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In 1965, Harding L. Lawrence was appointed President of Braniff International by Troy Post of GreatAmerica Corporation. Post bought Braniff in 1964 at the request of Harding. Why? According to the late Charles Beard, "Harding Lawrence would come into Braniff from Pioneer to apply for a job with Braniff. He kept doing this over and over until I told him he was an 'egomaniac and couldn't delegate authority.' He had it in for Braniff and for me after that. Since Harding's sister was married to Troy Post, Harding asked Post to buy Braniff for him," - Chuck Beard.
Post elected C. Edward Acker to Braniff's Board in 1964, and in March 1965 brought in Lawrence and "kicked Beard out of his office." Acker would become President in 1970.
After the dust settled, Lawrence hired the Jack Tinker Agency (with the self-appointed "style guru" Mary Wells) to re-do the Braniff image. This resulted in "The End of the Plain Plane."
Wells had met Lawrence at Houston-based Continental Airlines, when she was working on the "Golden Jet" campaign for Jack Tinker. Lawrence had been an executive Vice President under Bob Six there. (He had been with Houston, Texas based Pioneer Airlines before Continental. On 1 April 1955 Pioneer Air Lines merged with Continental and began an integrated service.) When Lawrence was made president of Braniff, he brought Mary with him (because of he was sleeping with her). Lawrence married Mary Wells in 1966. The same year she started Wells, Rich and Greene ad agency with Braniff money. C. Edward Acker, who became COO, fed people the line that "Braniff and National Car Rental were poorly managed, and that is why Post bought both companies." This was a lie of course on both companies.
After Mary became Mary Wells-Lawrence, she (and her newly-formed ad firm) were fired as Braniff's ad agency because it became a huge "conflict of interest" in the view of Braniff's Board. That, and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) told Braniff to fire Wells, Rich and Greene. (It is also alleged my Clinton E. Frank members that Richard Rich and Stewart Greene did most of the copywrite work.)
Lawrence would expand Braniff over the next 15 years to add Asia and Europe to the already existing Domestic and South American Route System.
Lawrence, however, had a "drinking problem" and (later on) a rather large ego which, unfortunately, led to some bad decisions that would eventually contribute to Braniff's 1982 shutdown. Lawrence was an interesting player in Braniff history in that he influenced the carrier in both positive and negative ways.
In fact, Miss "LL," a personal body gaurd to Lawrence in the late 70s at "Braniff Place" talked of the outlandish parties he would throw. "He would have a large party every night with tons of liquor and platters and platters of food. Some of the guests included Jimmy "The Greek," Las Vegas Mobsters, and other notorious fiqures. All of this was paid for with Braniff money."
"He almost killed me one time," she says, "He slept with a gun, and I startled him. He shot at me. Thank Goodness he was a bad shot! But he would always give me things; cases of Jack Daniels, anything I wanted."
Miss "LL" now works for The Department of Homeland Security in Dallas.
In 1965, noted New Mexico architect and graphic designer, Alexander Girard, was hired by Jack Tinker to redesign "every aspect" of Braniff. He created the idea to use bright color
schemes and ethnic art for Braniff. This was officially called "The End Of The Plain Plane," and was applied to aircraft, lounges, ticket counters, ground equipment and everything else the "flying public" would view.
Girard originally wanted each Braniff aircraft painted all one color, with a tiny "BI" logo and name. Braniff advertising and engineering wanted a bigger logo and bigger type, so they modified the designs and colours (adding white wings and tail) based on the Vega scheme Paul R. Braniff had created in the 1930s.
There were SEVEN PAINT COLOURS applied to Braniff Aircraft. (actually eight..."Lavender" was applied to a B720..but Lavender, with white and black together is bad luck in Mexico and South America, so the paint scheme was dropped). The "Purplish Blue," also introduced, was changed to a "medium" blue for the same reasons. Art-work was flown in from South America, Mexico and Panama for Braniff's planes, lounges and ticket offices.
The "Braniff Dove Logo," designed by Girard, was created as a second logo (Girard wanted it to be the primary logo). Girard called it "The Bluebird of Happiness," and was originally presented to Braniff in a "light blue" color. Girard's "Dove" was placed on just about everything Braniff produced from cocktail napkins to Braniff ticket office signs and Hostess Wings (and everything in-between). It was ultimately used in addition to the "BI" logo until Braniff's shut-down in 1982.
With the addition of the 727QC (Quick Change), in 1966, Braniff created one of the first "overnight package services."
The 727-QC's could be converted into cargo carriers during the night. This was called "AIRGO" by Braniff, and was used until the end of the sixties.
"INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF CHEFS"
Prior to 1965, Braniff already had an "International Board of Chefs." But, the "Tinker" team decided to "play this up" with a seperate ad campaign.
The above is an example of COACH service...ah those were the days
Emilio Pucci designed uniforms for the flight crew (based on Nautical designs) and ground crews. He also designed the famous inter-changeable wardrobe for Braniff "Hostesses"
which was dubbed the "air strip" because the flight attendants would
take-off parts of the uniform during flight.
Pucci outfitted Braniff's Hostesses in the famous "Space Bubble" (officially called a "rain dome" by Braniff)
In 1966, Harding Lawrence,
John Casey and Troy Post took Braniff AWAY from Oklahoma, and re-incorporated it TWICE in Las Vegas, Nevada: one of the states with the most relaxed rules of Inc. The first was "B.A. Reincorporation Vehicle, Inc." Then it was changed to "Braniff Airways, Inc. Nevada." (Braniff was an Oklahoma Chartered Company from 1930-1966) Lawrence, Post and Casey also set up a "Golden Parachute" for themselves assuring large payouts no matter what happened to the company.
