Happy Holidays to all, for a little fun and a little history I thought I’d look into the archives for some aviation history from past Christmas travel.
In 1975 a strike by United Airlines, the then largest U.S. carrier, and National Airlines left thousands stranded for the holidays. This pre-deregulation strike meant many were unable to travel as there were few other options. However the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) approved international-only Pan Am to fly some domestic routes.
The Civil Aeronautics Board moved to alleviate part of the problem Wednesday by authorizing Pan Am, an international carrier normally barred from service U.S. mainland, to carry travelers between New York and San Francisco through Dec 23.
The strikes caused the airlines to cancel all flights for several weeks straining holiday travel. At the time United was the largest carrier with 130,000 passengers per day. A tiny number compared to the passengers traveling today.
Call centers were overwhelmed with wait times exceeding one hour or more. In addition, due to overbooking and no-shows many flights surprisingly left with empty seats. Passengers were encouraged to come to the airport to stand by for most flights.
The CAB, month long strikes and manual bookings are (mostly) a part of history now. Were you traveling during this time? Please add any stories to the comments below.
More information on the strike can be found in the newspaper archives on google:
Pan Am Picks Up Holiday Crunch