Who the F*** Is, er, Was Western?

Western Airlines, Who the F*&@ Is


They aren’t kidding when they say what goes up must come down. I was working on a post about the new Western Airlines when I found out that they’re already going out of business!

The airline started service on January 18 from its base in Bellingham (Washington) to San Diego, Ontario, and Mesa (near Phoenix). Since Bellingham is so close to Vancouver, they thought they’d be able to steal traffic from across the border. Unless they had figured out a magic way to cross the border quickly (they didn’t), I would have been surprised if that strategy worked.

Airline dorks were pretty excited to see the Western name return to the skies 20 years after the original was bought by Delta. The airline even used “Still the Only Way to Fly” as their slogan, a take on the old Western’s line.

The airline was “wet leasing” a plane from XTRA Airways. That means XTRA was responsible for flying the airplane around under Western’s name. Apparently Western forgot that they had to actually pay XTRA for that privelege, and that’s where the trouble started.

Clue #1 – If you go to the Western website, click on the reservations link. It has said “System Update in progress . . . please check back later!” for at least a day now.

Clue #2 – XTRA Airways sent out a blast email yesterday with the following:

XTRA aviation are pleased to advise of the following
Availability update:
We will have a B737-400 with 12J / 138Y (150Y) which will be available for
ad-hoc Charter from 12 Feb – 01 April 2007 inclusive Please forward all
outstanding requests and any new request which Xtra Aviation will be happy to

Clue #3 – Well, this is more confirmation than a clue. The Bellingham Herald put out an article confirming that San Diego flights are canceled while the others likely will be as well. The company is out of money and is trying to find more. Good luck with that.

So, we say so long to Western. They almost made it a month.

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4 comments on “Who the F*** Is, er, Was Western?

  1. I think that they can still come back! There is certainly a desire from Bellingham residents to have more options, rather than having to drive all the way to Seattle. As for stealing Canadian travelers – I think that it is a good business plan! Already many Canadians come down to take advantage of the direct flights to Las Vegas. Bellingham airport is small meaning that you can get through it quicker, plus it’s way cheaper than trying to park at Vancouver International!

  2. Looks like a poorly executed attempt on par with the repeated attempts to put the Pan Am name back in the air. Clearly, brand recognition has a very short shelf life ;)

  3. My favorite Western story: back in my college days I was flying LAX-SLC-ORD on Western to return for the winter semester. There was snow at SLC. The flight was delayed 3 hours. Once we finally boarded, they treated everybody to a complimentary cocktail as a token of their appreciation. Why so generous? At least 3/4ths of the plane was filled with year’s cohort of 19 year-old LDS missionaries off to their posts. Everybody laughed at the silliness. The offer in goodwill setback the airline maybe 5-10 adult beverages.

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