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Braniff Airways Flying Colors, Book Review

Author:

Peggy worked for Braniff International as a flight attendant during the airline's exponential growth of the 1970s.

Braniff DC-8-62 N806BN, June 1980

Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Humble Beginnings

Tom Braniff and his brother Paul Revere Braniff joined forces to create their first operating venture, Paul R. Braniff, Inc. Formed in the spring of 1928 during the Oklahoma oil boom, Braniff's maiden flight began with a five-passenger single-engine Stinson Detroiter transporting oil company executives between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Struggling through the troubled times of the Great Depression, the brothers pulled out of a near bankruptcy by adapting their services to carry mail for the government before expanding into commuter routes between Dallas and Oklahoma. The fascinating story of how they grew their dream is captured inside the colorful, ninety-five-page photo-filled documentary detailing the evolution of the airline.

braniff-airways-flying-colors-book-review

Inspired by the cross Atlantic flight of Charles Lindberg, these brothers, pioneers in a fledgling aviation industry, took the purchase of one fabric-covered, five-passenger Stinson airplane and transformed their dream into an empire. From that ambitious start, Tom and his brother Paul Revere Braniff dedicated their ongoing efforts toward bringing affordable air travel to the public. By 1982, Braniff would boast of international service using mass transport craft such as the Boeing 747, the Concorde supersonic and a fleet of aircraft logging millions of passenger miles.

Captain R.V. Carleton, June 1931

Lockheed Vega

Lockheed Vega

The book takes the reader from the airline’s humble beginnings through facts about the leadership of Braniff Airways, its employees, its expanding series of planes and jets, and its executive offices. Also detailed is the origin of their innovative designer uniforms, their crew of flight hostesses and flight attendants, its training facilities, amazing in-flight meals, designer fabrics for aircraft interiors and paint schemes of their fleet, along with the ever-evolving changes in passenger transport equipment through its eventual demise as a multi-billion-dollar entity.

Braniff Boeing 727-227 N401BN

Image from San Diego Air and Space Museum

Image from San Diego Air and Space Museum

Author, Richard Benjamin Cass dedicates this book to the memory of Harding Luther Lawrence, whose leadership role at Braniff spanned the years from 1965 to 1981. He guided the airline through the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, to expansion internationally, through its years plagued with exponential fuel increases, dynamic drops in passenger air travel, and expanding interest charges on unpaid debt. He speaks about route awards by then President Jimmy Carter, of revenue increases and route expansions without delving into the whys and intricate details of how these issues were overcome.

Chairman Harding L. Lawrence 1965

1965. He is seen with one of the new Boeing 727s he introduced into the Braniff fleet that would become the workhorse of the flamboyant Texas carrier.

1965. He is seen with one of the new Boeing 727s he introduced into the Braniff fleet that would become the workhorse of the flamboyant Texas carrier.

N452BN Boeing 727-200 of Braniff at LGA 1978

N452BN Boeing 727-200 of Braniff at LGA 1978

The book is a fascinating collection of Dallas History of Aviation’s historic photographs, housed at McDermott Library UTD, as well as the author’s lifelong collection of Braniff Flying Colors photos and memorabilia.

This pictorial view of an airline from the glamour times of travel takes the reader on a tour of hostess trends, meal service offerings, the evolution of different airplanes used, airline culture, growth and expansion of the Braniff Fleet, good and not so good leadership and more. Each page tells a story in photos of the airline from its early beginnings as small rural carrier to its height of passenger transportation.

Well worth the price, the book will delight any reader with an interest in aviation history and also those who continue to strive in keeping the memory of Braniff International Airlines alive.

Alex Calder Bicentennial 727 N408BN SFO1976

Alex Calder Bicentennial 727 N408BN SFO1976

Memories

The time I spent flying for Braniff International remains among my favorite, all-time memories. The hours of flight training, learning the essence of customer service, meal service, bartending, safety, and emergency procedures, along with the comradery, the hard work, the amazing places we traveled, all stand apart from any other job that I ever worked.

A group of former Braniff Flight Attendants remain in contact on Facebook in a group called Braniff Clipped B's where photos, memories and experiences of careers are shared.

The Braniff Lineup

1977 View of the Tarmac at the Braniff Terminal

1977 View of the Tarmac at the Braniff Terminal

Flight Attendant Grads 1977-9 Dallas TX

Graduation Day

Graduation Day

braniff-airways-flying-colors-book-review

Why Did Braniff Fail?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Peg Cole

Comments

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Peggy, It's fun for me to read about the airline that had such an impact on me. Airlines have truly changed a lot over time: the meal service, the colorful planes, the uniforms. Thanks for sharing that you remember Braniff and your enjoyable experience aboard.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2021:

It is great that you have fond memories of flying with Braniff. I had flown that airline as a passenger and enjoyed it. Your book review sounds like it would make interesting reading.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 25, 2021:

Hi Flourish, The time was way too short when I was flying. It was hard work but the good memories are still there after all these years. Nice to see you here!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 23, 2021:

I bet you were a terrific flight attendant and had a wonderful time traveling all over and meeting so many people. Thank you for sharing your memories of the airline's existence here.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 18, 2021:

Thank you, Chitrangada, for dropping by. This book was dear to my heart and brought back such fond memories.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 18, 2021:

Hello Peg!

A nice review, with some interesting information, made this a wonderful read. How good to know, that you have working experience, and some great memories of the airline. I enjoyed looking at the memorable pictures too.

I am happy that I found this on my feed. Thank you for sharing and have a good day.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 18, 2021:

Thanks, Linda. It is a shame that the airline went under. Loved the places that we traveled like Hawaii and Mexico. It was my first time for both.

Thank you for taking time to comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 17, 2021:

Thank you for sharing the information about the airline and your experiences. You’ve created an interesting and informative article. It’s a shame that the airline no longer exists.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 17, 2021:

Hi Pamela, Nice to see you here on this book review. If circumstances had been different, I believe that Braniff would still be actively flying today. They were trend setters whose innovative ideas were ahead of their time.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 17, 2021:

I love a success story, and I think this would be a very good book. You have written a very good review of this book, Peg. Thanks for sharing this information.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 17, 2021:

Hello there Bill, I just finished reading your latest story and treasured it. Wish I could have left a comment. Your characters really came alive and shared some insightful meaning. Driving to a doctor's appointment last week, I saw a homeless person standing with a cardboard sign and it tugged at my heart strings, wondering how he came to be where he was in life. Thanks for sharing awareness in your story.

Also, thanks so much for coming by on this book review.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 17, 2021:

I remember what a big deal is was when Braniff entered the competition, taking on the giants of the time. I'm sure this book is a wonderful read for anyone who was alive when it all started. Thanks for the review, my friend.

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