush hour due largely to the runway layout. I was flying SFO-STL-IND. We pushed back on time and finally took off after our plane was scheduled to land in IND purely due to ground congestion.
 
thegoldenargosy
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:11 pm

I have nothing but fond childhood memories of TWA. My first flight was on a TWA DC-9 MDT-STL in 1989. The first frequent flyer program I joined was the TWA Frequent Flight Bonus Program (later Aviators). I remember the days when STL had 747s & L-1011s and was bursting at the seams. The service was just like any other legacy during the 1990's. TWA 800 was a big deal coming from a Missourian family. Two sisters from my family's hometown who my aunt had taught were onboard. My last TWA was in 2002 STL-BOS. It was an MD-80 in AA colors with an operated by TWA Airlines LCC sticker by the door with the TWA interior. I remember seeing the red TWA double globe on AA MD-80's bulkheads till about 2004.
 
717atOGG
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:24 pm

Why would they have the large STL hub instead of the LAX, JFK, and ORD hubs of the 1970's? I know they got them from Ozark but why make it the primary hub?
A320/321, A332, 712, 73G/8/9ER, 744, 752/3, E145, E175, CR9
 
EMB170
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:28 pm

TW was okay. Nothing special. My first and only time aboard TW was ORD-JFK-FCO and return back in January of 1997. I nearly missed my connecting flight at JFK because our MD-80 on ORD-JFK took a 2-hr mx delay due to a busted radio. The agents in ORD did not seem particularly keen on helping/rerouting us...even when there was an ORD-FCO nonstop on AZ...their idea was simply for us to go home (or stay at ORD; they'd put us up in the airport Hilton if we wanted) and come back and fly the next day. Finally, they decided to have us take our original ORD-JFK flight and hope for the best. When we got to JFK our FCO flight also wound up being delayed 2+ hours because they put the wrong bags on the plane! Add to that the rubber chicken they served in-flight, and I have to say I honestly don't miss them.
IND ORD ATL MCO PIT EWR BUF CVG DEN RNO JFK DTW BOS BDL BWI IAD RDU CLT MYR CHS TPA CID MSP STL MSY DFW IAH AUS SLC LAS
 
Tan Flyr
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:50 pm

Like others have said, The era of Ichan utterly destroyed TWA from once it once was. karabu ticking arrangement, selling the crown Jewels to stay afloat and other bad moves left TWA crippled. The plan in the late 90's, with the 717's, the last order of MD 80's, a few fresh 757's was helping. Due to the finacial condition, everything TWA leased they paid top dollar on. I flew on MD 80's and a 717 in late 99 or 2000...and the short hops were OK.

Like others have mentioned, many of us remember the TWA of the late 60's, the 70's and even into the 80's. There were so many management mistakes made along the way in an effort to bolster the earnings of TW corp, etc..but they actually bled TWA to a slow death. All combined over the years to restrict the ability to invest in the product, the planes, the ground facilities, etc..all slowly went south until 95 or so.

Briefly, TWA was the worst positioned airline when deregulation came in 78. TWA was still not recovering very well from the 73 oil embargo. A substantial reason was the fleet, made up of way too many 707's & early 727's. The CAB route system (prior to 78) allowed them to some what recover most costs of operating a very inefficient fleet over may routes.
I recall in 81 flying STL-CMH on business on a 707-331..very costly to fly on a 600 mile run.

OTH, TWA had some of the most dedicated employees of any airline...for years they made silk purses out of a sows ear..the old adage "never did so many do so much with so little for so long"
 
jetwet1
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:52 pm

Quoting 717atOGG (Reply 18):
Why would they have the large STL hub instead of the LAX, JFK, and ORD hubs of the 1970's? I know they got them from Ozark but why make it the primary hub?

Because they were never really big enough domestically to compete against UA/AA/US outside of STL/MCI, TWA already had a hub at STL, the purchase of Ozark just made it bigger.

Quoting warden145 (Reply 13):
As I understand it, the consolidation at STL was directly because of the Karabu deal that Carl Icahn forced TWA to accept before he left.

No, Karabu could buy tickets for any flight that did not originate or terminate at STL, just going through STL wasn't enough to avoid the Karabu deal.

