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Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Dennis Rogers (
Date: February 23, 2002 09:15PM

is Like Loosing an Old Friend.

I am going to miss Piedmont Airlines.

It won’t make any difference to most airline travelers of course. The name on the tail of the aircraft in which you fly is of no real significance to anyone other than the stockholders and the employees. They all cost about the same to fly and they all get you there most of the time.

To the folks at USAIR who recently made a deal to buy Piedmont it is solely a business decision. Piedmont has been a successful profitable airline for several years, and it was prime pickings for the merger moguls and corporate raiders who buy and sell companies like you and I buy and sell cars. Somebody is going to make a lot of money and that is what it is all about.

But Piedmont represents more than a bottom line to the people of North Carolina. It is our airline, it is Air Carolina, if you will, our very own homegrown little puddle jumper that made it big.

Don’t get me wrong I have no stake in Piedmont. I don’t own any stock in the company, and I don’t know anyone who does but I’ve flown Piedmont enough to make it my first choice. And when I fly, it feels like I’m flying with home folks.

There was a sense of coming home when I flew Piedmont. Coming back from overseas in the mid 1960’s I flew a variety of big airline jets including Northwest Orient, TWA, American and Delta to get to Atlanta, and then I crawled on a little rattling Piedmont propeller driven plane and headed for North Carolina. It was like catching a ride home with a neighbor.

I was traveling in uniform with several other guys and we were all heading for Raleigh on our way to our homes in Eastern North Carolina. There were not many people on the plane- unlike now when it seems that everybody is trying to get to Raleigh and the stewardess, who had a brother in the war , took time to chat with us. She asked us all where we were from and when I told her I was from Wilson we got to talking about mutual friends. I hadn’t met anyone for a long time who even knew where Wilson was.

She was one of us, a pretty North Carolina girl with a sweet southern accent, and as we flew above the dark Southern fields below, we knew we’d made it home even before the plane touched down. And that sweet thing served us free drinks all the way.

Piedmont brought travel to Eastern North Carolina when no one else would take a chance. Sure we made fun of it. We called it Trans-Terrify-ing Airways. But while the big airlines were battling to get landing rights in New York, you could fly in and out of Goldsboro on Piedmont Airlines. I remember one night from Fayetteville to Washington, Two of us soldiers were on a prisoner pickup assignment and as we took off from Fayetteville, the pilot said we’d be stopping in Goldsboro. I wasn’t aware of an airport at Goldsboro and as we came in for a landing it was obvious that we were landing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. That little Piedmont plane landed in midst of the giant war planes and taxied to a stop outside a mobile home that was the terminal.

You’ve got to feel kindly toward an airline like that.

Piedmont has been the nice neighbor down the block who worked hard and made a success of himself, the kind of guy that everyone in town pulled for. And now our neighbor is leaving home for the big city.

And besides, Piedmont has a safe track record and that is important to scared flyers like me. Piedmont’s last fatality occurred in 1968 and last year a study showed that Piedmont had the fewest number of what the industry calls “ Incidents”—which are anything from a blown light bulb to a blown engine---of any other airline in the country.

Piedmont’s success has mirrored the success of North Carolina. It wasn’t long ago that our state was just another sleepy Southern state and only home folks flew Piedmont. But North Carolina and piedmont have hit it big in the last decade and, while I’m not a Wall Street business analyst, it seems that the two success stories must be related.

USAIR says it has no plans at the present to change the name of Piedmont Airlines. They say it will be a wholly owned subsidiary with its own name and identity, But those in the know say that won’t last---the best guess is that the name might change after a year or so--- and one day we’ll go out to the airport and there won’t be a Piedmont anymore.

That won’t make much difference to most people, I suspect. But it will to me.

Those of us who have had to live away from the South have all experienced the heart-warming joy of hearing a telephone operator with a Southern accent when we called home from whatever corner of the world we found ourselves in. It was the same with Piedmont. Other airlines flew anywhere you wanted to go, but for a long time, if a North Carolina boy or girl was flying home, they flew on Piedmont.

I’ll miss that.

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: March 07, 2002 10:51PM

I have looked at it from every possible angle over the years, but it all comes down to this for me.......
A small group of people made a huge series of bad decisions over a short period of time that would affect a massive amount of people for a very long time.
It was a mistake to sell Piedmont.
It was a mistake to take the name off the side of over 200 Jets and commuter planes.
It was a mistake to change the way things had been done since 1948.
It was a mistake to sell off the heritage so many had worked so hard for so many decades.
My 5 years at Piedmont were only a drop in the hat compared to those who dedicated their entire lives to it only to see it die.
Read the history through 1989 and you will see the truth too.
It was a mistake!
Don't believe it, do a search on the net under USAirways and read a little bit. You will see it too.

