In Remembrance of American Trans Air (ATA: 1973-2008) R.I.P


With Covid-19 pushing many airlines to bankruptcy and in some cases already doing so, countless airlines are under pressure to stay afloat.

And with all this going on, I am reminded by the last airline massacre in the years between 2007-2009. The economic crash of the late 2000’s claimed countless airlines. Although some are by this point almost (if not completely) forgotten about, one airline in particular should never be forgotten. And that is American Trans Air, or ATA as it was commonly referred as.

ATA was a charter airline based out of Indianapolis but it’s main airports were Chicago Midway, San Francisco and Oakland California.

The airline was founded in 1973 first had a fleet of Boeing 707’s. However into the late 1970’s and early 1980’s ATA added the DC-10, Boeing 727-100 & -200, Lockheed L-1011, and the 757-200/300. They would add the 737-300 and 737-800 to their fleet in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Unfortunately after over 40 years of service ATA finally went belly-up on April 3, 2008.

Don’t give your hopes up though. A handful of their former aircraft are still flying to this day. As one example: N520AT (757) was first delivered to ATA in 1998 and then sold to Ethiopian Airlines in 14/06/08. And later sold to DHL in 2016 where it still flies to this day.

”Flight 4586 from Honolulu to Phoenix was the last ATA flight, departing almost two hours late at 12:10am (HST) arriving April 3, 2008 at 8:48am (MST). Southwest Airlines owns and retains all ownership of the operating certificate and all assets held by ATA Airlines including trademarks, logos, etc.”

Source of this quote


I flew ATA from when I was born (1999) until their final week of operation. And I will cherish every moment of it for the rest of my life. ATA was truly ”An Honestly Different Airline” .

My first ATA flights were on their DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star. My last flight on them was one of their Boeing 757-300’s.

When I heard that ATA was no more, I cried my heart out. To this day I still tear up knowing that it is no longer around. It meant that much to me.

I’m hoping to interview as much former ATA employees as I can because I feel that this airline deserves more attention than it’s given today. I can personally guarantee you that ATA rivaled Southwest, United, Delta, Continental, U.S. Airways, and Hooters Air 😜 put together. No other airline will ever match the quality and hospitality that was American Trans Air.

Did you fly on ATA? If you did, what was your experience like?

ATA Airlines fleet: Boeing 707, Boeing 727-100/200, Boeing 737-300/800, Boeing 757-200/300, Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star, DC-10.










JUST A NOTE: If you are going to reply with a picture, site your source please.

I might make similar topics about former airlines such as Braniff International, Pan Am, TWA, US Air/US Airways, Aloha Airlines, National Airlines (20th century), etc.


I truly wish that ATA was still around. They didn’t deserve the fate they got.

Didn’t you make this same thread the other day?

Yes, but it was taken down because I didn’t site my source of some of the images I replied with. 😕

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