Braniff Air Lines was founded by Oklahoma City insurance man Tom Braniff and several other partners, including his brother Paul. Adventurous Paul had served in the 16th Aero Squadron during World War I participated in cross-country air races and purchased a Stinson “Detroiter”. Charles Lindbergh made his historic trans-Atlantic solo flight which sparked the Braniff brothers’ commercial aviation venture.
June 20 – Paul Braniff piloted Braniff’s first flight, 116 miles non-stop from Oklahoma City to Tulsa in the “Detroiter” with five passengers. Enroute over Arcadia, Oklahoma, the aircraft was fired upon by moonshiners who thought that there were government agents on board. The flight ended safely and Braniff Air Lines was in business with three daily round trips between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
On November 23, 1917, an Army Air Corps Major flew a biplane off a Dallas cotton patch. The City of Dallas bought the “patch” in 1928 for $325,000 and named it Love Field in honor of Cavalry Lt. Moss Love, who began flying in Texas in May of 1913. Four months later, he was killed flying in San Diego. The first terminal was completed in 1929 at the northwest corner of the field and it wasn’t until 1932 that there were paved runways.
November – Braniff Airlines became Braniff Airways, Inc. A clause in the incorporation papers stated that as long as an airline operation was maintained, it must keep the name of Braniff . On the 5th of December Braniff began scheduled service from Tulsa to Kansas City.
Early in 1931 service was extended to Chicago.
Later in 1931 St. Louis was brought into the Braniff system with schedules from Kansas City and Chicago.
This year Braniff had two accidents. On July 12 a Lockheed Vega, NC8497, flying between Chicago – Detroit had engine failure on takeoff. The plane crashed from a height of 700 feet. The pilot tried to return to the airport by banking to the right but did not have sufficient altitude to recover, crashed in Chicago. Pilot Chet Bailes and one passenger perished. On December 5, a Lockheed Vega 5, NC433E crashed in Kewanee, Illinois attempting to land at an alternate airfield in a sleet storm. The plane struck the roof of a barn adjacent to the airfield and was destroyed. Icing. Two passengers died, the Pilot Jack Ayers survived along with five – three passengers.
First mail flight was flown Chicago-Kansas City on May 8.
First passenger flight Kansas City-Tulsa May 31.
Airmail service was inaugurated June 15.
On December 8 a Lockheed 5C “Vega” crashed in Columbia, Missouri. No further information available.
Acquiring Long & Harmon’s Texas operations on January 1, Braniff extended its service to encompass cities in Texas; thus Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Brownsville were added to the system.
Early in 1935, the first of a fleet of seven Lockheed Electras were flown from Los Angeles to Dallas by Chief Pilot Ray Shrader. By June 1935 Electras were on all Braniff schedules.
Mid-June 1935 Braniff supplemented Lockheed Electras with a fleet of Douglas Transports. Powered with Wright Cyclone engines, the Douglas fleet was put into operation on Braniff’s through schedules from Chicago to Brownsville. “From the Great Lakes to the Gulf” was put on the flight schedules.
On November 9, a Lockheed 5C “Vega” lost control over Fort Worth and crashed into the present downtown area. Pilot Cliff Maus perished, but his name lived on as the official name of Corpus Christi Airport.
By January 1 Braniff had a fleet of seven Lockheed Electras, four Lockheed Vegas, two Ford Tri-motors and one Stinson Reliant used for training.
On December 23, a Lockheed 10 “Electra” made a crash landing at Love Field. At the controls were Donald Walbridge, an Operations Manager and Sterling Perry of Maintenance.
On June 1, ten out of 800 applicants were selected to be the first flight attendants on Braniff. They were called ‘hostesses’ because the term implied warm, gracious hospitality. After a brief training period, six of them first flew on June 12 from DAL to BRO and DAL to MKC.
Requirements: female, must have at least two years of college, a speaking knowledge of Spanish, ability to interact well with the public, a pleasing personality, neat appearance, be aged 21-26, five-feet to five-feet four inches tall, 110-118 pounds and unmarried. (Wouldn’t the present day EEOC have a field day with this!)
In July DC-2’s were first put into service.
Bobbie Burton Turnbull (Virgil’s wife) was named Chief Hostess.
Willie Peck and Rebecca Garza earned their wings in the first Hostess classes. Later, Willie became the second Chief Hostess. Their uniform was of a modified Mexican style, and consisted of a bolero-type jacket and skirt of silver grey wool worsted, worn with a high-necked white silk jersey blouse, a vivid red sash and a softly-draped red wool crepe turban. The skirt was midi and modest, and was designed by Neiman Marcus.
In June, Braniff celebrated its tenth anniversary operating a passenger, mail and express service connecting Chicago, Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Corpus Christi and Brownsville.
During 1938, Braniff finished placing Douglas DC-2 equipment on all through schedules on its “Great Lakes to the Gulf” routes.
The original uniform continued to be a grey wool bolero type suit; the new white cotton blouse was tailored with a natty blue bow tie and a matching cumberbund. The turban was replaced with a blue overseas cap.
In June Braniff marked its 11th anniversary with special dedication ceremonies held at Chicago, Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Houston and San Antonio. In these cities, some of the Braniff DC-2 Liners were dedicated to heroes of the five states Braniff served – at Chicago, “B-Liner Abraham Lincoln”, and at Kansas City, “Mark Twain”, after Missouri’s revered sage.
On August 29 Braniff ordered its first DC-3. It was known as ‘The Giant Ship with Luxuries” and carried 21 passengers with a crew of three at a speed of 180 MPH.
A DC-2 crashed at Oklahoma City with Captain Claude Seaton and F/O Malcolm Wallace at the controls. They survived, but Hostess Louise Zarr did not.
B-Liners flew a combined total of almost 12,000 miles daily to Chicago through the Texas system.
Em Barnhill Smith, Maxine Keir Roper, Kay Owens Coleman, Dorothy Brindley Richards, Mary LeVec Newcomer and Anne Simrall Bass became Hostesses in Dallas.
Maxine Roper and Dorothy Richards later became Chief Hostesses.
March 23 Braniff ordered four additional 21 passenger DC-3 planes to augment Dallas-Kansas City-Chicago routes.
Braniff offered service to Ponca City on June 1.
By July 1 all of Braniff’s 30 daily flights were operated with 21-passenger Douglas DC-3’s and 14 passenger DC-2’s.
On October 6 Dallas-Love Field Airport opened on the east side of the present airport.
November 1 Amarillo-Oklahoma City service was inaugurated.
From 1940 to 1945 more than 50 percent of the Braniff fleet was turned over to the United States Government for use in the war effort. Braniff grew rapidly after World War II, employing more than 1,300 people. During this period Tom Braniff developed a keen interest in the Caribbean and Latin America.
By April Braniff was operating 40 flights and flying 15,675 miles daily.
Braniff dedicated a new Operations base at Dallas Love Field on June 12.
Betty Bright Madole joined BNF as a Hostess.
Braniff Airways, Inc. moved its headquarters from Oklahoma City to Dallas Love Field.
Shirley Karnes Johnson (SAT) earned her wings. Mid-Continent appointed its first Chief Hostess, Eleanor Knowles.
Hostesses hired this year wore a tan gabardine tailored two-piece suit with brown felt hat and white blouse. Skirts were scandalously short and barely covered the knee. Trim brown pumps with matching gloves and bag completed the ensemble.
Effective June 1, new schedules consisted of two daily round trip flights between Chicago
and Dallas via Kansas City, Wichita, and Oklahoma City – the second flight was routed
to Brownsville, Texas, via Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.
In December, Mr. Braniff commented on the outlook of air transportation for 1943 at a meeting
of the B-Line Club in Kansas City saying “the importance of the airplane as an instrument of
national and international influence cannot be overlooked”.
Betty Gordon Halloran (MSP), Kitty Burge Wilson, Jean Smith Snodgrass, and Mary Deines Holland began flying for the B-Line and Mid-Continent.
In September, Chicago and Kansas City were provided with direct service to Laredo
via Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, with
connections in Laredo to Mexico.
In September Braniff files with CAB for South American routes.
