Airside Americana – remember these airlines?



In these days of airline mergers, consolidations, and corporate takeovers, it can be hard to remember the days of multitudes of airline serving various parts of the nation. As I was growing up, very few airlines could be correctly deemed to be nationwide carriers – TWA, United, and American come to mind. Today, it seems like most of the remaining airlines want to be the biggest kid on the block. The problem is, with gargantuan size comes increased complexity, slowed innovation (other than new fees), less competition, and usually less personalized customer service. That is why I prefer, whenever possible, to fly on the regional or smaller carriers like Frontier, Southwest (including the remnants of AirTran), Alaska, and Jet Blue. Just last weekend, Kathy and I flew JetBlue to and from Boston and absolutely loved it!



Here’s my list of many former airlines that once flew the friendly skies of the USA – those shown in italics are a past airline that I have flown on. Please feel free to pass along others that I may have missed or forgotten.

  • AirTran (being absorbed by Southwest this year – would prefer it remain independent)
  • Air Wisconsin
  • Allegheny
  • Aloha
  • America West
  • ATA
  • Braniff International
  • Capitol (Thank you, Jean)
  • Comair
  • Continental
  • Eastern
  • Florida
  • Hughes Air West
  • Lake Central (never flew on them but toured one of their aircraft for a childhood birthday)
  • Mesa
  • National
  • New York Airways
  • North Central
  • Northeast
  • Northwest/Northwest Orient
  • Ozark
  • Pacific Southwest Airlines (Thank you, Ron)
  • Pan Am
  • People Express
  • Piedmont (a terrific regional airline)
  • Republic
  • Rocky Mountain Airways (Thank you, Kim)
  • Southern
  • Tejas
  • Texas International
  • TWA
  • US Airways
  • Value Jet
  • Western


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8 Responses to Airside Americana – remember these airlines?

  1. Bob says:

    What is also worth remembering is the old airports and many hours spent drinking in the bar waiting for your flight. In particular, I have fond memories of the 95th Aero Squadron at the old Denver Stapleton Airport that was located right on the edge of one runway and you could put headphones on at your outside table and listen to the chatter as pilots got ready to take off.


    • Rick Brown says:

      Sounds cool. There was a similar restaurant I Columbus, Ohio adjacent to the airport. My best birthday party ever as a kid was touring Weir Cook Municipal Airport in Indy, including the control tower and a Lake Central Airlines passenger plane. We even ate cake and ice cream and opened gifts in the Lake Central Airlines hangar. What a great time!


    • Kim Novitch says:

      Actually it was the 94th Aero Squadron, get place to take the kids. Remember Rocky Mtn Airways.


  2. Ron Melin says:

    Add Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Their stewardesses, I mean flight attendants were “in-style” in the early seventies they wore “Hot Pants”.


  3. Why stop with these? I had my first flight on a Capitol DC-3. I think it carried about 21 passengers. I recall one man fully reclining his seat and going to sleep for the flight. Don’t let anyone tell you sleeper seats on planes are new. Great plane, as everyone knows.


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