Thursday, January 1, 2015
United: One-Airline Service from the Pacific Northwest to Tokyo and Hong Kong, c.1985
Back in the mid-1980s, when East Asia was still referred to as "the Orient" and frequent flier programs were still new, it was apparently quite remarkable to be able to fly from a "top 100 U.S. business center" to the exotic Far East—not non-stop or one-stop, but one-airline. Nowadays, of course, airline alliances mean that what color the plane is painted in hardly matters any more, but in those days, printing boarding passes and baggage handling still were worth bragging about it print. Not entirely clear whether Portland, Oregon had trans-Pacific service as well, but clearly Seattle was acting as a gateway. United flew SeaTac-Tokyo until only last year; but today Delta is the main U.S. carrier with intercontinental services.