During this year Braniff employed 1,3OO people and flew 13,OOO route miles daily.
Betty Warner Linehan,Candy Newhouse Lehrer, Laurel Thurston Bessesen (MSP), Helen Dierker Holstead, Jean Fraser-Mergendollar Foree and Betty Hendrix Duncan joined BNF and Mid-Continent.
In June, Army Air Force officials and the CAB allocated additional aircraft to Braniff which
improved air service to Kansas City. Schedules in both directions to Kansas City were
increased from four to five daily.
In November the CAB added 478 route miles to the Braniff system creating new air
service from the northwest to the southwest between Denver and Memphis. Extension was
granted from Oklahoma City to Memphis via Tulsa, Muskogee, Fort Smith and Little Rock.
Billie Bingley Palmer, Peggy Howard Nadolski, Jean Pieper Oliver, Annabel Schiesher Marsh, Elvera Anderson Williamson (HOU), Mary Lou Mulkey Brown, Ruth Ann Hunn Gray, B. J. Harder Fain, Jean Tucker Lundell (MKC), Jane Rhinehart Freeland and Mary Jo Mayfield Phillips donned their gold wings this year.
On July 1 daily round trip service to Chicago via Oklahoma City, Wichita, and Kansas
City was added, making seven flights daily from Dallas to Chicago.
On September 20 Tulsa, Little Rock and Memphis service was started.
On October 30 the first air freight program, without mileage restriction, was put into operation
by Braniff and provided service to all 32 cities on the Braniff system. This was one of many
On November 6 two DC-4 planes were delivered to Braniff, the first of five on order. At last
we have four engine airplanes.
In November, a reflection of rapid peacetime expansion of Braniff showed a 25% increase in
personnel with 1,500 employees – largest in company history.
Eve Skow Henger, Jacquie Copeland Coen (MKC), Nancy Abel Spence, Virginia Dealy
Alexander, Kathy Hinkle Seymour, Nina Simpson Coffin (MKC), Mary McDonald Price,
Kathleen Palmer Oakley, Fran Russell Medlin, Beth Renfro Ingram (MKC), Mary Moffett, Lucy
Bryn Benoit, Mary Gozzaldi Lacy, Fran Culwell Jamieson, Lar Lu Douglas Haden, Don Curry,
June Cameron Ballard, Ann Padgett Reaves, Barbara Casteen Needham (MKC), Mary McGee
Strom, Pat Barton Sweitzer and Penny Vachta Teeter started flying.
The first summer uniforms were designed by Jeanne Braniff. It was a two-piece brown and white striped seersucker outfit, worn with a white blouse and “Halo-type” hat. Brown and white spectator shoes and a brown handbag completed the cool uniform.
The first class of male Cabin Attendants, called Pursers, were hired in 1946. They were assigned to the DC-4’s to work with a female Hostess. The first class consisted of Marvin Goodman, Robert Ewing, Don Curry, Rex Sallis, Charles Craft, Robert Phillips, John Herron, Billy Roberts and Dudley Sullivan. Their uniforms were Braniff Blue andmatched the pilot uniforms, except that they wore no stripes on their sleeves. After the
Latin American flights began, nationals from those countries were hired for International flights. The last domestic Pursers flew until 1952.
In May Kansas City became headquarters of Braniff Airways northern division.
Daily round trip air service on Braniff’s new four-engine DC-4 planes was inaugurated
May 5 between San Antonio, Dallas, Kansas City and Chicago. These aircraft required
that two hostesses serve the cabin.
In May, the Civil Aeronautics Board granted Braniff one-carrier air service between Dallas
and Mexico, Cuba, the Panama Canal Zone and South America, a total of 7,719 international
route miles. Houston became an international gateway with San Antonio and Laredo being
named co-terminals for the routes to Mexico.
On June 15 daily DC-4 passenger flights between Chicago and Houston via Kansas City and
Dallas were inaugurated.
On June 25, Braniff announced the purchase of six DC-6 aircraft, for a total of twenty-three
airliners at a cost of ten million dollars! The DC-6 was the first pressurized aircraft on the
On November 23, Kansas City started non-stop DC-4 service to Oklahoma City and one-stop
flights to Houston and San Antonio.
On December 1, the first non-stop flight between Chicago and Dallas was inaugurated.
Dolores Brungardt Olson, Lorraine Mulligan Ward (MKC), Laura Pare Wiedenmann (MKC), Jean St. John Larrabee, Helena Rogers Houston (MKC),Beverly Brown Godwin, Rosie Wissman Musick (MKC) and Clarence Braun set their eyes on the skies.
The same seersucker uniform was worn as in 1946 except an overseas hat was added.
In April,Braniff was certified to use the ILS (instrument landing system) with a 300 foot ceiling
minimum, and was the first commercial airline in the U.S. to do so.
August 25 brought delivery of Braniff’s first DC-6 with its’ pressurized cabin.
On November 5, Braniff began daily round trip schedules using DC-6 aircraft between
Dallas and Chicago.
Joining our ranks this year were June Mullen Brosnahan (MKC), Fran Gordon Brown (MKC), Bobbi Guillot Groves (MKC), Mellicent Hansen Lepinski (MKC), June Hoagland Benson (LAX) and Bobbie Menefee Jackson (DAL).
Once again our uniforms changed to a grey gabardine suit with a stitched grey belt on the skirt. The blouse was a white “Joan Kenley” style blouse. A nice touch was the grey and navy blue grosgrain ribbon snap tie, also used to trim the navy blue straw hat in Scotch fashion. Other accessories were navy and white spectators with navy bag.
Putting his own money into developing a communications and navigation system across
South America, Tom Braniff realized his dream of becoming an international carrier.
On June 4, Braniff made Houston -Lima inaugural flight. It was named “El Conquistador”.
Braniff passed its billionth passenger mile mark on August 27.
On September 4 International air parcel post was inaugurated.
Evelyn O’Laughlin Oberhelman, Pat Steinberg Bourk (MKC), Janice Woodbury Heller (MKC), Kitty McHaffie Jackson, Maria Montgomery Hewitt (MKC), Mary Lou Hagen Immenschuh (MKC), Jane Steinhorst Anderson, Jan Laine Pochmann, Harriett Kampfe
Kokje (MKC), Nita Tardy Rowan, Betty Hogan Trave (MKC), Jane Olson Fuller (MSP), V. J. Lynes Keywan (LAX) and Joan Donaldson Watkins joined the Hostess ranks.
January 31, Braniff inaugurated service to La Paz, Bolivia after building its own terminal and
navigational facilities at the worlds highest airport, El Alto, at 14,000 feet. On June 3, the first
scheduled DC-4 service began into La Paz, Bolivia with the first JATO (jet assisted takeoff)
On March 9. Braniff inaugurated service to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was the first non-stop
service between Lima and Rio and flying over the majestic Copacabana Beach and Sugar Loaf
mountain was a thrill.
On June 20 the company marked its 21st birthday with the greatest monthly revenue
earned by the company in its history! Compared to May ten years ago, it was a 1031%
increase in dollars earned for the airline.
Do you remember how many Christmas functions we had at Braniff in those days? In December,
we put on a great program chartering a DC-6 to fly to every international station in our system.
Santa, his helpers, and an airplane load of gifts for children left Chicago (CHI) stopping at
Houston (HOU) to clear Customs and then on to Havana (HAV). The terminal was decorated
especially for the occasion with hundreds of poinsettias and hibiscus. After stops at Panama
City (PTY), Guayaquil (GYE), Lima (LIM), and La Paz (LPB), they ended the Santa Special
in RIO. Every Braniff child on the International division was treated to a visit with
Santa and a gift. The next week the charter flew the domestic run for the kids.
Earning their wings this year are Pat Hicks Clay, Lou Laursen Byers (HOU), Eddie LaFontaine Webster (MSP), Norma Tardy Graves, Marcy Grimmonpre Curren (MKC), Mary Lou Sherlock Gwynn, Carol Kraft Flynn (MKC), Joan Stevenson Madigan., Dona Daniel Martinez, Wanda Dorrel Shrock (MKC), Dorothy Dendinger McIlhaney, Virginia White Skelton and Charline Jones Sorrels.