I have a little history with TWA, I flew them in the mid to late 90's, heck all the way up to AA taking them over. I liked them, yes the hardware was a bit dated at times, but the staff was great, the food (up front) was always good.

TWA was like a prostitute (follow me here folks), whenever she made money, someone was there to take it from her and divert it away rather than reinvesting it.
 
SmokinL1011
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:10 pm

I was on seven TW flights altogether, all coach:

1989 (LAX-SFO, L10)
1990 (DTW-JFK-TLV, 72S, 742) (ATH-FCO-JFK-DTW, 72S, 742, 72S)
1995 (DTW-JFK, 72S)

The main thing that stands out in my memory is that the seats were more comfortable than other airlines I was flying at the time like DL, PA, LY. Legroom was the same but the seats seemed to have thicker cushions.

JFK T5 was a bit tatty and way overcrowded. In 1990 I had to recheck in for the TLV flight at T5 for some reason after having arrived at T6 from DTW. The check in area was in that cramped, crowded, low ceilinged area off to the side of the beautiful central area of the terminal and the gate area was so crowded I along with many others had no seat and sat on the floor before boarding. Luckily, being an aviation buff I was able, mostly at least, to overlook all this and be thrilled that I was actually travelling through this unique, iconic terminal.

Food and cabin service were average, on par with any other US airline at the time.
 
Flaps
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:19 pm

Despite TWA being a major player at my local airport I flew on them only twice in 81 or 82. First was PIT-LGW on an L1011 and the second JFK-PIT on an all Y 707-320C. Onboard service was very good with great staff. The L10 was immaculate inside and out which kind of surprised me given their reputation at the time. The 707 obviously was not but hey it was a 707 and that alone made it a terrific flight in my book. Overall I was very pleased with my limited TWA experience.
 
afcjets
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:54 pm

I only flew TWA once and it was in 2001. I flew a 717 and 757 and while they were both almost new aircraft (especially the 757), the seat fabric in FC reminded me of the interior of a rental car (in other words a generic American make). Actually though and perhaps without knowing it, TW was quite cutting edge. I heard an AA product manager state on a youtube video showcasing their new international F and J products their inspiration was car interiors, hence their new drab looking premium cabins. I long for the days when carmakers tried to made their interiors look like jets versus the other way around like today.

Quoting EnviroTO (Reply 7):
One oddity was that their MD-80s had 3-2 seating instead of 2-3 (i.e. the port side had 3 seats) which was different than all the other airlines. I have no idea why that was.

Delta MD88s are 3x2 but I believe their MD90s are 2x3.
 
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Tomassjc
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:57 pm

I was a proud "Breech Baby" and TWA new hire CSA at LAX in April 1978. I enjoyed many trips, including "The Polar" LAX to LHR and a few rides on 707s as well. Fast forward to Fall 1979, as TWA was waking up to deregulation's effects. Several hundred of us systemwide were furloughed or bumped to other stations, with the build up of JFK and STL hubs and the end of much point to point flying.

Service during my time there was good and we were trained well, but it was becoming obvious that TWA's old school ways of managing were becoming obsolete. I was recalled in '83 around Ichan's tenure, but said no thanks.

The next time I flew TWA again was SFO-STL-CMH in the summer of '87. The ride to STL was with mixed senior TWA and more junior ex Ozark crews on a 767. Service was minimal and the vibe from the Flight Attendants was not good. It seemed as if they were having some trouble getting along. The STL-CMH ride was lovely as it was last ride on a 727-100!

I did LAX-JFK a few weeks after the flight 800 incident in July 96 on a 747-100. An hour delayed with no explanation, broken seats folded forward, filthy interior, no working entertainment system and one pass through the cabin by a very senior and (understandably) solemn crew. It was pretty sad overall.

The return a few days later was on a full 767 JFK-LAX and was pleasant, with the friendly crew working hard to take care of everyone. Quite the opposite of the outbound flight. That was my last ride on TW.

