Midwest Airlines: The Milwaukee Brewers Are More Important Than You

Midwest Airlines flies the Milwaukee Brewers on their planes through a “charter service” says the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but the Brewers weren’t grounded like the over 100,000 other passengers who were booked on MD-80s.

The airline flies the baseball team on the planes through a charter service. But Midwest voluntarily grounded its fleet of 13 MD-80s last week in response to the FAA’s grounding of American Airlines flights on MD-80s after problems showed up in inspections.

But the Brewers made it to New York last Thursday because Midwest used one of its Boeing 717s instead. Those planes normally fly commercial routes but one was used to take the Brewers to play against the Mets.

Spokesman Michael Brophy says the Brewers took only one trip on the plane.

Hey, it’s good to be a baseball team.

The (momentarily division leading) Chicago Cubs would never do this. They would volunteer to ride cursed goats all the way from Chicago to NYC. Both ways. Up hill. Except for Lou Piniella, who would instead propel himself to the Big Apple with the power of his screaming. Not really.

Midwest Airlines flies Brewers to New York while other passengers wait [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

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  1. SarcasticDwarf says:

    Disclaimer: I do live in Milwaukee but I don’t care for sports.

    We have to realize that celebrities and the wealthy will ALWAYS be treated differently. We need to stop pretending that we live in some kind of ridiculous utopia.

  2. The revenue the Brewers bring to Milwaukee will more than cover refunds for those 100,000 passengers. And don’t you know, celebs and athletes are the most important people in the universe!!!

    That doesn’t make it right tho’…

  3. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Next time you reserve an entire plane, I bet Midwest will have no problem switching out models. You also must take into account the number of flights reserved over a season by the team. It’s probably a lot of money. Yes, your one seat on one flight does not even begin to compare.

  4. satoru says:

    You have to think of it from Midwest’s perspective. The contract they have probably has stiff penalties for not flying the players out on time. Even if you account for 172 passengers, I’m sure the penalties and the bad blood from the ball club will outweigh even 172 passengers.

    Personally I’ve liked the few times I’ve flown Midwest. Their cookies are yummy :)

  5. @ceejeemcbeegee: That game in New York generates millions of dollars in economic activity. How much economic activity do you generate?

  6. b-real says:

    Everyone is right about this so far… this is a professional sports team that generates a LOT of revenue for Midwest. Keep them happy b/c it’s a sound business decision. Your lowly economy seat doesn’t compare.

  7. vildechaia says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers the curse of The Goat!

  8. SarcasticDwarf says:

    For those that don’t read it or realize it, Midwest Airlines is based out of Milwaukee and is fairly closely tied to the community (both socially and economically). Their main hub is in Milwaukee along with their call center and most of their customers. Given that, pissing off tens to hundreds of thousands of people (and you KNOW the stories would get out) just to get a couple dozen more people to their destination on time makes no sense.

  9. nequam says:

    This is not like getting passed over for a table at a restaurant because a celebrity walks in. It’s a straight up business decision.

  10. This is news? Let’s be frank here, there’s more than a slight difference between the Brewers’ flight contract and the nonrefundable discount ticket you buy on Priceline. You pay more, you get treated differently. That’s not unreasonable.

    And what about the 46,000 people who made plans and bought tickets to see the game? It helped them too, didn’t it?

  11. @Steaming Pile: Hmm… my company did $2.8 billion in US sales last year and created over 7000 jobs across the nation, plus our charitable foundation raised over $1.7 million to fight breast cancer and donated another $1.2 million to domestic violence shelters.

    And you?

  12. Nighthawke says:

    Beer, peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, souvenirs.

    I can hear my wallet crying now…

  13. MeOhMy says:

    The people (or their expense account backers) who pay for business/first class are also more important than me.

  14. ganzhimself says:

    Yes, the Milwaukee Brewers are more important than you… Especially to a company whose operations are based out of Milwaukee. Get a multi-million dollar contract with Midwest Airlines and they’ll do everything within their power to make sure you get to your destination.

  15. You’re damn right the Brewers are more important.

  16. I’m sure they pay a lot more for transportation than I do.. it sucks, but that’s business for you!

  17. mmmmdoughnuts says:

    maybe that was the cubs excuse for getting swept in the first round of the playoffs last year…they rode a goat to Arizona? Or are you still blaming Bartman for everything that goes wrong?

    Good choice MWA…I’d have been surprised to hear it happened any other way.

  18. @ceejeemcbeegee: would all your company’s critical employees fit on one plane?

  19. braindesign says:

    not that anyone will do more than glance over this post, but considering the planes were grounded for safety concerns…let the brewer’s tempt fate if they will.

    why is the consumer nation slighted by not being allowed to fly on a potentially unsafe plane?