The new corporation started paying profits to "Preferred Stockholders" instead of
paying Braniff's debts. (Braniff had a cash surplus in 1964 which quickly became a deficit in the late 60s and 1970s)
The new incorporation also allowed Lawrence to elect Braniff's Board of Directors WITHOUT shareholder approval. This led to a Board stocked full of "yes men" which would not argue Lawrence's decisions.
Also in 1966, A BAC-111, N1553,
flight 250, mysteriously crashed near Falls City, Nebraska. According to reports, the Falls
City 111 "lost" its tail a-la-Buffalo and Dawson in the crash. It was in clear air when it crashed.
An investigator told "The Braniff Pages" that over 70 OUTDOOR witnesses observed the plane fly over a "shelf-cloud" and exploded in clear air. We were also told that the field where the tail, nose and fuselage were found, was off-limits to civilians for many years.
The Dallas News reported the day after the crash, "The plane went down in the middle of a field on the soybean farm of Tony Schawang in an area not easily accessible.Only a few dirt and gravel roads connect it with urban areas. A THUNDERSTORM BROKE AFTER THE CRASH and hampered the search, the LOCAL POLICE REPORTED. Most of the sightseers left when the thunder and lightning started." (UPI 1966)
While the "official" cause was Clear Air Turbulence, most Braniff historians believe that the true cause of the crash is still unknown.
Several Braniff Engineers claimed that "you couldn't hurt a BAC-111." A Braniff BAC-111 (tail number 43,44 or 45) made a "gear-up" landing at Love Field (the Pilot forgot to lower the gear). The plane did a go around and landed. Even with a belly-landing, no structure was damaged on the plane! The British don't make bad aeroplanes.
Two of the four DC-8s aquired from Panagra in 1967. Still in Pangara Colors.
1967, the Braniff - "Panagra"
merger went through on February 1 after a two-year delay. Final sale price: $30 million. (7 million over the original $22 mil agreed upon by Beard in 1964.) In March 1965, Beard had already signed a contract with W.R. Grace (Run by J. Peter Grace who died in the 1990s) and was waiting for Juan Trippe's signature from Pan Am. The contract was supposed to be finished by April, but that's when Lawrence kicked Beard out of his office and took over. (It is alleged that Lawrence received a personal "kickback" of $1 million from both companies)
Harding L. Lawrence was named Chairman on December
17th and C. Edward Acker was named President (Acker was, like Lawrence, brought in by "GreatAmerica Corp" in 1964 to sit on Braniff's Board)
In the January 1967 employee newsletter, "The B-Liner," Pat Zahrt, the editor, pokes fun at Harding Lawrence with a satire article on the Andes.
In 1968, Braniff
Electra N9707C, Flight 352, EXPLODED on the way to Dallas, causes unknown. (The official version is "turbulance and PILOT ERROR" But we don't agree.
Pat Zahrt keeping a watchful eye on Herman Rumsey at a 1977 "BISE" dinner
Brigadier General Herman Rumsey, Flight Operations VP, was made CHIEF investigator. Harry E. Mckillop, Cargo Vice-President, was made HEAD of the crash scene. His Secretary, Molly Deware, was on board the fatal Electra crash. (She had been in Houston on a daytrip "errand" for Mr. Harry E. McKillop, and was returning to Love Field.)
(NOTE: There were NO OTHER crashes in 1968, and the Flight 352 crash was Braniff's LAST plane crash with fatalities) The NTSB blamed the crash on "Pilot Error" and "Weather." However, due to a ten-year (plus) investigation by us, we came up with a different version of events.
N7098 707-327C used on PAC-MAC
Photo via Glenn Geddis and George Cearley, Jr.
5 July 1966, Braniff began Atlantic Charters for The "Military Airlift Command" (MAC) to Nova Scotia, Greenland, Iceland, The Azores and Germany until 1968. Also it began service to Wake, Guam, Yokota, Kimpo, Kadena, Clark, Saigon, Bien Hoa, Cam Ranh Bay, Danang, Vientiane and Bangkok on the "Pacific Air Charter" (PAC) contract with the Air Force. Braniff used Boeing 707-327C's (9) that it aquired in 1966 and 1967.
The Military Charters were very emotional for the crew and soldiers alike. Both the Pilots and the Hostesses were assigned Military Rank and IDs, and had full military rights at USAF bases in Asia. Braniff played a large part in the Vietnam conflict both transporting soldiers and "material" to Southeast Asia and back. Sometimes, the soldiers returned in the cargo bays.
Braniff 707-327C disembarking soldiers
In the Spring of 1967, Braniff hired USAF Brigadier General Herman Rumsey, (mentioned in the Dawson Crash above) former commander of the Military Airlift Command's 61st Military Airlift Wing (MATS), Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He directed airlift operations in an area stretching from halfway between Hawaii and California west to Pakistan and from Japan to Antarctica. In MATS, the general served as deputy commander, Great Falls Air Force Base, Mont.; deputy chief of staff for operations, Pacific Division, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; chief of Civil Air Division, and later as assistant deputy chief of staff, Comptroller, Headquarters MATS, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.; and commander of the 1703rd Air Transport Group, Brookley Air Force Base, Ala.; and the 1503rd Air Transport Wing, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. In June 1960, he became deputy chief of staff for materiel, Western Transport Air Force (now the Twenty-second Air Force), Travis Air Force Base. Calif.; and in February 1961 he became chief of staff, Western Transport Air Force. He assumed command of the 1502nd Air Transport Wing (now the 61st) on July 31, 1964.