February – Braniff made the first industry travelogue film, prepared by James A. Fitzpatrick.
On March 6, Braniff inaugurated flights to Asuncion, Paraguay from Lima, Peru.
On March 24 Braniff opened the Sao Paulo office in Brazil.
In March Braniff inaugurated the fastest service from Chicago to Houston – 4 hours and
20 minutes, with Kansas City the intermediate stop on Braniff’s new sleeper service.
May 29 – new service to Buenos Aires was inaugurated. The 2,445 mile flight between
Lima and Buenos Aires was non stop and offered the passengers a majestic view of
Mt. Aconcagua, the highest point in South America.
On December 20 Braniff ordered three new DC-6 aircraft to make a total of 9.
Gold wings were pinned on Brooksie Carnes Agnich, Barbi Bittel Brown, Noreen Quinlan Denny (MKC), Jackee Gibson Epsten (MKC), Marie Fischer, Joanne Felts Fisher (MKC), Barbara Surman Gagliardo, Nadine Strang Hardin, Helen Lynch, D.J. Evans Moody, Peggy Stinnett Fisher and Peggy Willis.
The Braniff winter uniform changed from grey to “Braniff Blue” with matching overseas hats piped in red. The topcoat was lined in red and was designed by Neiman-Marcus.
In 1951 Virginia Cook, Senior Hostess at Mid-Continent had flown more than one million
miles since earning her wings in 1945.
On March 6, Braniff ordered $12,000,000 worth of new Convair 340 aircraft from Consolidated
Vultee Aircraft. These aircraft were equipped with their own stairs, which facilitated the
deplaning process. However, lots of agents learned the hard way to stay out of the way.
On July 21, Braniff flew a planeload of sponges to Kansas City as the flood beleaguered
citizenry began to mop up after a history-making flood.
On August 1, Braniff earned a record $944,000 during the first six months.
On August 3, Braniff inaugurated Latin American service via the Miami, Florida gateway.
On October 12, service was inaugurated to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
December 1 saw the beginning of the Braniff-Eastern 1,800 mile interchange flight between
Miami and Denver, Colo. Eastern originated the flight in Miami and Braniff took over in
Taking their first flights this year were Helen Hopkins Adair, Reba Jay Bradbury, Diddy Schroeder Ellis, Flo Roe Gibson, Marianne Snyder Gwinn, Claire Nigro Mahaffey (HOU), Ruth Marie Henninger Iverson, Dottie Elmore Kidd, Pat Brown Kimm, Ann McClain Morton, Juli Peveto Ross, Mary Jane Rutherford Sanders, Charlotte Kiper Sheffield and Terry Labus Wilcox.
We looked spiffy in our summer navy sharkskin two piece suit, a white blouse and navy and white spectators. The navy hat was trimmed in white and the bag was navy. Philipson’s in downtown Dallas carried these uniforms.
On January 25 the Braniff/Mid-Continent merger proposal was placed before the Civil
Aeronautics Board. Mid-Continent Airlines’ predecessor company, Hanford’s Tri-State
Airlines, began as a small flying school in Sioux City, Iowa by aviation pioneer Arthur
On March 26 a DC-4 lost a right-hand engine due to fire and belly-flopped to a landing in a small airfield near Hugoton, KS. The DAL based crew of Capt. Jack Stanford, F/O John Beakley and Hostesses Dorothy Currey and Betty Murphy were able to evacuate all passengers safely.
At the time of the merger with Braniff, Mid-Continent was operating a fleet of 23 Douglas
DC-3’s and three Convair 240’s over its routes which extended from Minneapolis/St. Paul
and the Dakotas on the north to the southern terminals of Houston and New Orleans.
Fran Catron, Aggie Gloyna Clarke, Carolyn Chancellor Cotten, Nancy Martin Crinnion, Jean Soper Douglas (DEN), Nancy Cook Grieve, Millie Jones Mauldin, Lorna Smith and Ticki Bordelon West began their flying careers.
On June 20, Braniff Airways was 25 years old and the only major scheduled U.S. airline
to retain one management during its entire history, and to bear the name of its founder and
On July 13 the CAB approved an interchange agreement between Braniff and United Airlines
for DC-6 service between Houston, Texas and Seattle, Washington (via Dallas, Denver, Salt
Lake City, Boise and Portland) with Denver as the interchange point.
On November 2, Braniff inaugurated DC-6 tourist flights twice weekly to Buenos Aires,
and also provided the first DC-6 service by any carrier to La Paz, Bolivia and Asuncion.
On December 1, the first direct coach service began between Dallas and Chicago, via OKC,
ICT and MKC with Convair 340 aircraft.
Completing flight training were Sue Bynum Bowen, Harriett Monroe Francis, Beverly Sheffield Halt, Marian Jones Hope, Emmy Pattee Roach (MKC), Cheri Tucker McCune, Gwen Hays Mills, Carol Ann Morrison, Avionne Jennings Ribelin and Laura Taylor.
In January Tom Braniff’s private plane crashed near Shreveport, Louisiana en route from a
duck hunting trip. He was the only one on board to perish. Mrs. Braniff died eight months later
and their only son was killed in a private plane crash in Oklahoma at the age of 20. Their only
daughter died giving birth to a child who also died.
Paul Braniff died of bone cancer after an eight month illness. He left a wife, one son, two
brothers and two sisters.
On January 18, Braniff employees were called to a special meeting at the Dallas base from
throughout the system as President Charles Beard, Executive Vice President J.W. Miller and
Treasurer C. G. Adams pledged that management would carry on with sound policies established
by the late president and company founder, T. E. Braniff.
On February 26, Mrs. T. E. Braniff was elected Vice President.
On March 14, Bob Burck was named to the post of General Traffic and Sales Manager.
On April 5, Braniff passed its three billionth passenger mile mark with senior pilot Captain
Gordon Darnell at the controls of the Dallas-Chicago non-stop flight that celebrated the milestone.
On April 25, a Braniff DC-6 made the first trip to South America using airborne radar equipment.
The airline, in a joint project with the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, experimentally
conducted an evaluation of airborne radar over its routes in Latin America.
On August 22, with 19 people on board, including the crew, a MKC based DC-3 (N61451) crashed near Mason City, Iowa, an accident which killed Capt. Bill Pickering and F/O Bill Wilde. Hostess Betty Truly Dohrman and six passengers survived. Twelve people, including Goldie Raskin and Sarah Wolfson, of Omaha, Nebraska, lost their lives in what was one of the first commercial airline “wind shear” accidents.
On August 25, Bess Thurman Braniff died peacefully in her sleep. It was but eight short
months since the untimely death of her husband. They would always be remembered with
respect for their dignity and contributions to our airline.
Graduating to flight status were Martha West Baker, Bonnie Alexander Barber, Dee Bush Baxley, Judy LaCroix Cooper (SAT), Coe Carter Kindig (MKC), Josie Johannsen Burroughs, Melba Inglish Busby, Nancy Toy (HOU), Jean Toews Maynard, Dee Stagner Nicholson (MKC), Jo Hollingsworth Moser, B. J. Whiting Chevalier (MSP), Joyce Michels Prestridge, Sara Taylor Robinson, Mary Kivel Kenney (MSP), Shirley Carroll Thedford, Glenda Atkinson Steinle (MKC), Martha Settles Westbrook and Helen Lekas Winters.
A Texas-California interchange between Braniff and TWA began on January 14. Braniff flew
from HOU-DAL-AMA and TWA took it from AMA to LAX.
On July 7, a Convair 340 clipped a sign on landing at Midway Airport in Chicago, resulting in the death of DAL Capt. Allan Tobin and Hostess Mary Teel. F/O Woody Hanks survived the accident with massive injuries.
In November the CAB decision in the SW-NE case favored Braniff. Less than three months
later we began DC-6 service to Newark (EWR) with two first class flights and one night coach.
In December construction began on the new Love Field terminal to replace the one on Lemmon
Avenue. Estimated cost was $6 million dollars. It is interesting to note that one Boeing 707
cost that much when they were first introduced.
