Five forgotten airlines that once served Oklahoma
There are six airlines that currently serve Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport and about the same that fly in and out of Tulsa International.
Names like United, Delta and American are familiar legacy carriers that seemingly have always had a presence in Oklahoma. Forgotten are some carriers that once few Oklahomans for business and leisure travel. Here are five forgotten airlines that once served our state.
Muse Air (1981-1987)
Founded by former Southwest Airlines president Marion Lamar Muse, the airline that bore his name flew in and out of Tulsa to destinations in Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada and California. Muse made a splash with its no smoking policy, well before smoking was banned on all flights. The airline struggled with cash flow and later merged with Southwest.
Ozark Airlines (1950-1986)
Ozark served both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Its route map included spots mostly in the southwest and southeast but also to large northeastern cities like New York and Philadelphia. At its height Ozark had a fleet of about 50 aircraft, mostly DC-9's. But Ozark found itself in a competitive period in the industry and later became a part of TWA.
Western Airlines (1926-1987)
Western served both Oklahoma City and Tulsa during its history. The airline was founded in California and at its height had hubs in Denver and Salt Lake City. Western also flew routes to Hawaii, and for a short time, Europe.Western sponsored game shows, providing travel arrangements for winning contestants and was riding high until it merged with Delta in 1987.
Central Airlines (1949-1967)
Central was unique in that it flew to mostly Oklahoma destinations. If someone wanted to fly from Ada to Oklahoma City they could on Central. It also served Texas destinations like Dallas and Lubbock. At its height the airline flew to 40 cities. It offered discounts to students and servicemen. It flew mostly Convair 240's and 600's before it terminated operations in 1967.
Braniff Airways (1930-1982)
Braniff isn't exactly forgotten, especially for those who enjoy the obscure world of airline history. Braniff was known for a lot of things during its five decade run. It was the first airlines to dress its flight attendants in miniskirts and was known for painting its aircraft a variety of colors rather than just one standard livery. Braniff later expanded internationally, acquiring 747's and leasing a Concorde from Air France and British Airways for two years. But it went belly up in 1982 but not before making its mark on the industry as an early innovator.