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Trans World Airlines Goes All-Jet

Lockheed L-1649A Starliner, Trans World Airlines (TWA)
[Photo: Jon Proctor]

By the 1960s, TWA’s Lockheed Constellations were relegated to short haul domestic routes and some cargo flying. The introduction of the Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9 accelerated the retirement of the Constellations.

Lockheed L-1649 Constellation TWA

On the night of April 6, 1967 ground service crews put a booklet in the seat back pockets of all of the TWA passenger aircraft titled “Props Are For Boats.”

TWA All Jet Ad

As the sun rose on April 7, history was made as TWA became the first US airline to go all pure-jet, having retired its Lockheed Constellations and Starliners the night prior. The last TWA passenger Connie service was flight 249 routing JFK > Philadelphia > Pittsburgh > Columbus > Louisville > St. Louis.

Lockheed L-049 Constellation, Trans World Airlines (TWA)Lockheed L749A N6022C TWA ConstellationLockheed L-749 Constellation, Trans World Airlines (TWA) N91210TWA 1950 Constellation AdTWA 1950 Constellation AdLockheed L-1649A Starliner, Trans World Airlines (TWA)Lockheed TWA Constellation

The next day the last Constellation flew to storage in Kansas City where there were 35 other Super Constellations and Starliners awaiting their fate. Two Connies, however, soldiered on after 7 April on cargo-only duties.

From the type’s dramatic delivery flight to Washington in 1944, flown by Howard Hughes, to the final passenger service in 1967, more than 140 examples of the Constellation family served TWA for 23 years.

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