Saturday, September 25, 2010

About Face(s)

Since I just did one of my favorite timetable covers, I thought I would post about one of my least favorite timetables.

I basically despise the Southwest "Faces" issues, mainly because the quotes attributed to the various Southwest employees featured on the covers are obviously drivel created by someone in the PR department rather than the employees' own words.  (And the fact that they made us suffer through 18 years of this inane banter simply adds to the insult!)

Of all the "Faces" issues, the worst of the worst is the one that was effective on April 2, 1995.

Just in case you can't read the verbiage on the timetable cover, it reads "Our first rule of airplane cleaning; If it doesn't shine as bright as your smile, you aren't done."  Much the same as timetables I like, this one evokes a feeling each time I see it.  Unfortunately, in this case it's a feeling of nausea!

I have a tough time believing that airplane cleaners do their jobs with a big smile, as they remove dirty diapers and used barf bags from seatback pockets and clean up god-only-knows whatever other messes passengers leave behind for a pay rate that is probably at or just above minimum wage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One of my favorite timetable cover photos

TWA's timetable dated October 27, 1974 has one of my favorite cover photos, depicting a TWA 747 lifting gracefully from the runway at JFK with the New York skyline in the distance. 

Every time I see that photo, I can remember staring wistfully at it, wishing there was some way I could transport myself to Kennedy Airport to watch 747s of various carriers venture skyward for distant destinations!

(Somewhat ironically, at the time of this issue, TWA had grounded a number of 747s due to the Arab Oil Embargo and general economic recession.  I only find 7 daily 747 departures from JFK in this timetable, compared to 15 in July of 1973.)

In the post-9/11 world, this photo took on added meaning for me.  I see the sun setting behind the World Trade Center, and it reminds me that the "sunset" for both TWA and the WTC came in 2001.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Say "Cheese"!

I'll admit it, I like finding goofy, silly, even trivial things about timetables that probably no one else ever notices.  Here is a perfect example:

Anyone who has ever had their picture taken knows you're supposed to smile for the camera.  Maybe optional in a family photo, but mandatory if it's a promotional photo for a business.  So, the first time I saw the Air BC timetable for June 1, 1992, it immediately struck me that the fellow at the upper right just didn't look all that happy.

In all fairness, I think the guy is actually smiling.  But everyone else showing off their pearly whites makes this fellow appear somewhat dissatisfied.

Later on, I came across the Air BC timetable for the following summer which uses the same photo, although in black and white rather than color.  Much to my amusement, our mustachioed friend now has a big smile, probably as a result of a big raise over the winter, or a little airbrush work (you decide!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Treasure State Airlines

It's not often that I come across a timetable for an airline that I can find absolutely nothing about.  But the timetable for Treasure State Airlines has been just such an item.  I have searched the various airline reference books I keep on file, and tried repeatedly (over a number of years) to find something for this carrier online, all to no avail.

In preparation for creating this post, I thought it would be prudent to check Google one more time, since it had been a while since I last searched it.  And wouldn't you know it, this time I got a hit!  I was able to find the following article from the Billings County Pioneer about the airline inaugurating service on June 1, 1954.

Montana Airline to Begin Bismarck to Billings Flight

Beginning June I, Bismarck will gain newly-scheduled air service to Williston and various Montana cities by a Montana airline. Treasure State Airlines will fly one round trip daily six days a week from Bismarck to Billings by way of Williston, according to L. W. Moore of Billings, Montana. vice president of the firm. The daytime flight originates at Billings and includes stops at Miles City, Glendive and Sidney in Montana. Two-motor Lockheed Stateliners with accommodations for ten will be used. The planes cruise at 165 miles per hour. Arrival time of the eastbound flight will be 12:55 p.m. The plane will leave Bismarck at 3:25 p. m. for the return trip. Treasure State has been operating a flight as far east as Williston Moore said. Plans since April 21, do not call for extension of the route further east from Bismarck, he said. "We feel that the new flight fills a gap in the air transportation network in this area," The Eastbound flight will leave Billings every day except Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Arrival times at other points are Miles City 8:30 a.m., Glendive 9:15 a.m., Sidney 9:50 a.m., and Williston 11:20 am. The westbound flight leaves Bismarck at 3:25 p,m, The rest of the schedule is Williston 4:40 p.m., Sidney 4:25 p.m., Glendive 4:55 p.m., Miles City 5:45 p.m., and Billings 6:55: p.m. All times for North Dakota cities are Central Standard while Montana times listed are Mountain Standard. The flight will make connections at Bismarck with Northwest and Braniff flights, Moore said. The route Treasure State will fly is similar to one for which Frontier Airlines has been seeking a certificate from the civil aeronautics board. Treasure State does not need a CAB certificate because of the size of the plane to be used in their operations and because no subsidies are involved, local observers explained.

(The text in this article was evidently scanned with OCR software from the actual page of the newspaper, so I had to weed out extraneous text from other articles in adjacent columns and correct errors where the scanner couldn't read the text properly.)

Treasure State Airlines timetable June 1, 1954 (3.5"L x 2.5"H)

I have no idea how long this carrier operated, but Frontier did get the route shortly thereafter, and if Treasure State Airlines wasn't already done by then, that probably would have put an end to them pretty quickly.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My First Airline Timetable

I became interested in airlines in the early 70's.  We lived just east of Lambert - St. Louis International Airport, which meant that several hundred landings or departures were readily visible each day.  I would "borrow" my father's bonoculars to "watch the airplanes" for hours on end.

In late 1972, I decided to call each airline to see what they would be willing to send me (preferably pictures of their aircraft).  The first call went to Allegheny, and they sent me a timetable.  I had never seen a timetable before and dug into the 80 pages with gusto!  Since it was winter (too cold for plane-watching), I had plenty of time to spend with my new treasure, and practically wore the cover off.  It's pretty beat up, and even though I have a better copy of this issue in my collection, I keep it as a reminder of how it all began.

After receiving this first timetable, I was on a mission to get timetables from all of the other airlines.  Only afterwards, did I realize that the Allegheny timetable was somewhat of an oddity. 

Back in the days of columnar timetables, airlines often used symbols at the top of each column to represent different aircraft types.  (In fact those symbols were fairly standardized, so each symbol usually had the same meaning from one carrier to the next.)  When airlines switched to the quick reference format, they normally designated different equipment types either by listing the aircraft type as part of the flight info, assigning certain types to ranges of flight numbers, or color-coding the schedules to indicate a certain type.   The Allegheny timetables of the early 70's retained the use of symbols to indicate the aircraft type; i.e., the circled triangles indicated DC-9's, circled diamonds were BAC 1-11's, and the circled club symbols were Convair 580's.  (Those club symbols had been associated with the Convairs since the 1950's.)

In 1974 Allegheny discontinued the use of symbols, replacing them with a listing of equipment based on ranges of flight numbers.