American Airlines' flights to and from St Louis will soon be history

Tuesday, July 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

American Airlines made headlines last week after it announced a drastic series of job cuts and flight reductions in St. Louis. But that affects more than just St. Louis.

Starting November 1st, American will no longer offer direct flights between St. Louis and Tulsa. And News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says that means lots of travelers will be looking for seats on far fewer flights.

You might not have noticed the announcement of American's reduced flights, but travel agent Lynn Scott did. "Between now and the end of August, the next four weeks, I have 17 people that were either going to be going directly to St. Louis or that was going to be their connection to go on to their next city." You might recognize one of them. Former Tulsa Police Chief Drew Diamond travels to Washington D.C. as often as once a week as part of his current job with a police research group.

He says when American added the St. Louis hub a few years back, he noticed the difference immediately. "By taking the early flight through St. Louis on American, it would get me there at 11:00 in the morning, instead of 1:30 in the afternoon, so it saved me half-a-day in terms of my productivity. It has a lot to do with planning meetings and whether you save some time and get in extra meetings or not.”

In a mid-sized city like Tulsa, non-stop flights are always harder to come by, so you hate to lose a few, no matter what city they're going to. "Direct flights are always everybody's preference, and we have so few out of Tulsa."

"For business travelers, I think that 5:40 a.m. flight believe it or not seemed to be a pretty popular flight, plane seemed pretty full, most of the time.” But not enough apparently, for American to make money on the deal. American has been making five flights per day between Tulsa and St. Louis.

When those flights are gone, that leaves just two Southwest Airlines flights per day between the two cities. American customers headed east will have to go through Chicago and Dallas.