Earning their wings were Gloria Ryden Ault, Robin Whitfield Brown, Norma Clements Cross (MSP), Jayne Field Buckroyd, Ellie Holtdorf Stensaas (HOU), Annette Moore Combest, Betty Engle (MSP), Cleota Auld Hartfelder, Carole Goodale Cottrell (DEN), Shirlee Lewis Hirsh, Whitney Carlson Hartley (MSP), Lois Wilcox Mitchell, Dee Moeller Latzka (MSP), Susie Bruck Robertson, Sharon Hayes Scanlon (MSP), Betty King Self, Liz Bailey Wahlquist and Nancy Moore Wilson.
This summer we bought a navy two-piece uniform with ashort fitted jacket which was worn with a white blouse, blue and white shoes, navy bag and matching beret. We never did figure out if it was to be worn to the side like a French artist or flat like a pancake. (Not anyone’s favorite hat!)
Muffett Webb won the “Miss Skyway” title on February 7 as well as a Hillman-Minx sports car.
Later she had a bit part in “South Pacific” and married Quinn Martin, noted TV producer of
“The FBI” series.
February 15, scheduled DC-6 service began from Dallas to New York City via Newark. The
ground crews said we sure talked “funny”.
In April, Braniff recruited every silversmith in Lima to provide over 20,000 silver cocktail
picks and 20,000 silver llamas as souvenirs on the “Silver Service” flights. We bet several
of you still have some of those souvenirs tucked away in a drawer somewhere! Surely you
remember the “Silver Service” which featured the Cornish Game hen entree. Passengers
fondly dubbed this entree as the “roadrunner” after eating this delicacy … trip after trip!!
On June 20, BN observed its 28th birthday anniversary with a colorful ground breaking
ceremony for the new Braniff Building, a 10-story structure to house the administrative offices.
It was located in the new Exchange Park development on Forest Park Road, near Love Field.
Hostess class graduates included Sharon Langland (MSP), Carol Cleveland Ayres, Sue Childs Collins, Gloria Demarchi Platt (MKC), Barbara Kennedy Dunlap, Mary Herring Edgerton, Sharon Krohn Benson (DEN), Gaynelle Prather Edwards, Sandra Lamm Glasscock, Judy Ciesler Kendrick, Peggy Welliver Mahan (SAT), Janet Flockhart O’Hara (HOU), Sandra Surguy Pistulka, Jean Eldred Mitchell (SAT), Judy Shrum Tollefson, Teddi Kirkby Weil, Mimi Norman Lupin (HOU) and Charlene Honea Williams.
Summer brought a new uniform, a two-piece powder blue suit, a white blouse and a matching hat trimmed in white, all in a drip-dry fabric. We were finally able to wear flat shoes during the flight but were required to change back to heels for deplaning.
Terry Labus Wilcox won first place in Braniff’s contest for a winter uniform design. The runners-up
were Charlotte Kiper and Fran Catron. Out of 43 sketches, 3 were chosen to be made into suits.
Final selection was made at a Hostess conference at Western Hills Hotel in Ft. Worth on May 23.
This suit was designed with a straight skirt made easy by a kick pleat in back. The jacket had
underarm gussets which extended to the waistline with a peplum continued to the hipline. The gusset
was repeated in the blouse which gave the hostess a great deal of freedom. The grey flannel all-wool
suit was worn with a white blouse and black accessories. The Orchid Shop in Oak Lawn was the headquarters for these uniforms.
In May, we moved our headquarters to Exchange Park. It took three days and on the fourth
day the demolition of the “Red Brick Building” began in order to make room for the new
passenger terminal. It was tough to watch that landmark with all its memories become a pile of
Joining BNF were Kaye Rings Albright, Connie Bradford Biggar, Ann Bohri, Deborah
Sampson Carmean, Evie Specht Brueske (MSP), Pat Christensen Deer, Mary Mapes Doherty, Sharon Dougherty Brunn (MSP), Gloria Brown Grant, Wendy Allen Rueb (MKC), Beth Lowery Hickman, Judy Kobe King, Amber Wacasey Laws, Rhea Crane Maguire, Carol Smreker Morgan (MSP), Vicki Seago Mansheim, Gwen Johnson Martin, Patsy Watkins Martin, Marilyn Soelberg Morrow, Sandra Woodward Parks, Sally Lenarsic Roberts, Betty Ebel Rosenberg, Nancy Zastrow Shaw, Jean Bryant Strasavich, Kay Powell, Dumpy Gilby and Mary Lambert Chappell.
January was a busy month at Braniff as the first BAC-111 was delivered. Every hostess, pilot,
and all supervisory personnel that could be rounded up, including those on vacation, flew 71
extra section charters to California.
On March 25 a MIA based DC-7C crashed after take-off into the Everglades causing the deaths of dead-head crew Captains “Popo” Leake, Royal King, George Hogan and F/O Don Showman. The cockpit crew of Capt. Don George, F/O Jack Winthrop and F/E Chuck Fink all survived along with the LIM based Hostesses and Pursers.
There was a newspaper strike in NYC and Braniff flew extra printings of The Dallas Morning
News to New York so there would be a newspaper for those good citizens.
Flying careers began for Betty Green Atchison, Dayle Alinsky Bright (MSP), Jayne Turner Davis, Bobbi Lambert Franklin, Barb Kelty Donovan (MSP), Sue Callies Spencer (MKC), Ruthie Pearson Hudman, Ann Jones Abbott (DEN), Lynda Carruth Leachman, Mary Ann McKeown Echols (HOU), Marcia Mitchell Hegland (MSP), Linda Hamm Lucas, Malinda Ealer Jones (HOU), Carolyn Cart James (MSP), Jean Boyle Knapp (MSP), Sally Smith Mason, Sandy Evans Emrick (DEN), Jan Borkhuis Tiffany (MSP), Sharon Jennings Bothe (SAT), Sherry Pieper Pace, Rita Mooney Parks, Sharon Diedrick Patterson (SAT), Ginny Smith Wenande (MSP), Ann Nicholson Rose, Linda Shaw Clements (HOU), Donna Barnhart Schaefer, Sandra Scott, Terri Delisle Korfhage (HOU), Evye Brown Strong, Mary Bray Stadler (HOU), Gail Bohanon Taylor and Nancy Ritts McMillin.
Braniff’s new Boeing hostess uniform was worn on the inaugural flight 707-227 on December 19 and were referred to as “jet jackets”. This smart Chanel inspired jacket of off-white acrilan was worn with the grey skirt of the regular uniform The custom tailored jacket had three-quarter sleeves trimmed with an inch-wide band of grey worsted and adorned with four brass buttons bearing the Braniff jet insignia. The insignia was also displayed on the jaunty Scottish style Glengarry bonnet of grey worsted trimmed to match the jacket.
On January 25 the Braniff cafeteria opened for the beginning of family Sunday dinners. Employees
and their families could enjoy a Sunday dinner with a choice of meat, two vegetables, salad, roll,
beverage and dessert. It was a bit expensive as the price, depending on the meat entree, would
range from 90¢ to $1.00!
The new Love Field Maintenance Base opened for service on the 16th of January. President Charles Beard hosted a “family night” for the employees to see the latest up-to-date maintenance facility.
We parked at Exchange Park and were shuttled to the Lemmon Avenue hangar for the festivities
of refreshments, prizes and entertainment.
On September 18, Annette Moore Combest was crowned “Miss Wings” in Long Beach, California.
On September 29, a DAL based Lockheed Electra encountered mechanical problems and crashed near Buffalo, Texas killing all on board. The cockpit crew was Capt W.E. Stone, F/O Dan Hollowell and F/E Roland Longhill and the cabin attendants were Avilyn Harrison, Leona Winkler and Betty Rusch.
October 19 during a training flight a BN B-707 crashed onto a sand bar near Seattle, WA which resulted in the deaths of DAL Captains Jack Berke and Frank Staley. Flight Engineer Pete Krause and Avionics Manager Fred Symmank were able to exit the aircraft with injuries.