General Rumsey became a Flight Ops-Cargo Vice President for Braniff in 1967. In 1968, he was the principal investigator on the "Dawson Flight 352" crash. (as mentioned above)
"FAST BUCK" Campaign
In March of 1968, the ad department
introduced the "FAST BUCK" Campaign. They installed clocks in all aircraft passenger cabins, and if the plane was late, customers were entitled to a "Fast Buck" token, good for their next trip on Braniff. Many people blame the Dawson crash on this campaign. Their argument
is that the pilot was taking undue risks to get to Dallas on-time. (Based on John's Nance's book) However, I have mentioned above in the Dawson crash area, that Phillips would have never endangered his plane (especially not for $85!)
The campaign was
pulled in summer 1968, but it was pulled because the C.A.B. ruled it a
"Violation of Tariff Laws", not a safety hazard. The C.A.B. wrote
a LETTER to Harding Lawrence on March 18, 1968 informing him of this
fact of tariff violation. This letter came TWO months before the Dawson Crash. The "Fast Buck" was pulled in July of 1968 due to the C.A.B.'s ruling.
1968, Braniff's colors
were altered slightly by New York design firm Harper & George to introduce the
new "PANAGRA GREEN" and "Panagra Yellow" colors after the Panagra Airways merger. And,
primary red, lime green, DARK BLUE,
medium blue and Braniff Orange.
Braniff's "Terminal of The Future" at Love Field, Texas
"Fort Worth" room at Dallas Love Field 1968
Main lobby of Love Field
The "Concourse of Color" leading to the gates
The new ticket area in the new Terminal
Colorful gate area circa 1968
Braniff Lounge at Dallas.
1968, Braniff opened
the "TERMINAL OF THE FUTURE" at Dallas Love Field with a rotunda concourse and a mono-rail system (opened 1970) to transport passengers from their cars to the Braniff concourse.
It was named the "JETRAIL" system. However, the mono-rail was only used 4 years because of the move to D/FW Airport in 1974. Waco, Texas briefly considered using the "Jet-Rail" for tourism, but that plan was eventually scrapped.
The "Terminal of the Future" was designed by Jack Corgan (who had designed the rest of Love Field) and was decorated by Harper and George using Girard, herman miller and Ray and Charles Eames designs.
Also in 1968, Braniff opened
the most expensive and modern "Hostess" college on Wycliff in Dallas.
The six-story building (pictured on the right) housed
three floors (each with a different "solid" colour scheme) of dormitories.
Work-out facilities, training rooms, and a beauty salon could be found
on the first two levels. The ground level, was for entertaining "guests"
and had a entertainment center, a recessed fireplace, meeting area and classrooms.
All of the colors and 56 different "herman miller" fabrics were chosen by Girard. Art was flown in from Panama and South America, and Girard also designed and provided the furniture.
Braniff trained its flight hostesses at a Love Field Hotel and The Braniff Base prior to 1968.
It was occupied
by Braniff from 1968 to 1982. It was "sold" (perhaps donated) to Dresser Industries (now part of Haliburton)
in 1982. Dresser vacated the building, and it was donated to "Daytop"
drug treatment centers. Daytop sold the building in 1997. In 1999, it opened as a highly upscale retirement home,
and was totally remodeled. Only a few items including an original Girard art piece in the stairwell, a "fabric wall" with five herman miller colours and "fireplace pit" are the only original Braniff designs left.
Ross Perot, Murphy Martin and wives of POWs
1969, Dallas Billionaire
and founder of EDS, H. Ross Perot chartered a Braniff Boeing 707-327C, N7097, and named it "Peace on Earth" to encourage the release of POWs held in North Vietnam, and to take supplies, medicine, food and gifts to POWs. The 707 was specially decorated by a red bow decal on the fuselage, and the words "Peace on Earth" in the Tinker Typefont. (Strangely, this included Vientiane, Laos on the destination manifests) Cargo Vice President Harry E. McKillop (later Staff VP, and Europe head) was involved in the Perot charters. (He now works for The Perot Group). Hostess Karen Freytag was crucial to the missions. From the BISE March 2007 Newsletter: "On Christmas Eve, Perot, Murphy Martin and F/A Karen Freytag (as interpreter) made the 330-mile hop from to Vientiane, Laos from Bangkok aboard a private plane to meet with North Vietnam Embassy Officials....Braniff Hostesses who put in long hours of service especially Karin (sic) Freytag who interpreted for Perot in French and German at various embassies."
The Perot mission (Operation Understanding, Operation Hope) failed to reach its primary objective.
The "Second" Charter was turned away, and the "third" went only to Paris
Perot's group supplied (in the 80s) Braniff's computer system through his company, EDS. The original Braniff Computer, "The Cowboy" was a mix of TWA and Eastern Airlines reservation technology.
Braniff opened The "Braniff International Airline Career Academy" to train anyone, not just future Braniff employees, on flight crew certification, reservations, cargo handling, ground operations and more.
