Braniff Shutdown Strands Holiday Passengers With AM-Braniff, Bjt; AM-Braniff-Glance
Jul. 03, 1992
DALLAS (AP) _ Braniff airline's third shutdown in a decade left employees feeling outraged, and frustrated ticket holders whose holiday travel plans were shattered.
''When I told my oldest daughter the news, she said, 'Why, Mommy?''' said Jeanette Mosley of Newark, N.J., who had tickets for her 12-year-old and 5- year-old daughters from New Jersey to visit their grandmother in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ''Where am I going to get my money back from? I went to the store and bought $100 worth of shorts.''
Braniff International Airlines flights from 16 airports were halted late Thursday when the company ceased operations. It became the fourth major U.S. airline in the last 18 months to shut down. The others were Eastern, Midway and Pan Am.
''I think the public has been duped and I think Braniff employees have been totally duped,'' said Travis Kent, a Braniff pilot based at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the airlines' headquarters.
''There's a lot of people out there right now that are wounded because their travel plans for the Fourth of July are down the tubes.''
One passenger caught in the airlines' wake is Sharon Lewis of New York. She, her mother and her daughter were supposed to fly home Friday, but she said they each had to pay an additional $145 for tickets on United for July 13.
Braniff employee Heidi Thornton had trouble holding back tears while explaining what the loss of her job meant to her.
''My husband makes $120 a week. I have a mortgage and a baby due in two months. There's no way ... I have to go to welfare to apply to have this baby,'' she said.
Officials of American and Delta said they will not accept Braniff tickets.
In exchange for a Braniff ticket, Continental will offer passengers the lowest fare for the same travel itinerary up to July 17. Arrangements must be handled at airport ticket counters, said Peggy Mahoney, a spokeswoman for the airline, which itself is under bankruptcy court protection.
United, which flies to all Braniff destinations except St. Thomas, instructed its agents to offer Braniff ticket holders a half-price fare and suspend the 14-day advance purchase period normally required for same, said Tracy Heldreth, a United agent in Washington, D.C.
America West will help passengers trying to return home, said spokesman Mike Mitchell. Those stranded travelers will be charged $75 to be put on a standby list.
Braniff officials blamed the shutdown on last month's price wars, which the airline said reduced its share of the market.
Braniff had 13 planes flying about 50 daily flights, said New York-based spokesman Joseph Kist.
The airline had routes through Atlanta; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago Midway; Dallas-Fort Worth; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Islip, N.Y.; Miami; Minneapolis-St. Paul; John F. Kennedy in New York; Newark, N.J.; Orlando, Fla.; St. Thomas; San Juan; Tampa, Fla., and West Palm Beach, Fla.
Kist said Friday he did not know how many passengers were affected by the shutdown. He also was unsure of the number of employees.
''I guess we're just going to wait and see. I'm not walking back to Jersey,'' said traveler Natalie Lawson, who was scheduled to fly home on one of Braniff's three daily flights scheduled out of Miami.
Miami television station WSVN reported that one passenger was so upset she called 911 - several Metro-Dade police officers showed up able to offer only consolation.