Tomas SJC

[Edited 2015-10-09 10:49:08]

[Edited 2015-10-09 10:50:34]

[Edited 2015-10-09 10:51:32]
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
Osubuckeyes
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:05 pm

We used to fly TWA PHX-STL-CMH a few times a year throughout the 90s. I was pretty young, but i remember being amazed by the difference in noise between the 727s and the MD80s. In 94 we flew PHX-LAX-CDG and back, I just remember there was probably 30 people on the 767 between LAX-CDG I remember flopping down on the middle seats and setting up a fort with pillows and blankets. Brings back nostalgia for me as a young flyer, but I really don't recall how the service was at all other than there were meals during meal times.
 
doulasc
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:28 pm

TWA was a world class airline in the 60s and 70s.
I flew TWA in the 1960s I rode on the 749A, Convair 880 ,707 and 727s
DC-9.Great service,That all changed after deregulation and
when Carl Ichan took over,
 
JohnJ
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:35 pm

I had some good times on TWA back in the mid 1990s. I was traveling weekly for work, and at that time if you didn't do a Saturday night stay, pretty much every airline charged full coach fare. This meant an average trip in coach was in the $1000 range. TWA had a promotion whereby if you paid full coach, they'd upgrade you if space was available, and it almost always was. My colleagues and I latched onto this and flew the airline a lot. A couple of memorable flights include an upgrade in an L-1011 SFO-STL with excellent cabin service. The cabernet was flowing, and as we approached STL the F/A topped off my glass and told me I'd finished an entire bottle of wine. Another time, we were delayed for several hours CID-STL on a DC-9 on account of thunderstorms in STL. The F/A served drinks in the first class cabin while on the ground, and we wiped out the entire supply of beer before we even left the ground. She then tapped into the champagne for the remainder of the trip.
 
SFOThinker
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:41 pm

TWA was the most glamorous domestic carrier in the 1950s and early 60s. Howard Hughes owned it and also RKO and made sure stars were photographed often arriving or departing next to TWA boarding stairs. As both overseas and domestic, there was a crossover glamour for the domestic runs.
I started flying them in the mid 60s and found them slightly above average. There were little touches like the propeller shaped swizzle sticks in cocktails. The cabins were usually clean and the livery was great in al its evolution. The Saarinen terminal at JFK was gorgeous but became a nightmare as 747s and L 1011s made the gate areas overcrowded.
It was a long and sad story watching it decline. The fleet aged, and there was not enough money to keep the fleet interior up to date. I remember flying first class (much cheaper than the competition) from SFO to Cairo and back from Tel Aviv in the late 80s (if I recall the date) via JFK and CDG. The recliner seats were a joke, fully manual and in no way comparable to the competition. The cabin service was nothing special. I had flown TWA first class transcontinental many years earlier and remembered it as much better. You get what you pay for.
I felt and still feel bad for all the proud and loyal employees who watched their company milked dry by Carl Icahn. But he was the last in a long line of management that ran down a once great airline.
 
rugger
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:58 pm

I flew TW in the late 80's/early 90's HOU-STL-ORD. The concourse at STL seemed quite modern, I believe it was concourse C. High ceilings with large windows and all that red carpet. One trip was during a Christmas rush but the place still seemed comfortable to move around in. One thing I liked was that on all of my trips my connecting gates were just one or two gates away from my arrival gate.

For the most part onboard service was pretty efficient and friendly, except for one time. Once while boarding the STL-ORD flight it was discovered that three people had the same boarding pass for one seat. I was one of the three. Nobody wanted to give up the seat. A flight attendant was called. She just told us to "figure it out for yourselves" and walked away. So I just grabbed an empty aisle seat and that was the end of that. I felt the F/A could have handled that better than that.

At one point in time TW had a large operation at ORD. On one visit you could see all the aircraft types they operated. 727's, CV880's, L10's and later on DC9's.
 
desertjets
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:07 pm

Quoting 717atOGG (Reply 3):
Why would they have the large STL hub instead of the LAX, JFK, and ORD hubs of the 1970's? I know they got them from Ozark but why make it the primary hub?

On the eve of deregulation TWA was already at a profound disadvantage to the other major carriers at the time. On their major transcon routes they competed primarily against AA and UA -- and both were significantly larger. In ORD both AA and UA already had more gates and more routes and more customers. TWA simply could not fight a 3-way battle in Chicago. Largely the same story in LA as well. TWA held on at JFK for quite a long time since they had the international route authorities.