The classes were nine weeks long and held at Braniff's Lemmon Avenue Base.
Actual Braniff equipment was used...including this 707 simulator, originally delivered to Braniff in 1962 and painted in "red, white and blue" and later painted in the "solid color" scheme. Students learned in Braniff classrooms and practiced on Braniff ground equipment at Love Field.
Braniff also provided lifetime airline career advice and job placement.
Despite the growth in Braniff properties in 1968, service began a "tailspin." According to former Braniff Ad Exec. Don Rutz, Business Executives would often arrive in Dallas, Houston or other major cities to find that no gate agent was there to greet the plane. The result, a massive exodus of clients from Braniff to other airlines. At the same time, George Lois had been running the now famous "When You Got It, Flaunt It" ad campaign that paired celebrities in Braniff seats. Customers and employees both were allegedly outraged by the campaign which resulted in more backlash. In fact, according to Mr. Rutz, many Braniff customers did not like the fact that the carrier was suddenly "bragging" when service had slipped so much. A wave of employee lay-offs followed in 1970 as a result of the noticable drop in load factors.
In search for a turn-around, Lawrence turned to the Clinton E. Frank (CEF) agency in Chicago. CEF (and Don Rutz) suggested that the carrier return to "the customer is no.1" approach instead of focusing on easter-egg colors and fancy Italian fashions. CEF outlined a 20 point program on customer service divided into three main catagories: Pre-flight, Flight and Post-Flight. Then they created the "Braniff Style" idea based on the customer's needs. (As you know, Pucci was retained as a primary designer)
Braniff's first 747 was due to be delivered in late 1970, so CEF invented the "747 Braniff Place" name and "The Most Exclusive Address in the Sky" to show the customer that travelling on "Big Orange" would be similar to staying in a fancy Hotel on Park Avenue in New York. "727 Braniff Place" was suggested as a promotional carry-thru by Lawrence. CEF agreed with the condition that "The Most Exclusive Address in the Sky" be reserved for the 747 ONLY. Therefore, the 727 fleet used the slogan "The airline look of the 70s."
CEF would turn Braniff around and make it profitable again. They held the account until 1975, when Lawrence had favoured returning to an emphasis on aircraft colours (The "Flying Colors" campaign) and Calder's flying art works. Rutz resigned the account in 1975, and followed C. Edward Acker to Air Florida.
In 1971, Braniff
introduced its first 747-127 N601BN. It was used initially for Hawaii service. It also held the distinction
of being the 100th Boeing 747 to roll off the Seattle/Renton Assembly
Line in Washington State. In March 1978, it was used on the new London, UK route,
then she was placed back into Hawaii service (but still used occasionally on the London Route) Braniff added additional 747-100 and 200s in 79 and 80. N601BN flew the last Braniff flight for Braniff "I"(May 13, 1982)
Two silver Boeing 747s were briefly leased from American Airlines.
Also in 1971 four 707-227s (Braniff Original 707) were traded
for three former British West Indies Air (BWIA) 727-78s. Aviation Historian George W. Cearley stated, "This was not an "even
exchange." "Some funds" did "change hands." The 727s were a complete mess. The engineers at Lemmon Avenue had to rebuild major parts of the aircraft including salwater corroded skin and landing gear.
The Southwest-Braniff Battle In 1971, Southwest Airlines was founded by Lamar Muse, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher. The Paint sheme for SWA's 737s came from Braniff Orange, Ochre and Red paint left over form "The End of The Plain Plane." From the beginning, Southwest went head to head against Braniff's Texas routes. They even made buttons that read "Save Love, beat Braniff." This was a thorn in Braniff's side as the three carriers lowered fares and offered incentives to fly. Ironically, Lamar Muse's daughter, Diane Muse, was working at Braniff at the time. "After I met Harding at a Cocktail Party, he appointed a permanent gaurd to watch after me!," - Diane Muse.
The rivalry reached a peak in February 1973 when Braniff lowered fares from DAL to HOU to $13.00. Southwest countered by either offering the same fare, or a bottle of Chivas Regal, Smirnoff or Crown Royal. The result, SWA won the battle...Businessmen were takling the free liquor and paying the full $26.00 fare. They could write the $26 off as a "business expense" while keeping the liquor.
After Braniff moved to D/FW in 1974, they kept a gate at Love to compete against SWA. This only lasted about six months though, and Braniff focused primarily on D/FW after 1975.
To settle the feud, Braniff "leased" a 727-227, N406BN, to Southwest in 1978. This plane was the only aircraft to carry "Southwest" in Script on both the front and a Script "S" on the tail.
Braniff leased the "Terminal of the Future" to SWA for use as Southwest's Headquarters during the 1970s and 80s.
Harding Lawrence once said, "If Southwest ever gets off the ground, there will be no stopping them." History has proved him correct. Many former Braniff employees now work for Southwest.
Also in 1972, Braniff (and Lawrence) was fined for "illegal campaign contributions" to the Nixon campaign. This is strange because Lawrence was a good friend of President Lyndon B. Johnson...so was Lawrence a Democrat or Republican?