On December 19 a B707-227 made an inaugural flight from DAL to JFK in 2:28 minutes (a new
record). Santa was on board and gave treats to all the passengers. The crew was headed
by Captain Gordon Darnell, F/O Charles Jamieson and F/E H.J. Corey. The flight attendants
were Millie Jones, Debbie Sampson, Paula Norwich and Rita Mooney.
Flight Hostess diplomas were awarded to Mary Jane Holland Baumgarten, Joyce Zachor Meuwissen (MSP), Barbara Matis Burnett, Dee Singewald Chaney, Becky Bunck Martin (MKC), Lou Ann Lancaster Corboy, Jeanne Corbett Omondson (MSP), Sue Simpson Golden, Georgianna Garnhart Heinke, Patti Poye Pixley (HOU), Merle Guthrie Ireland, Gayle Johnson, Kathy Burg Vogel (MSP), Judi Rojas Kagay, Patsy Rountree Miller, Sarah Wheeler Welch (HOU), Karen Peterson, Linda Kerr Stanley, Linda Nixon Stegall, Marty Conley Trbovich and Gloria Parrish Van Zandt.
A Braniff 707-227 set a speed record from Love Field to Idlewild (now JFK) on January 3.
They flew the route in 2:13 at a recorded average speed of 685 mph under the steady hand of
BN welcomed Linda Austin, Janice Kremers Berry, Terry Moses Daniel, Beverly
Edmison Hutzell, Marilyn Rutherford Benoit (MSP), Linda Crosley Katz, Marla Burnell Moser, Judie Harris Nolden, Deanna Doss Palmer, Val Kress Piburn, Jodie Peete Pitcher, Maria Surgeon, June Temple, Lorey Gallop Wintz and Bonnie Belisle Yancy.
Earning their wings were Barbara Cavazos Holzhausen (SAT), Maggie Benesh, Mary Caldwell, Marilee Miller McGuire (DEN), Clo Parker Cloud, Nancy Egan Selna (LAX), Sue St. Aubin Hankins, Ann Dougherty Anderson (MSP), Jane Jones McCafferty, Dorothy Reeck Ruxton (DEN), Adrian Adams Ricks, Charlotte Esselman Neron (MSP) and Kathy O’Leary Rigby.
Summer saw another new uniform of charcoal grey with three-quarter length sleeves and a lined skirt which provided freedom of movement. The suit was tailored in Dacron men’s worsted wool. Black accessories completed the outfit designed by Nardis of Dallas.
On January 16, we moved into our new terminal at ORD.
In 1962 our cockpit crews put on the charcoal gray uniform. It was single breasted and for the first time the pilots and the flight attendants wore matching colors in their uniforms. They were introduced to the public and the airline by Bill Longino and Terry Labus Wilcox who were selected as models from the pilot and hostess groups. Terry could have made a career out of modeling but sweet William Longino – well its a good thing he was a top pilot – he would have starved as a model.
Taking their first flights were Doreen Januszewski Christensen, Barbi Allen Conn, Donna Rist Toruik (MSP), Nevada Penny Copeland, Barbara Huot De Moulin, Pat Russell Dixon, Kay Norton Laske, Ann Hogan Callahan (LAX), Paula Tatom Metcalf, Judy Graber St. Sure (LAX), Cathey Yarbrough Sims, Mary Lou McClintock Throneberry, Carol Kahn Thomas and Gerry McGeeney Waterson.
By June 20 we had nearly 5,500 employees and were flying to 48 cities and ten countries.
BN Hostess Department welcomed Susan Burrell Allen, Marge Austin, Joan Utley Benesh, Kaaren Walling Boggess, Fran Claycomb, Jeannie Tippit Coleman, Yvonne Holt Crum, Karen Thompson Davidson, Irma Bondy Gill (HOU), Mary Ann Harkness Harris, Gayle Page Hodges, Linda Nash Israelson, Barbara Lee Johansen, Dee Kirkpatrick, Nancy Hanks Dewar (SAT), Pamela Neff O’Halloran, Helen Semmes Sandlin, Bonnie Haisler Nofsinger (MSP), Maureen Jensen Short and Patricia Spahn.
It was on January 18 that Braniff began non-stop service from Bogota to Miami, the first U.S.
carrier to do so.
Taking their first flights were Sandi Brown Atkinson, Karen Ferencak Aubrey, Janice Black, Dianna Parker Brandborg, Patti Bober Elliott, Vicki Young Gutenkauf (MSP), Linda Chevalier Fernald, Gay Irwin Frey, Sharon Henson, Renee Whitworth Key, Ginny Lee Linder, Jeanie Land Ludwig, Susan Taylor Palmason, Sue Parkerson Jordan (LAX), Jackie Williams Petricka, Nella Pitts Phillips, Val Moreton Pugnale, Joanne Palmer Seaberg (MSP), Shannon Roe Fox (DEN), Pam Riddle, Jan Sheldon (LAX), Sylvia Hanna Russell, Marilyn Brockman Weld (MKC), Jeanne Skarda, Terry Stapp Hoffman (DEN), Carol Butler Tucker, Paula Jamison Prentup (DEN) and Mary Ann Wright.
Around this time of the year, a mystery was puzzling some of the late shifts at Love Field. A
man was roving about in the wee hours, stopping at various departments. Often he would just
stand and watch. Occasionally he would ask questions about procedures. He had such a
presence of authority that no one had the courage to challenge his mission. One time he would be
seen in Dispatch, another in Flight Control or Crew Schedule. Reservations personnel would report
that someone had been observing them. Maintenance staffs were curious about the well dressed
man wandering around in the hangar and shops, stopping occasionally to watch a project.
Tales of someone seen on the terminal side of the field at ticket counters, baggage rooms or cargo
docks began to circulate and the mystery deepened. The observer had been seen at out stations
during these early hours which added all the more to the riddle.
And then … on February 8, a blockbuster announcement shook the airline to its very foundation.
Braniff was to get a new President and CEO. The Executive V/P of Continental Airlines had been
chosen by members of the Braniff Board of Directors to head the airline. He would assume his
duties on April 5, the day that Charles Beard retired. On this February day, Harding L. Lawrence stepped from the shadows and into our lives. Our airline would never be the same again. The
mystery had been solved. It was Harding Lawrence who had been gathering information prior to
his acceptance of the position. He would begin his duties full speed, enlightened by his early reconnaissance. He claimed that he will double Braniff’s size within five years while achieving a
completely new image. In his first week as president, he ordered 18 Boeing 727 jets, and hired
Mary Wells to help him make aviation and advertising history.
The day Harding Lawrence took the reins of our airline, we knew we had traded a Clydesdale
for a thoroughbred. We were off a plowed field onto a fast track. Within six months we had
changed our livery and the fleet became the most fashionable in the industry with its new coat
of many colors. Our employees were decked out in new attire and our surroundings were face lifted.
As we grew, more airplanes were ordered and route structures were expanded. Braniff hired
personnel to fulfill their needs. Many existing employees were rapidly promoted and fifteen year
co-pilots now rode in left seats. We were dazzling the industry, and ourselves, and the media helped
with free publicity. We had it and we were flaunting it.
It was to last almost fifteen years and we added to our vocabularies a lexicon that included the
words, “unbelievable, proud, thrilled and incredible”. This phenomenal growth was unbelievable
and we were proud of our airline and thrilled to be a part of it. They can never take that away
Jet age fashion history was written in Florence, Italy on July 19, when noted designer Emilio Pucci unveiled a couture collection of uniforms for our hostesses. The showing was held in the elegant Pitti Palace in Florence and was widely covered by the press. The “QC” look stood for quick change and was evident in the reversible zippered wool coat in apricot and absinthe. A pillbox hat, brilliant Pucci scarf and high leather boots matched the coat. A vibrant pink gabardine suit with set-in bracelet sleeves featured a zippered jacket and wrap-skirt. A “Puccino” for meal service was easy fitting dacron and came in several color combinations. Worn under the pink suit was a two-piece bold blue turtle neck blouse and matching culottes.
