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Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA)

Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) began providing service within California on May 6, 1949 with a DC-3 flight from San Diego to Los Angeles. As California grew, so grew PSA led by its low fares and innovative marketing.

Shortly after an unfortunate accident, PSA offered its first service outside of California with flights to Reno. Deregulation allowed both PSA and arch-rival Air California to expand service. Both airlines would be gobbled up by bigger airlines before the Awesome80s were over: PSA was acquired by USAir in 1988. Although all the aircraft were soon painted in USAir colors, a few smiles (see picture below) mischievously remained or were reapplied.

We know that a number of you know the PSA story really well. We've created over 10,000 pages on our two sites and simply haven't had the time to write a story worthy of PSA. If you know the history, why not share it with us? Use the "Share Your Memories" link below.


Known Fleet: BAe 146s, Douglas DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-6s, DC-9s, MD-80s, Lockheed L-188 Electras, L-1011 TriStars, Boeing 727s, 737s.


A PSA Boeing 727 - with the distinctive smile - seen on landing at LAX in June 1974.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at


Allen, Oliver E. The Airline Builders. Alexandria, Va: Time-Life Books, 1981.
Allen, Roy. The Pan Am Clipper: The History of Pan American's Flying Boats 1931 to 1946. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000.
Davies, R.E.G. Airlines of the United States Since 1914. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982
Davies, R.E.G. Pan Am: An Airline and Its Aircraft. New York: Orion Books, 1987.
Bilstein, Roger. Flight in America: From the Wrights to the Astronauts, Rev. ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
Heppenheimer, T.A. Turbulent Skies: The History of Commercial Aviation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.


Share Your Memories!

What do you remember about PSA? Were you an employee? Have you any interesting stories to share? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)



Image courtesy PSA

Airline: PSA


Location: US


Status: No longer exists

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