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Flashback Fridays: Love Field A Month Before DFW Opened

blusk
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It probably doesn’t keep you awake at night, but it is of comfort to me that I am not the only person my age who is a total aviation (and railroad) geek.  You might find several folks of either persuasion, but finding one with both qualities is exceedingly rare.  Fortunately, George Hamlin is such a person.  We are about the same age, and George’s father-n-law worked for an airline.  At a young age, we both had an innate sense to know when our surroundings were changing, and when familiar things would become historical rarities.  For example, the new Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) opened on January 13, 1974.  If memory serves me right, that was a Sunday.  On Friday evening January 11, I took my camera to Love Field’s wonderful observation deck to record the scene for posterity.  Unfortunately, I was shooting black and white film and had a camera without a telephoto lens.  Half the country away, George also knew that aviation in North Texas would be forever changed when DFW opened, and he nonreved down here in December 1973 to spend a day at Love Field to record Love’s last few days as the primary airport in the area.  George had a nice Nikon and a telephoto lens, and his color shots provide a nice Flashback Friday perspective.  George graciously has given us permission to use some of his photos for this post.

Back in 1973, Boeing 707s were still common aircraft.  The view above features no less than four examples of the four-engine classic Boeing.  The 707 on the left is being pushed back from the West Concourse, which is our current concourse at Love.  Don’t worry, we will get back to that scene on the North Concourse later.

Over on the East Concourse above, we see two Continental DC-9-15s at the airline’s gates.  In the background are some Texas International and Ozark aircraft.  My father was Continental’s Station Manager at this time.

Texas International had built a single-story extension off the East Concourse to house their operation, which featured DC-9-30s and Convair 600 turboprops.  Even at this relatively late date, the Convair on the right wears an older livery.

Braniff was the largest carrier at Love Field, and their 727-200 above is taxiing past their maintenance base.  (The building still stands.)

Three airlines operated 747s into Love at this time, American, Delta, and Braniff.  Above, we see the Braniff pumpkin heading out for its nonstop trek to Honolulu.  Notice that the driver on the bag tug has stopped to watch the view.  About a year and a half before this photo, I had taken my first 747 flight in this aircraft.

Prior to the introduction of the 747, the largest airliner was the “stretch eight.”  The airplane pushing back is a Delta DC-8-61, and if my memory serves me correctly, it held about 240 passengers.  This aircraft would later be re-engined with the same CFM engines that are on the 737-700. You wouldn't believe the amount of freight, mail, and bags that fit in those long, long cargo bins.

And finally, I have saved the best for last.  Here is a rare color photo of N22SW, one of the three original Southwest aircraft parked at the far end of the North Concourse next to two American 707s.  It is parked at an out of service gate.  Note that the cargo bins are closed.  The air stairs are extended on the far side of the aircraft, and if you look closely, you can see a Maintenance step ladder next to the air stairs, along with a Company pickup truck.  It looks like this is where the fuel hydrant trucks were parked also.

This is the same scene a few months ago as the North Concourse was razed for the terminal modernization, which is currently underway. 