One of the biggest events ever on Braniff happened on November 6. An unveiling of our
“New Look” was given for the press, travel industry and general public. Six months after
Harding Lawrence and Mary Wells had conceived it, Braniff had a complete facelift. Ticket
counters, hospitality rooms, dishes, silverware, airplane interiors and exteriors were given the
“Look”. Uniforms were designed by Pucci and were the sharpest in the industry. The F/As in
Pucci skirts, blouses, bubble hats, leotards and “eye lashes” prompted the “In-Flight Strip” and was
in all major news coverages. The sensation of the day was the “fly-by”. The press, invited guests
and employees were assembled on the Love Field ramp when at the precise moment scheduled,
a full colored ‘robin’s-egg-blue’ B-720 flew by at tree top level. Twenty seconds behind, a ‘beige’
BAC-111 roared by followed by an ‘orange’ BAC-111 and a second B-720 in ‘ochre’. The
hoped for effect was overwhelming – never had anyone seen fully colored airliners – let alone an
airline painted in multiple colors. Nothing like it had ever been considered in the conservative airline
world. You remember that impact back then … don’t you?
Betty Green won her case against Braniff for being married! A big round of applause from so
many of us!!
The colorful Pucci uniforms were introduced in September and we all remember the beautiful
job that Sandra Bernloehr did in representing us modeling the “air strip”!
In December Braniff agreed to buy Panagra for $15,000,000 from W.R. Grace/Pan American Airlines.
Carol Schmirler was awarded the first ever Air Safety Award from the Steward and Stewardess
Division of ALPA.
The first Hostess classes to wear the Pucci uniforms were Te Poluga Brown, Frances Campbell, Paula Stephens Daninger (MSP), Fran Oberman Cressman, Judy Sarazan Billman (MKC), Lynn Stauffacher Erickson, Beverly Raley Fleming, Judy White Giles, Linda Hamlett (MSP), Mary Alice Harfoush, Pat Greer Harris, Candy Chambers Hearne, Peggy Brewer Sacco (MSP), Kathy Ramey Herigodt, Katie Arthur Kirby, Linda Shephard Lewis, Todie Stone Lewis, Marilyn Gowdy Marlatt, Ramona Moran Martin, Irene Wiley Parker, Claudia Lamoureaux Parsons, Pia Hilding Peterson, Pat Whelan, Virginia Grzywinski Reed, Carol Bryant Rickert, Linda Robinson, Linda Shewmaker, Carolyn Gowdy Standley, Jean Carroll Swindell, Jamie Wotton, Elizabeth Baquero and Mary Goodey Harris..
In the summer of this year additions were made to the Pucci uniforms, such as print leotards
and hooded fur coats for those flying to Greenland. The augmented uniforms gave us a choice
between the bloomers and the sleek stretch leotards. The latter came in a geometric print of pinks,
blues, purple, red and mauve. They were topped with above- the-knee shifts in a new nylon tricot
which could be worn alone as a dress. Low heeled slippers and chin-strapped Derby hats
(similar to those worn by Bolivian women in the Andes) completed the uniform. The fur coats of Mongolian lynx were issued, on loan, to ATL-MAC hostesses, as the price was $1,200!!!
April – Braniff stock rose to $200 per share from $24 per share in 1965, when Mr. Lawrence first
came to Braniff.
On June 2 a big “Yellow Bird”, a new B-320C fan-jet left Travis Air Force Base, CA for HNL
and points west to mark the start of contract service for MAC (Military Airlift Command) .. it
was fondly known as PAC-MAC by those who flew it. A similar operation flew troops to
Greenland and other cold-weather spots.
On August 8 a MSP based BAC-111 crashed near Falls City, Nebraska causing the deaths of Capt. Don Pauly, F/O James Hilliker and Flight Attendants Ginger Brisbane and Sharon Hendricks.
BI added to the flight attendant ranks by hiring Madeline Cantu Alvarez del Castillo,
Cherry Hunt Fennell (DEN), Karen Schier Armstrong,, Susan Hammes Johnson (MSP), Elaine Boyd Becker, Carol Cairo, Patty Tooke Morgan (DEN), Janet McIntosh Clesi, Patricia Fukui-Barton, Kay Gehm, Linda Hill Hamilton, Pat Dispensa Hardaway, Karen Hudley Hearn, Nelleke Keller, Sherry Price Kornblueh, Dinny Gilliam Elliott (MKC), Beth Bowker-Cross Lutes, Lucinda Sikors Maples, Randie Smith Matthews, Leilani Hanranhan (DEN), Betty Lou Petty Morgan, Mary Stocker Morris, Kathy Fredrickson Orr, Elaine Rogers Palance, Nancy Rowland, Janet Licata Chirhart (DEN), Jane Kiekenapp
Schoknecht, Stephanie Schwab Schroeder, Rosemary Smolik Schuster, Marci McKelvey Smith, Susan Stood, Brenda Taylor, Mary Ann Neher Thomas, Guenda Tiedt Wenzel, Toni Kirklin Williamson and Sheila Rossi.
We were in a building mode and in January the opening ceremony for the Hostess College was
held. It was the most up to date flight attendant center of its day. It cost $2 million and provided
over 63,000 square feet of dormitory, classroom and training facilities. Jean Duncan was given the responsibility of managing this facility.
February 1 saw the Braniff-Panagra merger completed which extended Latin American routes.
On April l Austin to Washington Dulles non-stop flights were inaugurated.
Ling/Temco/Vought was going to the Paris Air Show and decided that Braniff Hostesses would
be just the thing to man the Hospitality Suite. Betty Engle and Melba Inglish Busby were chosen.
They were there for six weeks. The tales are wild and the hours were long … but rewarding.
In December Marge Cooper was elected Vice President of the Steward and Stewardess
Division of ALPA unanimously.
Flying the colorful skies of BI were Verna Hughes Callan, Margie Fenley Evans, Karen Holland Gappleberg, Kathleen Buxkemper Beal (SAT), Rosie Hughes, Cindy Friddle Jaques, Judy Milner Enlow (HOU), Betty Shreffler Landrum, Bonnie Burke Behr (DEN), Bonnie Miller, Suzanne Reed (DEN), Patty Nacua Monfils, Gail O’Connor, Mary Jonckowski Beisner (DEN), Julie DeCapua Redmond, Claire Faulkner Singleton, Nancy Wood and Linda Burke Snider.
Spring brought more Pucci uniform options with a long sleeved dress of washable Trevira polyester/wool fashioned with a free-swinging front and back panel to give it grace to the above-the-knee skirt. The dress came in pale pink or in plum and was accented with matching pumps, hose and gloves that combined the two colors.
NO MORE HATS (YEA!!) Instead we could choose from six Pucci scarves in a range of prints of pink and plum. For serving we wore a soft tunic apron of silvery Cohn-Hall Marx vinyl.
Braniff won the ON-TIME record for the year.
On May 3 a DAL based Lockheed Electra crashed in a thunderstorm near Dawson, Texas and all perished including Capt. John Phillips, F/O Jack Foster and F/E Donald Crossland, Flight Attendants Jo Carol Brand and Suzanne (Suki) Renz.
In December, 1968 the CAB granted us authority to provide service from LAX/SFO to RIO/BUE
by the way of Bogota. Soon these gateways would be open to all the LAD (Latin America
Division) without restrictions. Are we correct when we remember that our LAX to Santiago, Chile
flight of 11:20 was our longest scheduled run?
Earning their BI wings were Susie Bryant Brooks (MKC), Mercedes Salazar Badyna, Elizabeth McLester Bentley, Nancy Orndorff Cope, Joyce Drow Losey, Donna Blades Passantino (MKC), Linda Schirmann Creech, Gloria Watson Daniels, Marcella Sandoval Gleason, Susan Hassel, Shelly Olsson-Minette Hutchinson, Carolyn Dewey-Weaver Mumm (DEN), Mary Johnston, Dianne Laffoon, Keiko Misumi, Kelly Reed, Kathy Epitropou Sanderford, Lynn Drisdale Wexler (HOU), Treva Palon Seals, Tifa Fernandez-Sih and Barbara Schnarr Walker.