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: H. W. Robinson (
Date: May 06, 2002 08:03PM

It is a shame they can't clone Mr. Tom Davis. He made Piedmont what it was and is. I married one of those "Southern Belles" you spoke of, and me being in the words of other airlines "a ramp rat". I hope without being out of line "We at PI thankyou, Sir". Y'all come back if we can come back. Thankyou, Hubert Wm. "Robin" Robinson (

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Thoughts from a former USAir
Posted by: Randy (
Date: August 16, 2002 10:19PM

worker...BHM,1989-1995....Getting hired on in BHM in June of 1989 was on eof the happiest days of my life.Our team in BHM really worked hard to give customers outstanding service.Sadly,US has for too long now suffered from the Pan Am plague...whatever they to do fails....(codeshare w/ select,ect)I liked PI too.But lets be fare to US...this industry is much different today,than in PI's glory days,the 80's.....

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Re: Thoughts from a former USAir
Posted by: leslie palter (
Date: December 27, 2002 04:03AM

i do agree for sure that times have changed . But being a former PIEDMONT employee, I do believe that kindness goes a long way. I truly believe that that is the key in making usairways survive.......actually , they should have kept the Piedmont name and logo. paxs loved it. but....egos got in the way. Unfortunately egos dont make money. One big bad business move from the start. Can we turn it around. I believe yes. But even though I am a northern gal........A little bit of hometown hospitality goes a long way. Paxs like to see smiling faces.Paxs have been so used to being treated like cattle the past 8 or 9 years.......My decision would be to bring back that old Piedmont hometown pride. It takes money to make money. Hand out orange juice in line during a bad weather day............
Show you care and mean it. But this has to come from upper mgmt. and all the way down. It this extremly competative industry,cutting job wages not all that is going to cut it.......
Any former Piedmont employee thats been around for a while knows what I mean. Paxs are sick and tired of stuffy , shorstaffed airline employees that barely have time to to the things we could do when Piedmont was piedmont........Well, through out the years the name has changed....along with our not so flattering uniform.....but the PI spirit in us still lives....and believe it or not, our paxs can spot us a mile away.

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: December 28, 2002 04:14AM



I agree with you completely!

It is SO heart warming to see that another person sees the same truth I have known since the bitter end of it all back in 1989.
Kindness IS the one true good in life that transends generations, races, ages, coastlines, and hearts.
Without it, they might as well just pack er up and close it!

God Bless You,


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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Rich (
Date: March 07, 2004 03:10AM

Word in the Observer is that someone is trying to start a low-fare airline out of CLT... What if he were to buy the rights to PI from US???

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: floydk (
Date: March 14, 2004 02:48AM

If only it were the other way around!! Had Piedmont bought US Air, I doin't think they'd be in such sad shape. Nor wpouild BAL be a major fortress of Southwest.

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Lynda (
Date: March 17, 2004 05:53PM

The memories I have of being employed with Piedmont Airlines are some of the most vivid and heartwarming I will ever have. The people, the friends I have to this day (20 years later) who worked for this fledgling carrier that turned into a beautiful big bird carrying us, along with our dreams, to places we'd never been, remain dear to me. Everything was so new. We were all young, the airline was young...we were so fired up about our jobs with this great airline! Tom Davis created the atmosphere of Piedmont being one big happy family....and that was true until the day of the merger. Those of us who were lucky enough to have worked for Piedmont...the last great airline...were blessed, indeed. ~Lynda

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: BT (
Date: October 05, 2004 03:35AM

It is just a matter of time before US Airways is sold off in pieces. I have observed President and CEO, Dave Siegel explain and plead with labor to cut dramatically. I would be very shocked if there were more than token concessions as we've seen to date. That wouldn't be the case if it was still Piedmont. Everyone would do what had to be done to make things work. However, we must live in the reality of it. So, wouldn't it be nice to see a new Piedmont emerge from the ashes of her wicked stepmother, US Airways? A new Piedmont that would retake its glory days of old. Can't be done some say? I don't think so. The Piedmont spirit is capable of anything. If JetBlue, and Southwest can do it, then it can be done. Just give it some thought. My father used to tell me if you want to make money in this world, take an old idea, and make it better. That sounds like a start.

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Re: Buyout of Piedmont Airlines
Posted by: Fred Dixon (
Date: December 30, 2004 09:57PM

There is a special place in hell reserved for Bill Howard and Edward Colodny for the roles they played in this despicable merger.

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