Interview With ATA Insider On Day His Airline Went Bankrupt

ATA airlines abruptly ceased to exist this morning, leaving travelers to scramble for refunds and alternate booking arrangements. An ATA insider took time out from looking for a new job to give The Consumerist the inside scoop:

ATAinsider: The airline lost an important contract [with Federal Express] that involved the AMC [Air Mobility Command] and became financially insolvent. As of this morning, they filed and we have essentially closed. With the prices of fuel, all the eggs are in the charter basket right now. So since we lost our bread and butter contract, we couldn’t afford to do scheduled service.
benpopken: Did you find about it before going to work today?
ATAinsider: I did not, but it was on the news, apparently the press release was at 0500.
benpopken: What was the mood like once people started finding out?
ATAinsider: Very sad. It seemed somewhat inevitable, but we all had hopes, you know? People had been there for 25 or more years and the worst part is, their loyalty paid off for nothing in the end. Seems to be the state of affairs anymore.
benpopken: They won’t be handing out any gold watches, that’s for sure.
ATAinsider: Nope, and the best anyone can hope for is unemployment.

For passengers seeking information on ATA refunds or rebooking, check out this post.