"Among the companies fined for making illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign in 1972 were American Airlines, Goodyear, Braniff Airlines, Ashland Oil, Gulf Oil, and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing," - USA Today
In 1973, Braniff International Corporation (the seventh time Braniff was re-incorporated) was formed to include Braniff Airways Inc., Braniff Hotels (including "The Driskill" in Austin, TX), Braniff Realty
and Braniff Education Systems. (which was formally called the Braniff International Airline Career Academy)
Sept. 23, 1973, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was dedicated by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. Amon Carter International Airport, just South of D/FW, was closed a year before. Before D/FW, Love Field served Dallas and Amon Carter served Fort Worth. Braniff had flown to both airports.
Aerospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation flew in their second Concorde prototype
for the D/FW ceremonies at the request of Braniff. (The Concorde was still in testing stage
at this time, and didn't start commercial service until 1976). This was the first time
a Supersonic Aircraft had touched down on American soil. Braniff hosted all the events
including the menu back to Paris. Concorde was painted with "Air France" on the port side and "British airways" on the starboard side.
In 1974, Braniff moved into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It was the largest
air carrier at D/FW with its own terminal (2W...now term. B) and over 20 gates. (American Airlines at this time only had half a semi-circle terminal). Today, ironically, AA now occupies over half of the Terminal.
In 1975, C. Ed Acker
leaves Braniff as President, and John Casey (his brother Al Casey was President of American Airlines) was named President of Braniff. (Acker
would go on to Air Florida and then he became President of Pan Am in the 80's. After Braniff folded in 1982, Casey
joined him, at Pan Am, along with Mary Wells Lawrence, Harding Lawrence and Harry McKillop. Wells, allegedly, took credit for the billboard scheme, but actually it was AIRBUS that had proposed the scheme to Ed Acker).
In 1975, Calder
painted a 727 to commemorate the U.S. Bi-Centennial.
Also in 1975, Braniff was THE FIRST airline to offer video games inflight (Atari). This would be the forerunner of modern entertainment systems on commercial airliners.
of Braniff's "ULTRA LOOK" 727s, Dc-8s and 747s and Halston Uniforms
In 1977, Braniff
dropped Pucci for the designs of Halston, and APPLIES
A NEW PAINT SCHEME. The new color schemes included: "Mercury Blue," "Metallic Blue," "Corvette Blue," "Sparkling Burgandy," "Burgandy," Perseus Green," "Terra Cotta" and "Chocolate Brown." A new "script" logo was applied with "International" removed (except on the 747's).
Many of the "Ultra" designs were based on Girard's original paintschemes that were rejected in 1965.
Braniff also introduced one of the very first computer reservations system in 1977. Named, "The Branmatic," you could buy tickets from a Kiosk at D/FW or Houston International with a Credit Card. You could then pickup a ticket at any Braniff Ticket Desk. This was revolutionary in 1977, but is common place today.
of Braniff's New Computer Reservations System
In 1977-78, with the introduction of all-leather interiors, Braniff ran the slogan "Fly in Leather." However, since Braniff flew to many Spanish speaking countries, this had to be translated into fly "en cuero" which actually translates to "fly in the nude with Braniff." Translation mixup or cunning marketing?
Also in 1977, Harding Lawrence
wanted to re-incorporate Braniff once again. This time as "Flying Colors, Inc." Harding was shot down though because in the original Charter of the airline it stated that BRANIFF must remain in the airline's name.
1978 Braniff International inaugurated service between Portland and Hawaii in a blaze of leis and pineapples.
The daily Boeing 747 flight is the first of three new services to fill the gap left by Pan American World Airways, which pulled out of the market after 29 years of operation.
John J. Casey, vice chairman of Braniff's board of directors, announced that 30,000 reservations had already been booked for seats on the new flights, 10,000 of them at the special "Pineapple" fare of $50 one way, $99 round trip. (Braniff was the first airline to fly to Hawaii from Dallas. The Hawaii service started in 1969 with a Boeing 707-327, and later, flown by N601BN "Braniff Place" 747.)
Braniff was the FIRST U.S. airline to provide Non-Stop service to Britain from Dallas-Fort Worth. (Braniff "code-shared" a London flight from Dallas Love Field with Pan American in the 1950s using a Pan Am 707 named "Texas Clipper.")
Braniff made headlines when the government deregulated the airline industry in the same year. B.I. increased its domestic route system by 50%. It added 32 new routes to 16 new cities. The cities they added were:
- West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Orlando, Fla.
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Philadelphia, PA.
- Pitsburgh, PA.
- Boston, Mass (with 747 service to Europe)
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Milwaukee, WI.
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Sacramento, CA.
- Oakland, CA.
- San Francisco, CA.
- Los Angeles, CA.
- Phoenix, AZ.
- Tucson, AZ.
Braniff also expanded its International plans and made L.A. and Boston additional hubs to feed the Pacific and Atlantic destinations.
The Boston Hub would use 747s to London and Europe. However, most people at Braniff say that the "Boston Gateway" was a complete flop, and that the planes from Boston flew mostly empty.