On February 9 the 747 flew its maiden flight at the Boeing plant in Seattle. One week later
Braniff ordered 5 more 727-100s and announced the beginning of International service into Lima
(LIM) from four new cities – MSY, DCA, SFO and LAX.
On August 14 Braniff began non-stop B-707 service from Dallas Love Field to Honolulu.
We began service to HNL and Hilo (HLO) from ATL on the August 14. At first, we shuttled
ATL passengers to DAL on BAC-111s and later began non-stop ATL-HNL service on 707-300
aircraft. This episode didn’t last long but it was an indication of our growth attempts in those days.
The Perot Charter, “Peace on Earth”, was especially meaningful to us. It was destined for Hanoi
with 1,400 Christmas dinners and quantities of medical supplies for the POWs. The green 707-320
left DAL December 21 with Fred Welton, Dick Brannock, and John Triplett, Terry Moses, Dumpy
Gilby, Annette Moore Combest, Mary Hoover and Karen Freytag on the flight to HNL. Jerry
Petersen and his crew flew it from HNL to Wake Island and Hong Kong. George Philllips,
George Jones, and Jan Schott took over there and flew to Bangkok and Vientiane, Laos with
Flight Attendants Sheila Davis, Pat Birch Hardaway and Karen Freytag. There they learned the
North Vietnamese refused to grant them permission to fly to Hanoi and they returned to
Bangkok to regroup. Acting on a hint that they might get there by way of Russia, the expedition
flew to Tokyo and Anchorage, Alaska. From Anchorage it was over the “pole” to Copenhagen
where they hoped to get a clearance from the Russians to continue. After several flimsy excuses
as to why they couldn’t be given a release, Ross Perot elected to scrub the mission. They arrived
back in DAL on New Year’s Day. This fantastic odyssey captured the attention of the world in
spite of its outcome. The green Braniff 707 was seen on TV and in all the newspapers where the
crews were recognized for their superb efforts. But we knew that Braniff crews could do it all…and
that adventure simply re-enforced that reputation.
Barb Schwartz Grisby (MKC), Marjorie Olmschenk Denton (MSP), Rose Ella McCleary, Janie
Miller Nichols (DEN), Tanya Alvarez Vaughan Mitschke, Glenda Grassman Calvin (MSP), and
Janie Johnson Polich began their flying careers.
On December 28, Braniff training and flight crews set another record. We were about to begin
747 service to Hawaii and in order to qualify for our certificate we had to demonstrate we could
evacuate a 747 within a prescribed time frame. The requirement was to evacuate all the passengers
from the main cabin within 25 seconds and those in the upper deck within 30 seconds. Passengers
chosen for the demonstration were selected at random in order to ensure there were no airline-wise people on board. Random selection of crew members was also mandatory. This was to preclude
any specially trained crews from performing the evacuation. We provided seven pilots and 20 flight attendants for the evacuation. The Captains were Cotton Safrit, Howard Caldwell and Bill Longino. John Penington and Len Morgan were to fill the F/0 positions and John Casey and Wayne Hoover
were the F/E choices. The flight attendants were Beverly Edmison, Betty Engle, Shirley Forster; Karen Peterson, Connie Edwards, Brooks Watson, Anne Seymour, Cila Pierce, Pam Panusis, Linda Austin,
Marie McCullah, Donna Carson, Gay Irwin, Sharon Menking, Carol Simon, Sally McGill, Pearl
Carter, Eni Bragado, Tina Garcia, and Becky Brewer.
To simulate, as much as possible, the consequences of an accident, it would be likely that some
of the exits would be damaged and unusable. The FAA inspectors monitored the exercise and
rendered 50% of the available exits inoperable. No one knew beforehand which exits would be
used. To make it all the more sporting the performance was to be done in the dark without
lighting available from the airplane’s source. Only emergency exit lights would be visible. It is
important to mention that in most cases a successful evacuation is rarely performed the first time,
as some glitch usually happens.
The appointed hour arrived, the signal to evacuate was given, the electrical power was removed
plunging the 747 into darkness and the exercise began. In 19.8 seconds everyone was safely
down the slides and accounted for…not only did they do it the first time – they did it establishing
an industry record. You know there just aren’t enough tales of our many successes but once again
we proved we were the best. Doesn’t surprise you though – does it?
Joining the flying ranks were Teresa Goforth Gallagher, Janet Sorenson Allison (DEN) and Karen Campbell Ralston.
January did have some bright spots in our airline history. Perhaps the most significant happenings
were the inaugural flights we made. During the first week of January our wonderful 747 made a
tour of 17 cities for proving and pre-inaugual flights. Over 10,000 citizens jammed the Memphis
Airport to see the largest airplane to land there. Along the way names such as “Super Carrot”,
“Big Pumpkin”, “Great Pumpkin Jumbo” and “Biggest Orange in the World” were some of the descriptions used in the press releases. But the name, “Fat Albert” seemed to last the longest –
there was something affectionate about it. And finally, all the planning, training and effort
came to be flight 501 which left Love Field for Honolulu on January 15th. It was a dream come
true that lasted 11 years until 1982. On that same January 15th service to LGA began and while
it didn’t attract the same notoriety, it was a significant step in our growth era.
On July 2, Braniff flight 14, a B-707 with 102 passengers and a crew of eight was hijacked
between Mexico City and San Antonio. It lasted 43 hours across Texas, Mexico, Peru, Brazil
and ended happily in Argentina. After a refueling stop in Monterrey, the hijackers
released flight attendants Jeanette Eatman Crepps, Iris Kay Williams and Anita Bankert Mayer
and all of the passengers. The remaining crew of Captain Dale Bessant, Bill Wallace, Phillip
Wray and flight attendants Ernestina Garcia and Margaret Susan Harris flew on to Lima. The
hijackers, a U.S. Navy deserter and his Guatemalan lady friend, demanded and got a ransom of
$100,000 and wanted to go to Algeria. The Bessant crew was released, one by one, and replaced
by a volunteer crew of Captain Al Schroeder, Bill Mizell, Bob Williams and Navigater Ken
McWhorter. Two Lima based employees, Delia Arizola and Clorinda Ortoneda volunteered to
board the flight. Delia had been retired 6 months but still offered her services. The B-707 left for
Rio and planned to refuel but the hijacker forced them on to Buenos Aires. The long flight and
fatigue took its toll and the hijackers gave up. It was a record for long distance hijacking.
Earning their wings were Marsha Dittmer, Carla Vandergriff Hollingsworth, Betty Deneberg Morchower, Barb Bowker Dietz Furrow (DEN), Judy Drake Pickering, Deborah Taylor Greenagel (DEN), Brenda Roberts Smith, Pam Milks Vodvarka, Mary Mark Welch, Janet Degener Hill (DEN), Cheri Mead Woolschlager and Joan Superdock York.
In July beautiful blue/green Pucci uniforms were introduced. They had solid blue tops and slacks with green, blue and violet accented print shirts and shorts. A blue/green reversible coat, Ferragamo blue/green patent shoes and a blue patent satchel purse completed the new look.
In January we had our second hijacking. Captain Tom Hill, F/0 Bill Piper and S/0 Dave Loupot
were en route from HOU-DAL when they were hijacked. The flight attendants were MSP based
Helen Liles, Margaret Blahosky, Pat Hampton and Janice Kreiger.
They landed at Love Field and were parked in the far northwest corner. The passengers were
taken by bus to the terminal 40 minutes after landing, leaving the cabin and cockpit crew as
hostages. The standoff lasted for almost eight hours during which negotiations and diversions
were in progress. The 727 was declared mechanically unfit for flight, and maintenance
personnel pretending to fix the plane, were seen by the crew. Finally, the hijacker’s attention
was diverted and Tom yelled for all to “run like hell” and they did – run like hell. The FBI and
local police soon took the hijacker into custody who surrendered without a struggle.
Also in January, BN celebrated the first year of DFW-HNL B-747 service.
In May BN purchased 10 more B-727-200s to expand the fleet and began service to Houston
History was made in November when a flight attendant was awarded her Braniff wings with her
father and brother assisting in the ceremony. This marked the first father, son and daughter
to wear Braniff wings. Dad Len Morgan and brother Terry proudly welcomed Kathy Morgan
on board for this momentous occasion.