  20. nequam says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: And you alone are to credit for that?

    By your logic (equating Mary Kay’s revenues to your own), you still lose. MLB exceeded $6 billion in revenues last year.

  21. chucklebuck says:

    @Meg:

    If Dusty Baker was still running the Cubs, he’d make the pilot throw 148 pitches every 4 days until the pilot needed Tommy John surgery and a shoulder scope, then let him go fly San Diego’s charter flights on the cheap. Or he’d turn the pilot into a closer and only let him fly really short routes where the landing would involve a close call.

  22. @nequam:
    @The Count of Monte Fisto:
    @Steaming Pile:
    You’ve all completely misread my meaning.

    For starters, I wasn’t dissing the Brewers or the fact they took the plane. In fact, I thought I was supporting them by saying that the money they bring into the city would more than cover the passengers refunds, so who cares? But I also think it would kinda suck to be one of those stranded passengers.

    Or did y’all not get that? You didn’t? ::shrugs:: Oh well, moving on…

  23. GoSpursGo says:

    The Brewers are more important than regular people anyway. It’s a fact, you won’t have TV stations waiting to interview you (most likely), won’t have people cheering for you (most likely), and won’t have people paying to come see you do your job (definitely).

  24. Meg Marco says:

    @chucklebuck: Yay.

  25. @ceejeemcbeegee: Uh, first of all, your original post was clearly sarcastic, and secondly, you ended up by saying it wasn’t right. So we all got it, but feel free to move on anyway.

  26. joe23521 says:

    Midwest may be one of the last non-evil airlines still in business. Plus, the Brewers won the series against the Mets in NYC, can’t we all just be happy about that?

  27. ellis-wyatt says:

    Well, let’s see: Midwest Airlines is based in Milwaukee; the Brewers are based in Milwaukee; Midwest has a charter agreement with the Brewers. In addition, and worth mentioning, the Brewers were owned for about 35 years by Bud Selig, who only sold the team when he was forced to because he became the commissioner of major league baseball. Do you really think Midwest was going to ground the Brewers under these circumstance? Extremely doubtful. Even if they considered grounding them, how long do you think it would have taken them to receive a phone call from Selig? I betting they did all they could to avoid that. It’s called business and it’s also called the reality.

  28. juri squared says:

    @braindesign: Speaking of glancing over posts, did you read the part where they pulled a 717 off its regular duties to fly the Brewers?

    Anyways, I flew Midwest a couple weeks ago and it was the best flying experience I’ve ever had. So maybe I’m feeling biased when this doesn’t really bother me as much as it could. The Brewers paid for their plane and a LOT of other flights; Midwest made it happen.

    Also, they bake cookies onboard! Warm, delicious, free chocolate chip cookies!

  29. jcf70816 says:

    Nowhere does the article state that the 717 that was used was pulled from active use. Airlines do have a spare plane or two that aren’t being used on any given day that they could have pressed into service for this.

    I’d also be willing to bet that other airlines that have contracts to move sports teams around the country did the same exact thing as Midwest. Did anyone else notice that this article is not from a Milwaukee newspaper, but from the Minneapolis newspaper? Now, why would people in Minneapolis care about such a thing?

  30. flyingphotog says:

    @joe23521:

    As an Astros fan, no I can’t be happy for the Brewers. I go agree that Midwest did the right thing.

  31. milw123 says:

    @mmmmdoughnuts: Hey, come on; the Cubs thought spring training had come early-they played those games with a split squad.

  32. Notice how it was the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that broke the story? Stupid muck-raking Twins fans.

    /kidding

  33. nequam says:

    @flyingphotog: The plane was pulled off another route. It’s not clear from the OA, but other articles mention it. Midwest went so far as to refuse to reveal what active route the plane was borrowed from.

  34. lightaugust says:

    @chucklebuck: Funny, but you’re aiming for a pretty select audience.

  35. East_Coast_Midwesterner says:

    I am from the MKE originally, and yes… I am one of the few true Brewers faithful.

    I say let them fly ahead of all.

    AND

    MW Airlines is the best in the country. Great seats…. cookies?

  36. chucklebuck says:

    @lightaugust:

    I thought the long-suffering Cubs fan was a universal archetype.

    (Disclaimer: Astros fan, bound to be suffering far more than any Cubs fan this season).

  37. Remind me again who won the division last year? Exactly. pwned!

  38. PHX602 says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O:

    Exactly. And the Brewers contract will most certainly have a Service Level Agreement. Certainly, there would be heavy recourse if said SLA were not met.

