By Marvin G. Goldman
A warm welcome to Texas. I hope you enjoy our postcard trip through the skies of the Lone Star State as well as the Airliners International™ 2023 show and convention at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
This postcard shows a Trans-Texas Airways Douglas DC-3, airline issue late 1940s, with ‘linen’ finish.
Let’s start with postcards of airlines that served Texas and are now history, followed by leading airlines that continue to operate in Texas skies.
Braniff Airways Douglas DC-3 over Dallas, early 1940s, airline issue. Braniff Airways was incorporated in 1930. Originally based in Oklahoma, it moved its operation and maintenance base to Dallas Love Field in 1934 and its administrative headquarters to Dallas in 1942.
Braniff International Airways Convair 340, N3423, in service with Braniff during 1953-1967 (with an American Airlines Convair in the background), at Greater Fort Worth International Airport, Amon Carter Field. Braniff Airways changed its name to Braniff International Airways in 1948 and to Braniff International in 1965.
Of course, we cannot leave Braniff without noting one of its iconic “Flying Colors” aircraft. Here is Braniff International’s famous “747 Braniff Place,” Boeing 747-100, N601BN, airline-issued oversize postcard, 9 x 23 mm. The aircraft, based at Dallas/Fort Worth airport, served in Braniff’s fleet from 1971 until the airline’s demise in 1982.
Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-2, NC13735, over Houston, Texas. Airline issue, 1936-37. This postcard was republished in slightly different colors by Curteich in 1937 as no. 7A-H1739. Eastern’s predecessors started service in 1926, adopting the Eastern Air Lines name in 1934. In 1936 Eastern extended its route network to Texas by acquiring Wedell-Williams Air Service. Eastern continued as an airline until 1991.
Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-3 at Houston Municipal Airport (renamed Hobby Airport in 1967), probably in 1940s. Pub’r Bluebonnet News, Houston; printer Colourpicture H-12, 16910.
Central Airlines was a local service airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and operated in Texas and nearby states from 1949 until 1967 when it was acquired by the original Frontier Airlines. This postcard shows a Central DC-3 in a 1959 painting by Charles Hubbell to commemorate the 10. th anniversary of the airline. Publisher John Stryker, Western Fotocolor, Fort Worth, Texas, no. 29462
Frontier Airlines Convair 580, airline issue. On June 1, 1964, Frontier became the first airline to fly the Convair 580. This is the original Frontier Airlines that operated from 1950 to 1986.
Rio Airways de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter at Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Published by jjPostcards as part of a set of eight new postcards of aircraft at DFW presented to full convention registrants at Airliners International 2023 DFW. Rio Airways was a regional airline headquartered in Killeen, Texas, that operated from 1967 to 1987 in several Texas cities and eventually in neighboring states. At times it served at DFW under the Delta Connection brand and then as Braniff Express.
Trans-Texas Airways Douglas DC-3 “Starliner” flying over San Jacinto Monument, located about 16 miles east of Houston, Texas. A/I about 1949, printer Colourpicture, Boston, no. P1496, photo by Jim Thomas, Houston. Founded in the early 1940s, Trans-Texas changed its name to Texas International Airlines in 1969, and in 1982 it merged with Continental Airlines.
Continental Airlines Boeing 727-200, N29730, in service with Continental 1973 – 1995, airline-issued postcard featuring nonstop service to Houston, one of its major airport hubs.
Continental Airlines Boeing 777-200 at Houston International Airport, issued for the Airliners International show in 2002. Photo by Duane L. Young, and sponsored by jjPostcards—The World of Aviation Postcards. Continental merged with United in 2010.
Now let’s turn to some of the leading airlines currently serving Texas. We start with American Airlines which has the longest continuous operating history in Texas and maintains its headquarters in Fort Worth near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
American Airlines Douglas DC-3 at Fort Worth’s municipal airport, Meacham Field, probably in early 1937. Airline issue A-245-C. Predecessor airlines of American started operations in Texas in the 1920s, and American has grown its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to be the second largest in the U.S. (after Delta’s Atlanta hub). At DFW airport American has had a market share of up to 86% of all passengers.
American Airlines Convair 240 at El Paso International Airport, 1948 to 1950s. Publisher Petley 653.
American Airlines Boeing 707 and 727-100 at Dallas Love Field, probably in the 1970s. Pub’r All-Tom Corporation, Arlington TX, Dexter Press D-21998-C. (I hope that Braniff BAC-1-11 knows where it’s headed.)
American Airlines MD-80s converging on its DFW airport hub, 1990s. Pub’r The Texas Postcard Co., Plano TX D-150, 711.
Delta Air Lines started operating in Texas, from Dallas, in 1929. This postcard shows a Delta Convair at Jefferson County Airport serving Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, in the 1960s. Pub’r Edwards News Co., Port Arthur & Beaumont, printer Curteichcolor.
Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200, introduced in 1995. Airline issue, 2000.
United Airlines “Houston” destination postcard. When Continental Airlines merged with United in 2010, United acquired Continental’s huge hub in Houston and then expanded it further. United is the largest airline at Houston, carrying over 70% of its passenger traffic. Note: skyline pictured is actually Dallas, not Houston, TX.
Dallas, Houston, and other Texas airports are also served, of course, by many non-U.S. airlines. One of the earlier international entrants was KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Here is a KLM Douglas DC-8 at Houston (Hobby) International, 1960s. Pub’r H.S. Crocker MW-6.
Spirit Airlines Airbus A321, issued by Airbus Deutschland GmbH, no. 148. Low-cost Spirit serves over 20 destinations from Dallas/Fort Worth airport alone.
Frontier Airlines 737-200, N237TR, which entered service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Denver on September 24, 1999. Airline issue. The current low-cost Frontier Airlines started service in 1994 and now flies to some 20 destinations from Dallas alone.
We close with the airline that, along with American, is most associated with Texas skies – Southwest Airlines, also headquartered in Dallas. Southwest commenced operations in 1971 from its base at Love Field, Dallas. At first, it was an intrastate Texas airline, but in 1979 it started expanding to other states and eventually to international destinations as well. Today Southwest is the third largest airline in the U.S. (behind American and Delta) in terms of passengers carried.
Southwest Airlines 737-300, N352SW, in special “Lone Star One” livery designed in 1990 for Southwest’s 20 th anniversary, here with a special passenger. Al Canales collection.
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 on final approach to Dallas Love Field. Al Canales collection.
NOTES: All postcards in this article are from the author’s collection unless otherwise noted.
Below is my estimate of the rarity of the above postcards:
Rare: Trans-Texas DC-3 with hostess, Braniff DC-3 over Dallas, and Eastern DC-2 over Houston;
Uncommon: Central Airlines, Trans-Texas DC-3 over San Jacinto Monument, Continental 727-200 Houston, American DC-3 at Meacham Field, American Convair 240 at El Paso, Delta Convair at Jefferson County Airport, and KLM DC-8 at Houston;
The rest are fairly common.
I hope to see you at Airliners International™ 2023 DFW, June 22-24, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, next to Terminal C at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. This is the world’s largest airline history and collectibles show and convention, with more than 200 vendor tables for buying, selling, and trading airline memorabilia (including, of course, airline and airport postcards), seminars, the annual meeting of the World Airline Historical Society, annual banquet, tours and more.
Follow this link for more information on entering the postcard, model and photograph/slide contests.
Until then, Happy Collecting, Marvin
American Airlines postcard, artist Joseph Charles Parker, 5 x 7 in (12.7 x 17.8 cm). Part of a set of historic posters in postcard form believed to have been issued several years ago by American Airlines’ C. R. Smith Museum, Dallas.