Absolutely nothing can properly describe how important the heyday of Midwest Express service was to Milwaukeeans. It defined the way we felt about ourselves. A brand of hospitality and niceness that was unwavering and uncompromising: yes, we are Milwaukee, yes we will give you the absolute best care you have ever had in air travel, yes we will bombard you with amazing spirit and pride, and no, we will not make excuses the other airlines make that is was too hard or too expensive to be done.
It was so special to Milwaukeeans and to those involved in air travel, and an incredible source of pride being from and living in southeastern Wisconsin. I was born in 1984, so I grew up during the 80's and 90's, when this airline was experiencing it's halcyon days. Not only did it make flying a much less frustrating experience, it was and absolute PLEASURE to fly. You would look forward to it. Everyone talks about the cookies and yes, that was a special touch, but it was only a small representation of a bigger experience that Midwest Express offered. And to have non-stops from a Milwaukee hub? Incredibly amazing. I will never forget going on plane trips as a young child on Midwest, it was like a vacation. There I am eating steak, with oodles of room, getting my own wings from the flight attendants. When you were a kid you were scared to fly, especially when I had to go alone, and it made all the difference that I was flying on Midwest Express. These are things you just don't experience anymore in the drudgery of air travel.
Not only that, Milwaukeeans loved it because it was OURS. Yes we have our own airline, yes it kicks ass, and yes we take the indomitable friendly spirit of our hometown wherever we go. There was no separation in classes, everyone on the plane had the same seats, it was a very uniting feeling. You could feel the pride in everyone that stepped in and off that plane and everyone that worked for the airline. It was an amazing experience. All those great memories kept flooding back yesterday as the announcements of the return of Midwest Express came through. But for me, there was also a twinge of fear...
As special as the memories were with this great airline, I would hate for the name to be sullied and used for a product that is less than the great experience we once knew in Milwaukee. What bothered me the most when it was sold to Republic in 2009 was that they emaciated everything that was quality about the brand, however they kept the cookies to try and trick people into thinking they still provided the same service. Hopefully this go around will be much different.
As I always do, I started looking up stuff on YouTube when this announcement came, and came across these legendary and emotionally charged commercials that Midwest Express used to run. Watch and enjoy, i'm sure you'll get goosebumps just as I did.
Credit: YouTube/ron ferrell