46 Comments
magnew Employee
Employee
Thank you, Brian, for this great Love Field history!
Allyn_Cutts
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Be careful, Southwest is not as HONEST as they would have you believe. First, I fly a fair bit… Southwest most of the time, but also US Air and Continental. Recently I had booked several trips on Southwest, a couple for me, and one for my wife and I both... No big deal. But before I booked the flights, I was watching the Southwest flight prices. I was not in a big hurry to book the trips, all of them were 2-4 months out, so I was just checking prices every now-and-then... Anyway, I saw all the trips I was watching take a $10 - $15 price increase per leg... So figured I better get these booked. So I did, I booked 6 trips, or legs at whatever the going price was that day. My Mistake... I have always trusted Southwest. I fly them quite a bit, they work for me, and they have always been good to me. I just trusted them. Well... Another trip came up, and Southwest was the most obvious choice. So I went to Southwest.com and plugged in my dates and stuff, and the trip came back cheaper than the very same trip I had booked earlier, although the actual trip that I had booked was further out. So, for shits-and-grins, I plugged in one of the other trip dates that I already had booked... And low-and-behold, the damn thing was $26 less per leg now. So, needless say, I was a little PO'd... I just always thought the 'Lowest Fare' was the 'Lowest Fare' at the time that you booked it on Southwest... I just trusted them. Well, I called Southwest... And a really nice lady walked me through how to re-book the same flight at the reduce cost and all that. And she explained to me that you do need to keep an eye on the flight prices, even at Southwest, because you may not be paying the lowest fare all the time. So I went through all the flights I had already booked, and re-booked about 5 of the 6 legs at cheaper prices... Picked up about $142 in savings. Now - Here's where they really get sneaky... YOU don't get that money back! NOPE... It basically goes into a little Southwest bank account, tied to your confirmation numbers for each of those flights. You lose it if you don't use it, and they do absolutely nothing to tell you or remind you that you have funds available to use, and you MUST use the refunded amount for -or- on a trip booked in the exact same person's name. After I had gone through this whole process and re-booked all these trips... One would think you'd be able to log into your Southwest account, and somewhere there would be a place that would say... Your Southwest Credit Balance Is: $XXX.XX NOPE, NADA, NOWHERE... As a matter of fact, they make it all most impossible for you even find out how much you have, or how to use it. Again, I called Southwest and asked... Where can I find my credit balance in my account??? Shouldn't I be able to see it in my account?? NOPE... And this customer service lady was firmly convinced that what they (Southwest) were doing was the best way to do it - Ah... Yeah, for Southwest, damn sure not their customers. Well, with all that said, I will still fly Southwest, but I have now thrown them in the pile with all the other scum bags airlines... And I know now you CANNOT trust them either. It's ashame too... 'cause I really thought they held themselves to a higher standard. Oh well... o http://allyncutts.com/southwest-airlines-not-the-white-hat-wearing-company-you-thought/
mark_kjellander
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Great Photos. Was nice to see love field in the old days
far-left-texas
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This is a fantastic set of photos. Thanks for digging them out.
Michael_Bludwor
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Great stuff, Brian! Love old ramp and airport shots. George Hamlin is a real resource! Thanks for posting these, and thanks for Looking Back!
Fodder
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Nice article! Really enjoyed seeing all the planes, especially the stretch eight!
Evan_Bennett
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Thanks for the pics. I'm not from Dallas and only the age of the pictures themselves, but I loved looking at them. My father was a jet engine mechanic in the air force and passed on his love for airplanes to me. Looking at these reminds me of how excited he'd get showing me all the airplanes whenever we had to pick someone up at TPA.
reymundo
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Great pics....reminds me of when I worked at La Guardia from 67-69 for American Airlines...alot of people do not know that American trained their stewardesses in Dallas at a different airport. I also worked at Sea-Tac in 70 and 71 when NW Airlines got the first of the 747s....that was when Hughes AirWest went on strike......we ran a small feeder airline called West Pacific Airlines....flew Beech99s and Twin Otters.....flew to Spokane, Missoula, Pendleton, Yakima, Portland and several other smallers cities....It was fun until we ran out of money.....it cost a fortune to MAINTAIN engines and landing gears....thanks so much for the memory....been to Love Field many times in the 60s.....
Cecilia_Lemons
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Southwest Airlines shares the same anniversary as us and we are both still going great. Next year will be the 40th and that is wonderful! The first time I flew was in 1989, It was super and I enjoyed it tremendously. The next time was in 1996 and it was just as great. I have flown a few times since then and have enjoyed every one of them. It is the best way to travel ever. Thank you Southwest, we are very proud of your accomplishments and record.
