Saturday, June 13, 2009

People Express

  • PEOPLExpress Airlines was founded by Don Burr, Samuel Leong, Gerry Gitner, who resigned from Frank Lorenzo's Texas International airlines. People Express was launched on April 30, 1981 with service from Newark to Buffalo, Columbus, and Norfolk, Virginia. People Express grew rapidly, adding flights to Florida by the end of the year.

    PEOPLExpress Boeing 747 - London, England, May 1983 - Photo copyright AirNikon - Pima Air & Space Museum.

  • On May 26, 1983, PEOPLExpress began non-stop service from Newark to London's Gatwick Airport with a leased Boeing 747 previously operated by Braniff International Airways. Flights were priced at $149 each-way and upon launch, became an instant success with all flights sold-out for several months within 24 hours of being offered.

    PEOPLExpress Boeing 727 - Logan International, Boston, Massachusetts, September 1986 - Photo copyright AirNikon - Pima Air & Space Museum.

  • The airline used a simplified fare structure whereby all seats on a given route were offered at the same price. All seats were in economy class, with the exception of "Premium Class" seating on overseas flights. Fares were paid on the flight.

    PEOPLExpress Boeing 737- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1982 - Photo copyright George W. Hamlin.

  • Debt pressure on the carrier forced a change in philosophy, as People Express sought to lure business travellers who were willing to pay higher fares. Aircraft cabins were redesigned to include a first-class cabin, a frequent flyer plan was initiated, and the simplified fare structure was abandoned in favor of a more traditional airline industry pricing scheme.

    PEOPLExpress Boeing 747- London, England, October 16, 1986 - Photo copyright Mike Freer / Touchdown Aviation.

  • In the end, People Express was forced to sell itself entirely to Texas Air Corp for roughly $125 million. People Express ceased to exist as a carrier on February 1, 1987, when its operations were merged into the operations of Continental Airlines, another Texas Air subsidiary.

    Major Pepperidge said...

    I'm sure I must have heard an ad for People Express, but it doesn't ring any bells! Interesting.

    Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

    I remember "Peoples Express" very well, to a PE flight in 1984 to Newark, NJ. Still the worst flight ever, although Southwest has come close a few times. I didn't know they switched the pricing later on, I think the damage to their reputation was already done.

    ps. In the early 80's I seem to recall satire type cartoons about People Express that showed passengers boarding on cattle ramps!

    Keith said...

    I really love getting a chance to see planes that I've never seen before.