An Obituary for Ted

Tedward, known to all as “Ted,” was taken off life support yesterday, June 4, after a long illness. He is survived by his father, United. He was only 4 years old.

Ted’s life was a very common and familiar story. His father, United, had a long history of tawdry affairs with low cost carriers. United’s first child, Shuttle, came to be after sexy Southwest moved to town, but Shuttle passed away in 2001. (You can still see his remains scattered throughout the United 737 fleet.) Ted was his second child, born after pretty-young-thing Frontier caught United’s attention in Denver. The two children couldn’t have been more different. While Shuttle spent most of his time with businessmen and women, Ted was more of a man of leisure.

Growing up wasn’t easy for Ted. He was teased as a child with taunts like “Ted is the ass end of United.” Even his father’s employees snapped at him with chants like “Ted is United without ‘U-N-I’.” That chant subsided when it was decided to avoid any meaningful cost savings and have United’s employees work with Ted for the same pay, but Ted never forgot those times.08_06_04 tedgrave Despite these troubles, Ted was modestly successful in his early years. He grew quickly and found himself traveling to places like Florida, Arizona, Vegas, and Mexico. Unfortunately, he became a tremendous distraction for United, who spent long hours and loads of money on his son while other, far greater problems brewed.

Ted tried to take it all in stride. He listened to his TedTunes, watched Tedevision, read TedTimes, and eschewed the First Class luxuries that his father embraced, but he was never able to fully escape his darker side. As he entered his awkward teens, he began drinking (lemonade, which his father did not support). Then Ted fell in with the wrong crowd. He started hanging out on the South Side of Chicago, over on Cicero Ave, with all those bald Irish guys (at left, incredibly from an actual ad that ran). His stay there was short, and he soon started to drift.

Eventually, Ted’s personality began to fade as his family belatedly began to focus on other more important problems. The music was gone, he started reading his father’s magazine, and he even stopped drinking his forbidden lemonade. If it weren’t for that big blue nametag and the lack of First Class seats, nobody would have even known who he was.

Ted continued to ply his trade even though his support system kept getting weaker and weaker. Finally, Ted succumbed to his long illness after months of speculation.

Ted has opted to donate his organs for a necessary aircraft transplant for his father, by whom he is survived. In lieu of flowers, please donate cold, hard cash at

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16 Comments on "An Obituary for Ted"

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“no one would have even known who he was” Or ever did know who he was. Or cared. Here is Denver, UAL second city hubville, people never cared because there was never anything compelling or different about Ted. Even the occasional Joe Flyer knew that Ted was simply UAL dumbed down a bit to brand match Southwest. Unlike Frontier vs Southwest – a struggle our residents actually have a vested interest in – people never made a conscious decision to fly Ted. They only flew Ted because the airplane went where they were going. Some at work said they didn’t… Read more »

lol…LOVE the allusion to Midway.


Best post ever, CF.


LMFAO, very funny Cranky, nice job!

mechanic x

hahahahahahahahahaha!!! well written!

David SF eastbay

Did you ever look at the TED route map, it was like a 2 yr old just drew some lines on a map. Anywhere UA needed to match a lost cost carriers route, they plopped TED on the same route. They might have done better if they had just set TED up in a secondary city as a hub flying between leisure destinations. But then again all the airlines within an airline vanish after awhile. Why do the majors even try?


Best, wittiest, smartest dead-on analogy I’ve read on this website.


Excellent writing…. Thanks Cranky!


Setting up a secondary hub to beat WN? Sounds like MetroJet at BWI.

Mike Reston VA

Excellent obituary!!! Show’s when there is no direction the results are always disastrous. May god rest “TED” soul in peace.

Tucano Bandeirante

I’d like to sum up Ted with this little haiku:

UAL Kills Ted
Cheap Airline Couldn’t Take Off
Is United Next?

Thank you.


No more “TED wants you to be safe.” No more colorful headsets. No more half can of soda. No more “TED is happy to see you.” RIP TED.

I don’t understand these people that are hoping for United to fail. Tucano – your “haiku” is ignorant, ill timed and utterly childish. United, American, Continental, Northwest, Southwest, US Airways and a myriad of other airlines keep the US economy rolling by moving money, literally and figuratively, around the US and into it from other countries. Yes, let’s see an airline fail that has hubs in 4 major cities in the United States so we can feel what true economic disaster and ruin feels like. The airports will flounder, city revenues will drop, and taxes will rise. I don’t know… Read more »
re: People need to get realistic about this industry, and be thankful that we have the brilliant airline service in this country that we do. /quote ok I just stopped shaking my head Scooby Doo style after reading that statement. Yes it is brillant that someone in Blanding, Utah can fly to Paris or Bangkok in two or three hops, or I can jet to Las Vegas for a night and fly back home. But the following things do not constitute a “brilliant” industry or environment: Surly and retalitory security agents Overscheduled/constantly packed flights (which leave zero contingency) Detainment for… Read more »
mechanic x
hmmmm. ilive paycheck to paycheck,so i don’t fly much. but i have had some interaction with customers , and i think james’ comments reflect a far too spoiled passenger demographic. some of the people (customers) that airline workers (not us mechanics, so much) have to deal with are just, well , stupid. that’s right. i said it. somebody had to. i’ve seen it all, and i don’t even deal with customers. agents being spit on by snot-nosed teenagers and old women. losers getting plastered and treating the agents, flight attendants like s*!t. the paying customer has become way too spoiled,… Read more »

Excellent obituary, Cranky, and I loved your haiku, Tucano. Ever heard of humor, airlineanalyst08? Maybe I shouldn’t ask. Yes, these are hard times for all airlines and their employees and I respect that, but we are still allowed a little smile here and there, aren’t we?