Also in 1978, Braniff moved
into a sprawling 446,000 sq. ft "country club" headquarters on the West
side of D/FW Airport. Named "Braniff Place," the four low rise buildings
were inter-connected with a hotel (used by employees, pilots and hostesses), golf course, tennis
courts and aquatic center, reservations centre, dining rooms and training facilities. State-of-the-art Flight Simulators for the Boeing 747 and 727 were built. (These remained in Braniff hands when the original Braniff changed its name to "Dalfort" in 1984. Lawrence also had a specially built "apartment" connected to the main boardroom. Lawrence's private "villa," in the new headquarters, had Italian Marble floors and a full hot-tub/spa (which the D/FW board filled in with concrete after 1982). A member from the D/FW Board told us that "there was close to a million dollars worth of furnishings and appointments in Harding's apartment alone." According to a private body gaurd of Lawrence, "Parties were held every night" She also told us that she often warned Harding, who was sleeping with hostesses, that Mary was "on the way up." One time, Harding even asked Miss "LL" to "scuba dive" in his private pool to look for cracks. He bought the scuba gear. He also paid her $50 an hour to "gaurd" his Polarbearskin rug prior to him moving in. "Braniff Place" also had a flagpole for every Braniff country served. Despite the cost, employees loved the new spacious and semi-open-air headquarters. Calder paintings graced the walls. (Braniff II briefly leased part of "Braniff Place" in 1983, and then the entire building was leased to GTE in the mid 80s.) GTE changed its name to "Verizon," and now Braniff Place is "Verizon Place."
Also in 1979, Braniff announced
service to Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels using N611BN, a 747-200, and several leased 747-100 and 200s. Also, Braniff took delivery of two Boeing 747SPs (Special Performance) in 1979. The 747SPs were used on D/FW - Los Angeles to Hong Kong flights. In 1980, Singapore and Korea were added. The SP was used on and off to South America as well, but not as often as some historians have written.
The Asia routes flew a 97% load factor (on average), and were profitable. However, the Lawrence posse made it look like that Braniff was "losing money" on these routes. In fact, the profits were being siphoned. (Many Braniff execs still believe these routes were a flop, when they weren't)
Interesting fact: According to the October 1979 "Flying Colors" Braniff magazine, Braniff had originally ordered the 747sp to fly between Dallas and Houston to Bahrain, U.A.E. This would have been the "oil route." They also received approval to fly to Tokyo. These routes never transpired.
The Braniff SP had 24 First Class seats and 269 "economy." An Upper Deck Lounge could seat eleven. The plane's range was 7,200 miles non-stop fully loaded. Braniff ordered 4 of these in total. N603BN, N604BN, N606BN and N608BN. (N608BN was never delivered)
By the end of 1979, Braniff was operating 8 747s, close to 100 727s and a large fleet of DC-8s. Braniff was flying to 81 destinations worldwide. Braniff stated in it's Fall "B-Liner": "Braniff flies to more international destinations than TWA, has more jets than Air France, National or Northwest, carries more passengers than Pan Am, Lufthansa, Northwest & others, is one of the TOP 10 airlines in the free world."
In 1980, Braniff
was feeling its overexpansion. The carrier stoped Concorde service in June, and the "BI" colour scheme in NEVER applied.
747s were returned or not delivered, and Braniff stopped delivery of new 727s that were sitting in Seattle.
The Braniff Board clearly saw that the company was too deep in dept. Harding Lawrence was ousted for financial troubles. Although Braniff was flew Harding and his wife to Acapulco First Class on Braniff where he stayed at "The Private Braniff Villa" on Braniff's money.
John J. Casey was named Chairman/President. His Brother, Albert Casey, was (at the time) President of Rival American Airlines.
In an attempt to "win" back customers affected by perceived "bad service" as a result from over-expansion, Braniff rolled out "The Braniff Promise" ad campaign.
In 1981, Howard
Putnam, Southwest Airlines (SWA) President, was asked by then Braniff Chairman and President John Casey at JoJo's (restaurant) in North Dallas to "save" Braniff. Putnam agreed, and was announced as President and CEO in the Fall of 1981. Putnam brought over Phillip Guthrie from Southwest to serve as Braniff's new Chief Financial Officer. Casey remained as Chairman.
One of the first things Putnam did (according to him) was to "liquidate" non-essential Braniff-owned properties around the world. This included the "Executive Acapulco Villa," a large "flat" in London, executive homes in Europe and 500 acres of land in Colombia (that "was NOT being used for coffee")
Putnam tried to model his Braniff after his "alma-mater," Southwest Airlines, making it an all-one-class coach carrier. He eliminated First Class on all Braniff aircraft. The public didn't like it. They were used to First Class treatment on Braniff, so this move made things worse for the already debt-ridden carrier. In early 1982, First Class was re-established on some flights and dubbed "Texas Class," but it was too little too late.
Putnam meant well, (and unfortunately was blamed for Braniff's shut-down by many Braniff Employees) The reality was Putnam was simply unprepared for "The Braniff Client." In 1981, Putnam dedicated a Boeing 727-227 to "The Dallas Cowboys." N457BN, A Blue "Ultra" Scheme 727 was painted with "Dallas Cowboys" on the nose, and the Cowboys helmet on the tail. The "Cowboys" had used Braniff all through the 70s to fly to "away" games.
Funny Story: The Dallas Cowboys considered their Dark Blue Jerseys as "bad luck." The Cowboys plane was used for only two Cowboys away games. They lost both games, and so their was talk that Braniff would have to re-paint N457BN in another color because the Cowboys thought it was "jinxed." The re-paint never happened because of the May shut-down.
