Post the Fourteenth, Something Less Special in the Air

US Airways and American Airlines are merging to form the largest airline in the world. This is being played so far as a win for American as the new company will keep the American name and really crappy new paint jobs on the airplanes. But really, don’t be fooled, American lost this deal.

Yesterday, American had 608 planes, 184 are ageing MD 80’s, guess where they got those planes from? Ever hear of TWA? Sure you have, the new cool building at JFK terminal 5… you know where Jetblue flies from, the cool building that looks like it gonna fly itself??? Yeah , that’s whats left of the former Trans World Airlines, American bought them when they were threatened with bankruptcy in 2001 and inherited their fleet of Mad Dogs. Plus some routes too… 10 years prior to that American bought Eastern’s routes and hangers at Miami International in an attempt to gain ground in Latin America, worked out nicely for them. American currently owns all of Concourse E and perversely, not a lick of English shall be heard there.

Thats what is supposed to happen when an airline gets ready to go under, another same sized but financially capable airline buys them and their routes. Happened to Eastern (after the Texas Air buyout), Piedmont, and a few scores of others.

Some of course were allowed to die in a holy cleansing fire of suckage, America’s Flag Carrier, the very heart and soul of American International Jet Travel, Pan-Am, was burned at the stake for having the audacity to not profit. Braniff not quite a major airline, but still pretty big in the south, simply stopped flying the day after filing bankruptcy in 1982.

Eastern? Jesus, there’s an entire library on what happened there, but to sum it up: Former spaceman, Frank Borman (maybe you’ve heard of him?, some Gemini flights, Apollo 8 round the moon, other feats of daring do) retires from NASA, gets involved with Eastern, to all concerned does a pretty good job keeping the planes in the air and then gets the airline hostilely taken over by Frank Lorenzo and Texas Air. Within four years time neither Eastern nor Texas Air exists…..

Of course there were in the case of Pan-Am four separate attempts to resurrect the name, Pan-Am 2 was to fly for 2 years, even merging with Carnival Airlines, before dying a horrible death. Then came Pan-Am 3, which flew really really really old original Pan Am equipment, Boeing 727-200’s. Where did they fly? who cares? Dead and buried the year of our lord 2004. Pan-Am 4, the former “Boston-Maine Airways” carried on the burden of flying those gallant stinkers another 5 years until…..death by…uhm, railroad? Yep that’s right, Pan-Am is a railroad now. go figure.

My god, thats a lot lot of bad luck to be had by all these airlines! Nope, tis’int. The labor unions killed every single last one of the airlines I’ve listed out here. EVERY ONE OF THEM. Not mismanagement, not deregulation  like Braniff tried to place blame on. Ok, in Eastern’s case Frank Lorenzo was a pig, but, guess how he came to own Eastern? Union interference with Eastern causing the airplanes to mechanical, the schedules to be all over the place and lots of other stupidity causing Eastern to profit loss opening the door for Lorenzo.

The very workers who keep the planes in the air, keep the planes pointed in the right direction while in the air, and the ones that politely request that you don’t call them “stews”, on orders from their union masters cut their noses off to spite their face. You just witnessed American’s answer to its unions. It folded.

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