    It’s probably the best alternative Midwest had — rebook no more than 88 passengers on a flight within the rules of the carrier agreement (assuming 100% load factor), or violate an agreement with a corporation which probably employs several lawyers in search of something to do.

  39. Buran says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: But, still, how much did they lose from the vouchers they had to give out to all the people who were supposed to have flown on that plane?

  40. guruscotty says:

    they flew a bunch of overpaid cry-babies on a jet deemed not safe for the rest of us?

    Sounds fair in a sick sort of way.

    Still – screw those guys. All of ‘em. Twice.

  41. compuguy1088 says:

    @joe23521: Agreed, they are one of the better airlines…they still give those warm chocolate chip cookies on some flights…

  42. mikelotus says:

    The Boeing 717′s are new and were not grounded for safety reasons. It was the MD-80′s. Oh thee that have eyes, yet can not see.

  43. radio1 says:

    Why is this a big deal?

    Different plane and a CHARTER service. Good God, The Brewers clearly have a contract with MA.

    The outrage, a ‘safe’ plane used by the organization that chartered it?

    What’s next Consumerist, women who used the men’s room in bars and restaurants when the lines are long for the women’s room?

  44. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @mikelotus:
    I might be wrong, but isn’t a Boeing 717 actually a MD-80, which is a DC-9?

    Each time Douglas Aircraft was merged, the DC-9 got a new designation.

  45. sn1per420 says:

    A client who buys thousands of tickets a year gets more attention than one who buys anywhere between 1-10? Wow, I never would have seen that coming.

  46. ZekeSulastin says:

    @Buran: Quite likely a great deal less than they would have lost for not flying the Brewers.

    Of course, it takes some level of common sense to deduce that business consideration, which it seems some people here lack.

  47. *snort*

    You mean the Cubs who threw the 1918 WS, Meg? It could only be 90 years of suffering instead of 100…

    And Cards fans would carry their team across the country on their broad midwestern backs, cause that’s just how we do.

  48. surreal says:

    @East_Coast_Midwesterner: i guess you haven’t flown them lately. i hate to be the one to break it to you, but the “signature seating” is now a luxury on midwest. i was DEVASTATED, especially since last time i flew i forked over an extra $40 just to fly midwest. just fyi, one midwest faithful to another.

  49. surreal says:

    @surreal: by luxury i mean that it is only available on “select flights”

  50. Namrepus says:

    Didn’t these guys complain that Furries cost them 3 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates last year?

  51. Sarcastichobbes says:

    Must be Cub fans who are the writers on Consumerist

    must suck to be you

    Brewers FTW!

  52. BigElectricCat says:

    IMO, the plane in question was probably a ‘hot spare,’ an aircraft held in reserve in case of mechanical or other issues. If another plane goes down for some reason, roll out the hot spare and put the pax on board. Problem solved.

    And as far as the Brewers go; better pax get better treatment. I don’t fly for work any more, but when I did, I had top-level frequent-flyer status with two different airlines and mid-level status with two others. If you’re on one of those airlines when delays come up, they will go out of their way to accommodate you. Not so much for the once-a-year flyers who booked on Priceline.

    I know it sounds unfair, but if you were shelling out two or three thousand bucks a week to fly around the country for work, you’d expect better treatment from your preferred airline, too. The Brewers are no different.

  53. AlexTNOA says:

    @vildechaia:

    Who in Chicago or has ever watched a nationally televised Cubs game doesn’t remember the curse of the goat? Its mentioned at least once a game any time the Cubs are on Fox or ESPN, especially now in the centennial year of the World Series drought.

  54. Japheaux says:

    I wonder if the airline could get Howard Stern’s Kielbasa Queen to fly to Milwaukee and enter the sausage race–just to make everyone happy…and do it when the Cubs are in town and call it Choke Night.

  55. mmmmdoughnuts says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: We all watched the division winners get swept in Arizona…which is disappointing because the team that lost the division would have actually put up a fight.

  56. LogicalOne says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: A Boeing 717 is NOT an MD-80. The 717 is larger than a commuter jet but smaller than a 737. AFAIK, only Midwest Airlines bought them domestically. Boeing has announced that it will stop production of the 717.

  57. BigElectricCat says:

    @LogicalOne:

    AirTran bought quite a few B717s; in fact, they were the launch customer IIRC.

    If you ever pass through the airport in ATL, mosey over to concourses C & D; you’re likely to see many of them.

  58. ViperBorg says:

    Go Cubs!

    That is all.

  59. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @radio1: “What’s next Consumerist, women who used the men’s room in bars and restaurants when the lines are long for the women’s room?” I complain about that whenever I see it. It’s annoying.