In March 1982, C. Ed
Acker of Pan American World Airways (former Braniff Board Member and President) "graciously" agreed to take Braniff's South American route system off their hands. This was not approved, so Eastern Airlines (now also gone) took over the South American routes, before Braniff's shutdown. (It is alleged that Braniff had to get rid of South America to make way for the change to F.B.O. ops which was originally worked with PSA but later with Jay Pritzker)
of Braniff's Parked Planes at D/FW after it ceased flying in 1982
In 1982, Braniff
shut its doors on May 12th, the result is shock for the aviation industry,
passengers and the 10,695 employees (data from the Bureau of Transportation 1981) of BI. (Braniff had 15,234 employees in 1979). All planes were recalled to D/FW,
leaving an unreal scene at Dallas/Fort Worth's Terminal 2W, "The Braniff Terminal." (Now Terminal "B") The last flight arrived the next day...N601BN "747 Braniff Place" returning from Hawaii. (Dispatch had radioed for 601 to return to base when it was over California. The Captain decided to disregard this order as he felt that the passengers deserved "what they paid for.") Braniff's colorful 727 fleet sat idle at "The Braniff Terminal" with "747 Braniff Place" and one remaining 747SP. All of Braniff's DC-8s were put into storage at Braniff's Love Field Base. The remaining 747-200, N602BN was sold. A small group of employees were kept on to maintain the companies assets.
During the Bankruptcy
hearings, a former Chief Financial Officer, Ted Beckwith is mysteriously
murdered. No suspects were found. SPECULATION: Some people believe he was going to
come clean and reveal the
"real" financial records to Judge John Flowers during the hearings. (According to Mr. Putnam, Braniff was "cooking the books" big time when he took over in 1981...including the siphoning of Asian cash)
Many attempts were made to get Braniff flying again over the next two years. Deals to make BI a Fixed Base Operator or a deal with PSA to use some Braniff equipment and employees fell through. In 1983, Braniff sold about 30 of its 727s to American Airlines, returned "747 Braniff Place" to the leasing company Braniff had sold it to a few years earlier, and dispersed it's entire DC-8 fleet. N601BN "747 Braniff Place" made its last flight in Braniff Colors in June 1983 from D/FW to New York. Only five Braniff employees were on-hand to toast the flagship's departure with Champagne. It would go on to fly for "Tower Air" and broken-up, 10 years later, in 1993. The remaining 747SP, N606BN, was sold to Pan American World Airways (where former Braniff President Ed Acker was commanding, and Mary Wells-Lawrence was doing Pan Am's marketing). N606BN became "Clipper America." Today it flies for the Government of Oman.
The combination of doubling the company size, expanding into Europe and Asia, the building of a multi-million dollar new headquarters, rising fuel costs, not repaying debts during Lawrence's tenure and "executive compensation" would eventually lead to Braniff's shutdown in 1982..that takes us to "1984."
Creator of over 17,000 + new items for Braniff
Photo via George W. Cearley, Jr. and Pat Zahrt
"El Presidente", Harding L. Lawrence President (and later Chairman) 1965-1980?
Lawrence was asked to resign in 1980 due to debt
BUT, he and Mary Wells-Lawrence flew First Class on Braniff to the "Braniff Villa"
in Acapulco, Mexico after he was "made redundant."
Many think he still ran things "behind the scenes."
Photo taken by "Martha Leonard" Pat Zahrt
"B-Liner" editor 1946-1973
solid colour "Lemon Yellow" paint scheme
N7073, Boeing 707-227
designed by Girard
Parked at Braniff's Dallas Love Field Base
Pucci's First design for Braniff
Outfit included "Space Bubble"
to protect Hostesses from the rain
(There were few "Jet Bridges" in 1965)
These proved unpractical, and were
not issued after 1965.
Pucci's Serving Wardrobe 1965
"Pucci III" designed by Emilio Pucci.
Pucci goes simple with a solid pink or plum dress
and matching coat. To compliment the uniform, a "Vivra" yellow scarf is designed.
1968 was the first year hostesses did not have to wear hats
This picture is from the 1970 "747 Braniff Place" Brochure
herman miller seats in a Braniff 707-227.
You can still buy many of Girard's fabrics from
New York firm Maharam...who applies the fabrics to pillows
The above "Orange/Crimson Stripe" fabric is also available
Photo via Braniff archives.
"new ticket counter look"
Photo via George Cearley and Phyllis Lane.
"new gate look" with herman miller seats.
Photo via Braniff archives.
Braniff "JellyBean 707s"
Posing at the end of the "Yellow Terminal"
at Dallas Love Field.
(note: Lavender 707 and N9707C Electra in background)
Photo via UTD and George W. Cearley, Jr.
Hostesses in Pucci with Girard-designed tractor
Taken at Dallas Love Field
Ex-"Pangara" DC-8 in "Transition Colours" Braniff put Pangara's "8s" into service without a full respray
Braniff 727-027QC N7271 Braniff put this plane on the ATL/MAC Charters to the Canal Zone from Charleston AFB
It later flew MAC flights to Greenland, Iceland and Germany from McQuire AFB
It is pictured at Dallas Love Field in 1967-68
Braniff Electra N9707C at Dallas
This plane exploded on May 3, 1968 enroute from Houston to Dallas Love Field.
The REAL cause of the crash is still being investigated.
Highly Fragmented wreckage of Braniff Electra N9707C in Dawson
"Interesting" substances were found in and around crash scene.
Braniff Electra N9706C.
This plane made the Dallas-Houston flight for N9707C on May 3, 1968
07C had been at Lackland AFB that morning, and was unavailable.
allegedly, N9706C was ferried back to Dallas as N9707C took the fatal 352 flight.
