Braniff Airways History:
Braniff in Brief, 1928-1992
From early days as a short-haul regional carrier to membership among the world's top twenty international airlines, Dallas-based Braniff International Airways made its mark in the world of aviation. Braniff revolutionized the concept of how an airline should look and operate, and in the process created an industry legend.
Originally incorporated June 20, 1928, Paul R. Braniff, Inc. represented a vision for the future of successful financier and his barnstorming brother, Thomas E. Braniff. From its original route between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Braniff Airways expanded to include Wichita Falls, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago in the early Thirties. The company's stability was insured when it secured the air mail route between Dallas and Chicago in 1934.
Hostess Dorothy Dryer wearing the 1937 bolero-style uniform. The photograph shows the cabin interior of the fourteen passenger Douglas DC-2. Early in-flight meals were basic at best. Note the pre-air conditioning air intake nozzle located above passenger #12.
Gift of Pat Zahrt
Acquiring Long and Harman Airlines in 1935, and subsequent route expansion south through Texas to Brownsville, Braniff Airways advertised routes from "The Great Lakes to the Gulf." The introduction of 14-passenger DC-2 airplanes in 1937 necessitated the introduction of flight attendants.
DC-3s ushered in a new age of aviation technology in the late Thirties, and Braniff, "the B-line," responded. Now equipped with heated and soundproofed cabins, power brakes, and constant speed propellers, air travel took on new luxury and comfort.
Braniff focused its attention on the war effort during the early Forties. Facilities at Dallas Love Field and throughout the country became training sites for pilots and mechanics. Like most airlines, Braniff dedicated a portion of its service fleet to carrying military cargo and personnel. Following the war, Braniff leapt forward, expanding operations to South America. Their international El Conquistador service required constructing airports, terminals, and navigational beacons throughout the continentThe 1950s saw further domestic route expansion through merger with Mid-Continent Airlines. Braniff entered the jet age in 1959 introducing Electra Prop jets and then the Boeing 707-227. They introduced the British BAC-111 jets in 1965.
Maintenance Hangar 3, Love Field, c. 1940s. One of four hangars housing Braniff's 54-acre maintenance facility.
Gift of Pat Zahrt
Braniff International Airways logo, 1946 -- 1963.
Gift of George W. Cearley, Jr.
Following thirty-seven years of steady conservative growth, Braniff surprised the aviation industry by redefining the rules. Fulfilling the vision of the company's new president, Harding L. Lawrence, Braniff International Airways completely re-invented itself. The "plain plane" became a thing of the past in 1965 as Braniff tapped into the talents of internationally renowned designers, Alexander Girard and Emilio Pucci. With a bold and colorful new image, BI logo, and completion of acquisition of Pan America- Grace Airways (Panagra), Braniff entered a period of continued growth and high visibility. Service to Hawaii and the South Pacific began in 1969. Interchange service to Alaska in 1974. European routes were added in 1979.
Left: Braniff International Terminal at Dallas Love Field in 1971. The publicity still shows the orange 747, "Fat Albert," and the newly commissioned two-tone color scheme for the company's wide-body fleet of jet airplanes. Braniff moved its corporate headquarters to Love Field in 1942. An operation base had been maintained locally since 1935.
Years of accumulated corporate debt coupled with deregulation of the aviation industry, economic recession, and market over-expansion spelled Braniff's doom in the Eighties. The company of "Flying Colors" filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 1, 1982.
Braniff resumed operations in 1984 with a new lean look and competitive low-fare approach. Employees were enthusiastic and the public supportive. Braniff briefly posted profits but success proved short-lived. They again filed bankruptcy in the Fall of 1989. The company's final incarnation, primarily a charter service, lasted from 1991 to 1992.