John_From_Texas
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Great pics, Brian. Thanks for sharing.
Mike_Williams
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The late Len Morgan used to write a column called "Vectors" for Flying Magazine years ago. A former Braniff captain, he wrote about that orange 747, which they had dubbed "Fat Albert." One day while flying Fat Albert on that DAL-HNL, 31L was closed for whatever reason, so they went ahead with a max gross departure off of the shorter 31R. He wasn't sure if they were going to make it out, since Vr speed didn't come until they were past the 18/36... They did barely make it, but anyone driving past on Shorecrest Dr were likely ducking for cover! Thanks for the blast from the past!
Amy_Herrmann
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Thank you for the wonderful history lesson!
Gerard_Nagle
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Did Southwest ever fly into Stapleton? If so, can I request a write up about that? I just moved to Denver and I'm curious about the history of that place. The control tower still stands in the middle of a subdivision!
Bart1
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Thanks for the great pics. I worked for AMERICAN AMBULANCE service in the 70's and we were housed in the old Braniff Wing to the South of the main terminal. We had the downstairs area for our vehicle maintenance and storage and the offices were up in an old terminal area. We probably had 10000 SF of space, and I believe our rent was around $750 per month. A LONG time ago.
Anonymous3962
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This flashback is great. It reminds me of my younger years. My mom was a former airline employee with TWA. I have flown on all of those airlines shown. Thanks for the memories!
Emily1111
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I've never been to either Love or DFW, but I absolutely love these pictures. I love aviation history, and think the old photos are so cool. Thanks for posting!
Jayne_Wilson
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Enjoyed this - thanks :-)
Preston_Todd_Br
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Very Cool. Thanks for posting.
JML_-_Chicago
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I'm one of those aviation / railroad geeks too. I always like so see little bits of history like this. Thanks for sharing.
JeffFLL
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Thanks for the "Flashback" photos! When I was little we flew Braniff wherever we went. My favorite color Braniff was the blue-greenish Eastereggish shade. When we started to board a "dull" brown 727, I threw a fit and remember getting swatted on the leg for my tantrum over the brown plane!
Linda_Jacobs-Gu
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Thanks so much for sharing these pictures! Brings back lots of wonderful memories for me also. I worked for Braniff Airlines for 4 years, 1970 - 1974, at Love Field, both in the Hostess Lounge and in the very Maintenance Building that you showed a picture of. My husband, Carl, and I took our only trip to Hawaii (best vacation of our life) on that big orange 747. Thank you so much for reviving those wonderful memories for me! Linda Jacobs Guilbeau
Holly_Hegeman
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Very nice way to end the week Brian. George is one of this industry's most valuable resources. Glad to see you used him so well this morning! Loved the shots.
Erik1
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@Allyn Cutts: Boohoo and watch your mouth! Issuing credits is a standard industry practice. @Brian: The blog's comments section needs a "Flag this Post" button. Actually, 707's were regularly in use for long/thin international service until the early 1980's when they were replaced by 767's. See some old TWA and PanAm schedules from that time. @Gerard: Southwest flew into Ben Stapleton's aerodrome in the mid-1980's to/from Albequerque. I had the pleasure of flying the route once. It is amazing to think how many airlines were HQ'd in Texas at that time: Southwest American Continental Texas International Continental Braniff Any others?
Bobbie_Early
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"Thanks for the memories!!" I was a flight attendant for American during that time and moved from Love Field to DFW...loved the 707!! Now, I am a very satisfied Southwest customer!!
Marty2
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Great pictures! My husband is a retired captain for UAL and he loves to see stuff like this, I am sure he will remember it all, including the colors of the airplanes. Good luck to Southwest Airlines, we fly them too!
Zane
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Great bunch of photos! Sure wish I could have been around Dallas for those days. I can't imagine regular 707 or 747 flights out of Love today...can you imagine the howl from the anti-airport neighbors...lol Sure miss seeing Braniff colors in the air. (kinda miss the SW mustard colors too sometimes too)
RRD