Captain Wendell Stephens piloted this aircraft out of DAL as 352 after the original 352 crashed.
He was also, interestingly, supposed to pilot 07C out of Houston, but Phillips
was substituted at the last minute.
Braniff Electra N9709C.
This plane was in the same airspace as N9707C when it exploded on May 3, 1968
Captain C.H. Rosendahl was piloting, and witnessed the explosion in clear air.
N9709C was painted in this solid color "red." (N9707C was still in the "Beard" Sceme")
Pictured here in 1968 at Houston Hobby at about the same gate Flight 352 left from on May 3rd.
Today, this terminal has been replaced by a glass walkway to Southwest Airlines' new terminal.
Braniff "Terminal of the Future" 1968-1972 Dallas Love Field
With Jet Rail service and a "rotunda" concourse
Alexander Girard designed Upper Lobby Featured art displays from South America and pictures of nine multi-coloured aircraft Braniff's "Terminal of the Future" 1968-1974 Dallas Love Field
Alexander Girard designed Club Lounge Braniff's "Terminal of the Future" 1968-1972 Dallas Love Field
Photo from 1965 Braniff Annual Report
BI Hostess college..."where we train our pretty girls"
Menu cover from one of Braniff's first Dallas-Hawaii flights
Braniff started the Hawaii route in 1969 with an Orange Boeing 707-327C
In 1971, the Hawaii route was taken over by a 747-100.
Host and Hostess Class of 1974
Picture taken in front of the "Girard Dove"
at the "Braniff Hostess College."
By 1973, Braniff had begun hiring male flight attendants
The Braniff "JET-RAIL" A mono-rail to Braniff's Terminal At Love Field Dallas, Texas
Poster showing the way to the Jetrail
and Dallas and Fort Worth
Click on "Jetrail" in the text for more pictures.
Perot's Charter 707-327C
The tours were named Operation Understanding
(Later named "Peace on Earth")
The red bow was used for photo ops and removed before the mission
Created by Braniff's own Chef's in the early 70s The "BRANWICH" was a big hit So much so, that a recipe appeared in The First issue of "Braniff Place Magazine in 1972
Photo from 1972 "Braniff Place" Magazine
Ad created at the same time as "When You got it Flaunt It"
Braniff Pages Collection
"When You Got it, Flaunt it" Created in 1968 by George Lois Other ads featured Playboy "Bunnies," Lottery Winners, and other rich and famous. The campaign actually drove Braniff's customer base away, allegedly Many were outraged that Braniff was "bragging." Also, Braniff's core target market didn't relate to the Hollywood types.
Actual Load Factors:
In a bit of irony, many advertising schools and history books
consider this campaign successful
"747 Braniff Place"
Upper Deck "International Lounge"
With Panamanian Artwork
"747 Braniff Place"
on her home turf...D/FW, Texas
Hostess in "Pucci IV"
Inside "747 Braniff Place" engine
Braniff In-Flight Magazine
Via Andrew Stiffler
Girard Hostess "Dove" Wings In 1971,
Pucci suggested that the famous hostess wings be offered as an optional necklace. Pucci believed the Dove necklace added to the Pucci IV uniform.
The standard "badge" version was still kept in use.
Southwest Airlines ad 1973 Braniff lowered fares to $13 one way in an attempt to close down SWA It didn't work obviously
"727 Braniff Place" In 1972,
Braniff repainted its 727's in four "two-tone" colors and redesigned its interiors with Orange and Pink fabric and Orange walls.
The slogan was: "The airline look of the 70s"
"727 Braniff Place" Close-up of "Two-Tone" 727 Tail
of D/FW Airport at its opening in 1974
(Note that Braniff is the only airline to have its own semi-circle
B. Watts Collection
Alexander Calder's "Flying Colors of The United States" 727 Flying with N435BN, 727-227 in "Red/Aztec Gold" Scheme Calder painted this in 1975 as a tribute to The Bi-Centennial.
The plane remained in these colours until 1982
(See The "Calder" Page for more details)
Braniff's "Dallas Cowboys" 727
Ultra "Mercury" Blue N457BN S/N 21463
Photo via Elizabeth Sheppard and Howard Putnam
Boeing 727-027 in 1982
Showing the signs of utter neglect
Paint is peeling and Engine nacelle is hanging open on a revenue flight
Utter useless "New" sticker applied two weeks before shutdown
Photo via Jordan Airliner Photos
June 1982 Texas Monthly
Article blames Harding Lawrence for Braniff's death
But, the article is only half-true...
Many other "people" and factors also contributed to the shutdown.
"The Braniff Terminal" June 1982
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Sadly, no departures
photos and info on this page are provided by: Martha Leonard Pat Zahrt, George W. Cearley, Jr., The Dallas Hist.
Society, UTD-Larry Sall, Lockheed/Martin, Joe Mitchell, John North, The "Clipped B's", John Paul Braniff, Sr., Dick Jordan,
Irma Ellis, Howard Putnam, John McFarlane, Wanda Brown, Diane Muse, C.R. Smith,
Chuck Beard, Marv and Carol Degroote, Forrest Tohill, John Keller, Bill Smith, Geneva Baird,
Fran Becker, R.T. Simpson, Rupert Hoenig, Andrew Stiffler, Carlos Yudica and W.C.'s Braniff Collection.
General Rumsey's Bio Courtesy The United States Air Force