I flew them for one trip back in 1996. PHX-STL-CID and back. PHX-STL was on a 727-200, STL- CID on an Transtates ATR-42. CID-STL was a DC9-10 and STL-PHX was an MD-80 (both of those flights were the day following TWA 800). Given that it has been 20 years and I was a teen back then nothing really stood out to me. In flight service was about the same food wise on the two longer segments -- I vaguely remember a hot breakfast on PHX-STL. Don't remember what we had on the way back, but there was a MX delay. No IFE on either the 727 or MD (my flights around the same time on UA and HP had in-flight audio -- these were on 727s, 757s and A320s).

STL circa 1996 wasn't exactly a standout terminal. I distinctly remember thinking bus terminal when I was in the B concourse for my ATR flight to Cedar Rapids.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
lychemsa
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:17 pm

TWA meals in economy to Europe were a ton better than the meals they serve today.
TWA was also better than Pan Am.

My parents would fly with them from the 1940s to the 1970s. I flew with them from the 50s to the 70s.

By the 80s I stopped as their aircraft were getting old.
 
warden145
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:53 pm

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 21):
No, Karabu could buy tickets for any flight that did not originate or terminate at STL, just going through STL wasn't enough to avoid the Karabu deal.

Oh geez... I didn't realize it was THAT bad. It amazes me that he got away with it.

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 21):
TWA was like a prostitute (follow me here folks), whenever she made money, someone was there to take it from her and divert it away rather than reinvesting it.

Sadly, that sounds about right...as others have pointed out, Icahn was the last and the most blatant about raiding TWA (I semi-jokingly call him "the Butcher of TWA" even today), but the line before him was far too long. Especially hearing how the airline was in her heyday, it's truly sad to see what she became at the end...on the other hand, one could say the same for Pan Am.

I remember spending my summers at my grandmother's house under the approach path to the 24's at LAX and watching TWA 747's and L-1011's landing in all their glory, and dreaming of someday being at the controls of one of those 747's. I cried real tears the day the news came out that TWA was being liquidated...   
ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
 
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varsity
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:57 pm

I flew them JFK-FCO in 1981 or so on a 741. I was a kid yet but I remember everything seeming pretty elegant! Other than that my experience is limited to drinking in T5's "Lisbon Lounge" until you weren't allowed to without a ticket.
AB3, DC8, DC9, DH7, D10, E90, M80, M88, 320, 321, 330, 722, 737, 733, 734, 738, 747, 744, 757, 752, 753, 772
AA, AF, B6, CO, DL, EA, EI, FI, HP, KM, LX, MS, NW, OP, PA, TW, UA, US, VS, W9, WO, YX
 
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atypical
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:07 pm

Quoting Tan Flyr (Reply 20):
The era of Ichan utterly destroyed TWA from once it once was. karabu ticking arrangement, selling the crown Jewels to stay afloat and other bad moves left TWA crippled.

Ichan didn't sell anything of TWA's to keep it afloat. He financed his buy of TWA by selling TWA junk bonds so TWA was ladened with the debt of the buyout. Soon after he took TWA's cash and used it to take control of Exxon. TWA never saw the cash nor any profits (if there were any) afterward. TWA had made a profit before it started to defend itself against Ichan, even looking to Frank Lorenzo as savior. Ichan already had 20% of outstanding shares and eventually bought over 50%.

Who knows, In a different universe maybe Lorenzo would have bought TWA and merged it with Continental and possible People Express and Frontier afterward... It would have been a behemoth and if Eastern was in the mix it might have been one the three majors now. Of course it would be something like, "Delta, American, and the financially ailing TWA."
 
Ryanair01
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:22 pm

I flew transatlantic with them in Feb 2001, there was a lot to like about the experience, good food and experienced staff. Down side was that the 767-200s had a lot of cabin maintenance issues, they ran out of most things during the flight and the JFK terminal had long queues and lacked facilities.