Flying the B-Line were Kere Cox Braxton, Vicki Carlson Thill (MSP), Dena Doane, Ken Holder (HOU), Phyllis Colucci Morgan, Ed Patino, Diane Risser, Ann Bellamy Smith, Marilyn Seeman Holder (HOU), Pat Donohue Oakes (MSP), Kathi Horan Ziegler (DEN) and Allen Stout.
In May, four male flight attendants were hired to serve on Braniff flights and were known as “Hosts”. They were Allen Stout, Ken Holder, Ed Bosworth and Mike Gregory. Their uniform was a black double-breasted suit, white shirt and black tie. The serving jacket was light beige trimmed in black velvet.
January 13 Dallas/Fort Worth Regional (now renamed International) opened and Love Field
became a commuter and private aviation airport.
In April BN flew 356 combat soldiers home from Saigon via Guam.
In May BN sponsored the “Battle of the Bands” at Texas Stadium, showcasing four of the nation’s
finest black college bands.
On September 20 an Air France Concorde landed at DFW after a 2:25 flight from Caracas,
Venezuela to begin the opening ceremonies. Braniff had flown a press corps and some VIPs to
Caracas the day before to board this flight. The next night there was a black tie dinner for VIPs.
Eighty ambassadors and U.S. dignitaries representing President Nixon attended the formal
dedication. The following day was filled with air shows, acrobatic demonstrations and related
events. Carder McNay, Ben Land and Charles Bohannon flew a 747 “big orange” fly-by and stole
the show. Later 6,000 Braniff employees and guests visited our new terminal. We were the
major carrier and the only airline with its own terminal. It contained 426,000 square feet, 18
check-in counters, two BIC Rooms, one with 7,000 square feet lavishly decorated with treasures
from South America, and 21 gates including two for 747s.
In 1973 the DC-8 “Flying Colors” began service on November 2nd. Bill Garbett and his crew
of D. P. Fraleigh and Chuck Bramble flew the first scheduled flight. Braniff paid Alexander
Calder $100,000 for his efforts and for those who disputed the wisdom of such an expenditure it
can be said that was cheap – a real bargain. The eight models he painted and the limited number
of prints are worth over $200,000 alone. Certainly the free advertising because of the novelty of
such an airplane was well over a million dollars.
New hires greeting the passengers were Floyd Corsey, Lorill Moe Haynes, Jeff Hill, Tom Johnson, Becky Parker Bergman (DEN), Kathy Travis Kosich, Beth Lewallen, Mary Ann Magee, John McFarlane, Paige Greenfield Hamilton (DEN), Diane Winnell Pace and Patricia Ringness.
The last Pucci uniform we wore came in two vibrant colors; turquoise and green with a new Pucci print in an exciting design of seven colors. We had a tailored slim tunic, slim-legged slacks, sweater and a body shirt topped by green wool coat or vinyl raincoat.
In October of 1974 Braniff told the world it was flying over 30,000 route miles with 550 daily
departures to 53 different airports. We were still flaunting it!!
In December, BN flew 15 tons of medical supplies to Honduras following Hurricane Fifi.
Was it in 1974 that Jill Parker Snow Lilly made “Mother” an acceptable word at Braniff?
Nelle Rounsaville and Christine Race Weinlein began their flying careers.
C. Edward Acker resigned as president of Braniff to become president of Transway
International Corporation of New York.
Earning their wings were Vicki Barnes Derrough, Tim Larkin and Alexandra Murphy Travis.
University of Nebraska chartered “Fat Albert” for fans to attend Hula Bowl in HNL.
The Calder 727 “Flying Colors” was honored in a ceremony at Love Field November 16 after
flying 1 million miles during the bicentennial year. First Lady Betty Ford had welcomed it into
service at Dulles the previous November. Mr. Calder painted “The Flying Colors of the United
States” using a Braniff International jet as his canvas in 1975 to commenorate the nations 200th
birthday . Do you still have your “Flying Colors” Calder prints? They are worth something, I hear.
Darlene Mahan began her flying career with BI.
Pucci is out and Halston is in! There were a number of looks for the Flight Attendants of this
era..a tan gabardine suit also had slacks and a vest. A cardigan sweater and a soft flowing dress
of nylon jersey in ivory with a shadow print of tiny H’s in brown (Halston’s signature print)
completed the ensemble. For serving we had a fully washable ivory apron wrap-around dress.
An Ultrasuede trench coat in taupe along with a matching hat completed the Halston look.
When the Halston uniforms were introduced, the hosts wore the tan gabardine suit with matching vest and the “H” print tie in brown on tan. A tan cardigan could be worn inflight. They wore a tan Ultrasuede topcoat or a light tan raincoat with matching umbrella. For the warmer weather, a lighter weight suit was introduced to be worn with an “H” print tie in brown on ivory. A smart ivory jacket was worn for cabin service and galley slaves wore a special apron for their duties.
In April Braniff filed with the CAB for approval to provide Concorde Service.
In May, Russell Thayer was named President of BI by Chairman Harding Lawrence.
Gold wings were bestowed on Joan Gage Fetters, Katharyn Lance and Dorothy Smith.
In March Braniff began non-stop service between DFW and London’s Gatwick Airport.
In April we received approval to fly D/FW-Las Vegas and we applied for 747 approval from
DFW to Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. For good measure, we also asked for
DFW-Tokyo and a route to Manaus, Brazil.
New PDX-HNL service began in October.
The move of Corporate Headquarters to Braniff Place began in December.
President Russell Thayer announced the exciting new routes to Europe and the Far East … a far
cry from Laredo and “why-not” Minot!
December was an ordinary month for almost 20 years until 1978 when we startled the
industry by jumping into deregulation hook, line and sinker. On the 15th of December our
representative overwhelmed the Department of Transportation with applications for hundreds
of non-regulated routes. We were to know the consequences of growth, prosperity and finally
demise from that day forward.
Joan Redmond became the first grandmother to start flying for Braniff!
The Supersonic Concorde, built jointly by British Aircraft Corp. of England and Aerospatiale
of France, went into service January 12 between Texas, Washington D.C., and Europe on
interchange flights operated by Braniff Airways, British Airways and Air France. Trips
between Dallas/Ft.Worth and Washington D.C. were operated by Braniff crews at subsonic speeds.
In January the airlines were deregulated by the U.S. Government and BI added new segments
which entailed massive hiring.
We moved into Braniff Place – our magnificent World Headquarters at DFW.
In May, the first flight attendant class, 79-5, completed training at the Braniff Place facilities at
In June BI opened a flight attendant base in Boston which was the hub for B-747 flights to
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
On October 31, we began service to Singapore from LAX. Did you ever in your wildest dreams
believe that Braniff would be flying through the Pacific to such exotic places as Singapore, Hong
Kong, Seoul, Korea, and Guam? Flying to Honolulu seemed exciting enough – but we spread
our wings all the more when we provided service to those countries. Of course we now know it
didn’t last long – but that’s another story.
Braniff began to flounder and Harding Lawrence is pressured to resign.
At our peak in November, we had nearly 120 airplanes in service or on order; close to 15,000
employees worldwide and just over 2,000 pilots.
November 30 saw first ever service from DFW to Montreal and Toronto.
After the departure of Harding Lawrence a new management team headed by John Casey and
Russell Thayer took control on January 7. Mr. Casey became Chairman and CEO in September
and named Howard Putman, former president of Southwest Airlines, as president.
The Clipped Bs honored Braniff flight attendants who had flown over 25 years – Marj Cooper,
Terry Labus Wilcox, Millie Jones Mauldin, Melba Inglish Busby, Shirley Yancey and Betty Engle.
“Texas Class” service was added on BI’s domestic system.
On December 8, a special “Dallas Cowboys” paint job was introduced prior to the team boarding
their B-727 charter.
BN began it’s “Two-day Dollar” sale in February.
Early on May 12 Howard Putnam announced that all Braniff planes were grounded and that the
company had declared bankruptcy taking Chapter 11 status.