Today, everyone looks for the best airline with the most reasonable price. Searches start with the main companies: United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, among others. What travelers may not know, however, is that many of these popular airlines are descendants of several great airlines that came before. Here are five forgotten airlines everyone used to love.
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am, as it is more commonly known) is not just the title of a fictional television series starring Christina Ricci. Pan Am is one of the most adored airlines of all time. Founded in 1927, it was a pioneer in the aviation industry, bringing popularity to jumbo jets and other aircrafts when no one else in the industry was really using them yet. It was also the first airline to begin using computerized systems for flight booking and reservation management. This airline was so beloved that, after it closed up shop in 1991, the Pan Am Historical Foundation was created, and it's entirely devoted to archiving news about Pan Am and its historical significance.
Trans World Airlines (TWA)
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was born to carry mail in 1920s. Under the funding of billionaire aviator Howard Hughes, which started in 1939, the airline quickly became much more than that. Deemed "the airline run by flyers," it released sleek new airplanes (this time for carrying people, not just mail), and was one of the first airlines to receive a jumbo jet. Unfortunately, though, according to USA Today, the airline began to crumble in the '70s, and was forced to file for bankruptcy in the '90s. In 2001, it was bought out by American Airlines.
Eastern Air Lines
Like Pan Am, Eastern Air Lines was founded in 1927. It was one of the Big Four Airlines in the 1930s, and was led by a World War I flying ace named Eddie Rickenbacker. For much of its run, it was the undisputed leader in flights between New York and Florida, so much so that it was said to hold a monopoly over this area. As time went on, though, more and more problems began to plague the airline, such as debt and labor disputes, until it went out of business in 1991. The airline was so beloved, though, that the 2000s saw many attempts to bring it back to life. The latest attempt was short lived. According to Airways Mag, the new Eastern Air Lines was forced to give up its Air Operator's Certificate less than two years after restarting.
Created in 1950, this Danish airline was extremely successful and was renowned for its great service. It has been linked with several great airlines that are still in business today, such as Lufthansa and Scandinavian Airlines. In 2008, it was large and powerful enough to absorb parts of a bankrupt airline called Sterling Airlines, but this proved to be its downfall. Just four years later it, too, had to file for bankruptcy, and the run was effectively over. There was an attempt by Scandinavian Airlines to get it going again according to The Local, but this did not pan out either.
Gandalf Airlines is perhaps one of the funnest airlines to have been lost to time. This Italian airline, operated just outside of Milan, was created by Luciano Di Fazio, who just so happened to be a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan. He so loved The Lord of the Rings that the Eye of Sauron was emblazoned on the seat covers on every flight, and the theme from The Hobbit was played in every cabin. Unfortunately, though, this airline was short-lived. It opened in 1998, but according to RunwayGirlNetwork.com, it saw a huge decrease in the cities it served starting in 2003, and went bankrupt by 2004. Perhaps one day Frodo can go on a quest to bring it back.