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Fantastic pictures, thanks for sharing! As for Allyn Cutts' comments, I understand your frustration. Airfares, even on Southwest, nudge up and down constantly, depending on supply and demand. Every airline practices some form of "revenue management" to try and maximize their revenue earned on each flight. Under such a practice, certain numbers of seats are set aside for certain fare buckets. The published fare at any given time will depend both on the number of seats that have been sold and the number of seats that are still available for sale. As people buy (and cancel) seat reservations, the published fares potentially change constantly, even right up until the departure time of that particular flight. The funds you paid for your higher-priced tickets are nonrefundable, unless you purchased refundable tickets. You can use your available, unused nonrefundable funds to purchase a ticket in anyone's name, at least until late January 2011, when new regulations go into effect. After that time, you will only be able to use nonrefundable funds to purchase tickets in the name of the passenger associated with the nonrefundable funds. I like your idea, though, about the possibility of Southwest providing some functionality on their website that could show you what your nonrefundable funds balance is and what confirmation numbers they're associated with. I fly Southwest almost exclusively, and I'm always buying, and changing, flight reservations. I have to manually keep track of what funds are available under which confirmation numbers, which is a bit time-consuming. I put up with it because I'm loyal to Southwest, but your proposal to have one's Southwest online account keep track of unused funds would make me even more loyal! Great idea!
jamescameron1
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@Allyn Cutts, this is not the place to complain... this is a place to comment on the blog.
Dirk
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@Brian: I echo the others in expressing appreciation for the flashbacks. Keep up the good work. @Allyn Cutts: You really need to fly more and gain a more thorough understanding of airline practices.
Fran1
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I fly Southwest all the time from Manchester, NH to Tampa, Fla. Have been for years. Recently I had a flight booked well in advance for August travel and 2 weeks before I was to go I saw an ad on TV for fares $89.00 each way from Manchester to Tampa. My original flight was out of Boston because it was cheaper than flying out of Manchester. So I went on line and when I put in my travel dates the price came up as $79.00 each way, even cheaper than the TV ad. So not sure what to do I called and spoke with a Southwest Reservation person and he instructed me how to change my flight. He was extremely helpful and I was a happy camper. I now have a $40.00 credit toward another flight to be used within the next year from the date of my original ticket. As I go to Florida often, sometimes on the spur of the moment I will surely use this credit before June of 2011. They are the greatest airline and I would not go any other way to Tampa. Keep up the good work Southwst. A satisfied customer.
Michael_S_1
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And yes the answer about Southwest Airlines flying into Stapleton International Airport back in the early 80's is yes they did I flew into there when my parents were stationed in England to visit my Grandma and she used to live in the old flight path of Stapleton International Airport I saw alot of airlines come and go from that airport even Southwest.I used to watch airlines from the Boeing 707 to the MD-82's of Frontier fly over her house too and alot of other airlines too including Denver Ports of Call Convair 990's before they became Skyworld and flew Boeing 707's and 727's from their own terminal away from Stapleton.So yes there is alot of airline history at that airport.I have even been inside the control tower too because of my Uncle because he is a Air Traffic Controller in Denver I been in both towers at Stapleton and Denver International Airport all before 9-11-01 now I cannot go into towers any longer but l did enjoy the tours when l could though.Have a great day.
Braniff_fan
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I have to wonder--how were the operators of the Boeing 707s, the DC-8s and even the 747s able to fly in and out of Love Field? As I understand it, those aircraft required long runways for takeoffs and landings--esp. during hot weather. Moreover, if I'm not mistaken, there were noise concerns and the 707s and DC-8s were not the quietest around in the early 1970s.
jay111
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@Allyn, they have to keep your credits with your confirmation numbers since the credits expire a year after the original reservation date. So if confirmation number ABCD123 is 9/24 and XYZ6789 is from 8/23, you would have to travel by 8/23 if you used funds from both. Otherwise, you could make all the reservations you want and not show and keep building an account, that would be great because you could keep locking in very low fares and not ever travel which would cost the airline $$$ because they would need to keep filling your empty seats with last minute or non-rev passengers. Having that expiration date at least limits the amount of time you can do that, also, I can lock in a reservation with Southwest, get a cheaper deal every once in a while with another airline for the same flight, not show up for my SW flight and I still can use my "credit" for a year past the reservation date to anywhere I want, doesn't even have to be the same cities and no penalties!!! That's a scam?????
Bill_Hough