I wrote a trip report which includes some scanned photos (digital photography wasn't common then).
TWA Transatlantic 2001 (pics) CDG-JFK-CDG 767-200 (by Ryanair01 Dec 27 2013 in Trip Reports)
 
sevenheavy
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:44 pm

Quoting atypical (Reply 35):
Ichan didn't sell anything of TWA's to keep it afloat.

How about the sale of the LHR-ORD route to AA?
Then followed by LHR-BOS/JFK/LAX?
Then LGW-PIT/PHL to US?

I had the pleasure of flying all types in the TWA fleet during the late 70s (I was a toddler so don't remember much about the first few trips!) and up until 1990.

Luckily, most of my trips were in First or business class and whilst some of the aircraft were getting on a bit towards the end I usually found the crew and catering to be excellent, particularly on long haul first class when chateaubriand was hand carved from the trolley!

Despite their troubles, they always seemed to know what they were doing and we were always well looked after
So long 701, it was nice knowing you.
 
fanofjets
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:54 pm

My experiences were mixed, but these flights were all before the 1990s, so they do not apply to the rebranded airline.

Boeing 707, HNL to LAX (1974) - Pretty good. No movie but the 707 was a nice plane.

Boeing 747, LAX to JFK (1974) - Pluses: the pilot was a font of knowledge on the brand-new Boeing 747 and enjoyed sharing it with the passengers. There was a fashion show aboard, but I slept through it. The seat cushions were inflatable; this was supposed to be to enhance comfort, but for this teenage boy it was more of a plaything. Minus: Not-to-friendly FA announcement upon landing, typical of many US airlines up to the present day.

Boeing 747, JFK to LHR (1983) - The airplane was very nice, with newly refinished cabin. IFE was mediocre. Cabin service was mediocre - not bad, but nothing great.

I admit to nostalgia when I see the double globes, Saarinen Jet Port at JFK, and early promotional videos taken aboard Boeing 707s in the early 1960s. I think things started going downhill for the airline soon after. Pity.
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
bradmovie
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:58 pm

I flew TWA regularly throughout the 90s, mostly LAX-JFK. They were my first frequent flyer club, and I gained enough thru my loyalty to them to earn Platinum and keep it forever on AA.

I will always fondly remember one particular JFK-LAX sunset flight on a 747, first class sitting in seat 1 in the nose, with windows to look out on both sides. What a fantastic trip, and yes, the wine was flowing, as was the delicious warmed cheese toast from the bread basket!

Where is that cheese toast now, I ask you? ;(
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:06 pm

Quoting bradmovie (Reply 39):
Where is that cheese toast now, I ask you? ;(

It is mentioned on page 7, Roquefort cheese bread!

http://statehistoricalsocietyofmisso...org/cdm/ref/collection/twa/id/8143

Recipe here on page 6:

http://www.twamuseumat10richardsroad...um%20Newsletter%20March%202015.pdf
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.

Former AMT on A220,A310,A319/20/21,A330,A350,B707,B717,B727,B737,B747,B757,B767,B777,DC-9,DC-10,L-1011,
MD-80/90,MD-11
 
KELPkid
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:12 pm

Never flew TWA, but I remember my parents in the 1980's saying that TWA stood for "The Worst Airline"   They had some TWA travel bags that they picked up somewhere along the line, so they must have actually done some travels on them...
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
bradmovie
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:13 pm

You rock! I do a lot of cooking and will definitely try this simple recipe. Fun stuff, thanks for sharing!
 
LambertMan
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:46 pm

The experience towards the end (95+) was really mixed. Some of the aircraft was brand new, while others were really pretty run-down on the inside (727, DC-9s). The 741s, in particular, were very shabby near the end of their service life. I seem to recall a number of broken seats, smelly cabins, and lavatories that did not function. I wasn't old enough to remember, but according to my folks Ozark was regarded as a vastly superior airline until it was assimilated into TW.

I always thought STL's drab and deteriorating Concourses C and D were almost appropriate and perhaps a reflection of TW. I was told several years after the fact that TW was perpetually late on lease payments, perhaps contributing to the condition of the concourses over the year. It's really amazing, too, that concourses that were built in the late 70's and mid 80's aged as poorly and quickly as they did. The concourse C extension and all of D basically were full-fledged architectural disasters that we'll probably have for another 10+ years.
 
