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California’s PSA Pacific Southwest Airlines – Was the only way to fly for over 40 years!

California’s PSA Pacific Southwest Airlines – Was the only way to fly for over 40 years!

Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) was a California airline headquartered in San Diego that operated from 1949 to 1988.

  • It was the first large discount airline in the United States.
  • PSA called itself “The World’s Friendliest Airline” and painted a smile on its airplanes’ nose, the PSA Grinningbirds.

PSA’s Grinning Bird – California’s Best Airline!

  • PSA was very successful and a preferred carrier.
  • The Los Angeles Times called PSA “practically the unofficial flag carrier airline of California for almost forty years.”

I flew on over 100 PSA flights during the 1960s and 1970s. Planes were great including top service and always on time.

CW: Kenny Friedkin and his wife; Ticket; Schedules.

Kenny Friedkin founded the Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) in 1949 with a $1,000-a-month leased Douglas DC-3.

  • The PSA DC-3 flew one weekly round trip from San Diego to Oakland via Burbank.
  • Reservations were initially taken from a 6 foot by 12-foot war-surplus latrine that was refitted to serve as a ticket office.

PSA Aircraft and Monthly PSA Magazine.

The small airline proved a big success with budget travelers and in 1951, PSA crossed the bay and began flying to San Francisco.

  • Over the coming decades, California cities served included San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Burbank, Fresno, and Sacramento.

PSA Founders Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Friedkin Welcome Aboard. It was a partnership with Kenny as President and Jean as VP.

In 1955, PSA purchased two Douglas DC-4 aircraft from Capital Airlines and painted boxes around the windows to make the DC-4’s resemble more advanced Douglas DC-6 ‘s.

  • PSA had excellent service and was far better than flying today.

PSA had LOW FARES and First Class Service. Newspaper ads through the years.

In 1955, PSA purchased two Douglas DC-4 aircraft from Capital Airlines and painted boxes around the windows to make the DC-4’s resemble more advanced Douglas DC-6 ‘s.

  • During the 1960s, PSA operated Lockheed L-188 Electra aircraft on the San Diego-San Francisco route: these were replaced with Boeing 727 and Boeing 737 aircraft by the end of the decade.

Passengers aboard ing PSA flights and Stewardesses with children and passengers.

In the mid-1970s, PSA briefly operated Lockheed L-1011 aircraft before deeming them unprofitable and selling them off.

  • PSA expanded its service to Sacramento, San Jose, Long Beach, and Ontario during this period, and by 1980 was operating a hub at Los Angeles International Airport.

PSA Equipment and Interior.

After airline deregulation, California ‘s major intrastate airlines (PSA, Air California, Western Airlines, and United Airlines) were engaged in intense fare wars.

  • PSA attempted to extend its route network beyond California with flights to Reno, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix.

Flight Attendants graduating and the PSA performers.

The airline also introduced automated ticketing and check-in machines at several major airports, and briefly operated flights to Mexico.

  • When PSA’s plan to buy out the Dallas-based Braniff International assets fell flat, the airline expanded its route network northward to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

CW: Stewardesses were a big attraction to businessmen; Only tragic accident in PSA history; Smiling PSA Jet.

PSA used a new fleet of BAe 146 regional jets to serve smaller airports on the West Coast, such as Eureka, California, and Concord, California.

  • In 1986, PSA agreed to a merger with USAir, which was completed in 1987. PSA’s last flight took place on April 8, 1988.

CW: PSA PROP PLANE; Fresno Baggage Tag; EARLY SCHEDULE.

PSA HISTORY WEBSITE