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I also really enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane, despite the fact that I have never been to DAL and only transited DFW at night.
Paula_McDonald
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Those were the days!!! I love the pictures--especially the Braniff ones! So many good memories. I love DFW, but I miss the Love Field from back then.
Kelly_Stewart
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Great photos & article! Brought back tons of memories of growing up traveling through Love field traveling on all those airlines mentioned at one time or another on our way overseas or coming home to NM after being gone for a couple of years. My favorite flight was always on Texas Intl turbo prop Convair to Hobbs,Nm lots of bumps,very exciting!
Henry_Harteveld
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What a wonderful post. I remember flying into DAL as a kid from NYC to visit my mom's family in Dallas. There was something very special about Love Field as an airport. And while I know Braniff didn't exactly extend any gracious Texan hospitality to WN as it was getting started, it did have its marvelously colorful aircraft and provided top-notch service. As others have noted, George Hamlin is a wonderful resource. His photographs rank among the best. Thanks to you both for bringing back so many fond memories!
Anonymous4374
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I emailed customer service over 2 weeks ago. The auto reply I received was that their goal was to respond within 5 business days. I said what a goal! Still have not heard back, service is really starting to suck. And yes I agree that they should keep a balance of all your flight balances in your reward account, they should not bank the leftover dollars if you rebook it cheaper.
Anonymous1101
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To the poster who was complaining about not getting a cash refund from SW after his flight price went down....try getting ANYTHING from any other major airline after you book a flight and discover the flight price has gone down! You get sqawdoosh! And, the other airlines will charge you around $100 to change a flight.....SW charges you nothing except the price of the fare if it has gone up. If it has gone down, they will put the balance in an account for you to use for future travel. Seems pretty decent to me!
Greg_Robinson
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What a great set of photos of a brief moment at Love Field! Braniff holds a special place for me on my blog and while I remember those scenes well, it's great to see photos of them one more time. Thanks. Greg Robinson
blusk
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Wow, that touched a spot with a bunch of you and thanks so much for all your contents. Kelly, I once flew from DAL to ABQ via Brownwood, Big Spring, Lubbock, and Clovis on a TI CV-600. It was great. Braniff fan, the Braniff 747 operated from DAL to HNL. it used every bit of runway, but it was within takeoff parameters. The earliest jets were equipped with turboject (not turbofans) and they utilized water/methanol injections to provide additional takeoff thrust. That made for very smoky takeoff runs and those 707s and DC-8s left four trails of smoke behind them. It was magnificent, but it would nevver pass today's green requirements. Also, George contacted me over the weekend and it was his father-in-law, not father who flew for Braniff. I have updated the post. Brian
Anonymous2464
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Is Southwest going to start flying into Portland, Maine in 2011. I sure hope so as it is a long drive from Boston to the Bar Harbor area.
Charles__Haus
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wonderful pictures of a great period. I flew for Braniff out of Love & DFW for 35 years
A_Customer_of_B
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No post this week???
James_Sullivan
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Great post! DAL holds special memories for so many people. I missed the "glory years" completely (wasn't even born until 1981) but as a kid I used to wander the empty North and East Concourses and try to imagine what it was like before DFW opened. Would LOVE to see your black and whites from January 11, even if they're not very good quality! Hope you post them in a future update.
Samuel_Maurice_
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Wonderful photos that bring back the memories. I lived in Clovis, New Mexico while stationed at Cannon Air Force Base and flew both the CLV - DAL and ABQ-CLV routes in the Convair 600 of Texas Internatonal and its predecessor - Trans Texas Airlines. (It was exciting to see Texas International fly DC-9 aircraft into the 6,000 ft. runway at Clovis around 1970, I believe.) A final memory, is that after earning a private pilot's license, my first cross-country trip with my family was to Dallas in a Piper Cherokee 140 and rather land at one of the area's general aviation airports, I chose to mix it up with the beautiful heavy jets at Love Field. The tower controller kept insisting that I maintain my cruising speed while on final as the "707" was rapidly gaining on me. When I protested, he calmly asserted, "son, you've got almost two miles of runway to slow down." After landing, I learned that I was sequenced between the Learjet belonging to James Brown (The Godfather of Soul) and a shiny silver American Airlines Boeing 707 (which you have photographed so expertly).