Viscount724
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:11 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 1):
Unfortunately, much of the nostalgia of TWA was long gone by the late 90s.

TWA was excellent in the '70s and '80s. I flew them U.S.-Europe 4 or 5 times on 707s, 747s and even one 747SP (IAD-CDG). Also a few L-1011s and 727s on domestic flights. Mostly first class (nonrev).

I preferred TWA to Pan Am which was usually only average. I never flew TWA in the '90s but I expect their service deteriorated much like it did at Pan Am in their last few years.
 
jetstar
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:37 am

I did a lot of domestic flying on TWA from the late 1970’s until they were taken over by AA and as far as I am concerned TWA’s cabin crew were the best. Even in their darkest days under Carl Ichan, the cabin crew never took their problems out on the passengers.

I also occasionally flew on Eastern towards their end and some of the cabin crew were totally the opposite, some were just downright nasty.

Because AA absorbed TWA’s frequent flyer program and converted all my TWA miles to AA miles which eventually allowed my to become a million mile member and be granted AA Gold status for life.

I flew AA from then on and while some of AA’s cabin crew were great, most appeared to be just doing their job, not taking pride in their work. Right after the takeover I was on a flight connecting in STL so I was almost sure the cabin crew were former TWA, so I asked them if they were and one of the FA’s said in a less then happy tone they were AA, but when I told them I was a former TWA flyer, she confessed and said the entire cabin crew were ex TWA, I told her how much I missed TWA and wished her the best of luck in the future

Five years ago after 2 bad experiences with nasty AA gate agents, mediocre cabin crew and late and delayed flights I decided I have had enough with AA and switched over to Delta, were they matched my AA status for 1 year and have been Gold ever since at DL.

I can honestly say that DL’s cabin crew are as good as TWA’s and my experiences with DL have been very positive, but I still miss TWA and they will always be my favorite airline.

JetStar
 
superjeff
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:29 am

My first flight on TWA was JFK-LAX on their evening "Starstream 707" . TWA was the first airline to show movies enroute (actually, I think Pan Am showed some in the flying boat day, but in modern history, TWA was first). Green seats with overhead lights that appeared to have stars in the at night. Very classy. Next time I flew them was a 707 ABQ-ORD about 1973 or 1974 when I worked for another airline. Not a bad flight on an old classic. Afterward, it was toward the end, flying on their 727-200's and MD80's, followed by one trip on a 717. I found them comfortable and decent, but, not terribly different from anybody else.

I regret that I never flew their Constellations, though (and I'm old enough to remember them), especially the Jetstream L-1649!
 
rugger
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:51 am

Quoting atypical (Reply 35):
Soon after he took TWA's cash and used it to take control of Exxon.

Carl Ichan never took control of Exxon. Exxon management at the time was in the middle of using their profits to buy back as much stock as they could so they wouldn't become a takeover target. With the management Exxon had at the time had anyone tried to take over Exxon they would have been crushed like the little flea that they are. Most people underestimate the size of Exxon and now ExxonMobil. They are beyond huge with money to match. Any company who declares their profits in billions of dollars is.
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:57 am

Quoting Rugger (Reply 47):
Carl Ichan never took control of Exxon.

He might have meant Texaco.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.

Former AMT on A220,A310,A319/20/21,A330,A350,B707,B717,B727,B737,B747,B757,B767,B777,DC-9,DC-10,L-1011,
MD-80/90,MD-11
 
SUPER63DL
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RE: What Was TWA Like?

Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:10 am

I flew TWA only once,1986, round trip from Ontario Ca. to Lexington Ky, Through St. Louis. It was on a DC-9 and I was in the rear port side window seat, next to the engine, which had THE worst harmonic vibration I have ever experienced on any aircraft, ever! I remember talking about it to other pax, & a FA with wide eyes. I have been an airliner fanatic since the age of six or seven years old and that was one of only two time I was alarmed in flight. The trip home was uneventful, but was happy to have had one more stop en route, Lexington- Louisville- St. Louis- Ontario, and from St. Louis to Ontario was a 727!   The service was average for the era, not terrible, not fantastic.

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