I paid attention at the time, I might have thought that this, N801TW,
was TWA’s first Convair 880. But I would have been wrong.
Although the prototype was indeed registered N801TW in the
beginning, things got a bit complicated. The prototype
N8499H while under test and modification work with Convair, and again
as N871TW when TWA bought it in 1964. This N801TW was delivered
in 1961, during which time the first N801TW was in flight test at
Convair. I at first had these facts all twisted around and I
thank Jon Proctor for clearing things up for me!
TWA used the 880 primarily for coast-to-coast
routes, but always with a stop in Chicago, Kansas City, or someplace
else in the Midwest. There were other schedules going
like Columbus, Pittsburgh or Denver. You can’t quite make out
sign on the boarding stairs, but my recollection of the time of day and
a 1964 TWA timetable suggest that this was to be the origination of
flight 121, leaving Philadelphia for Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles
in the mid afternoon. An example of the 880 in Delta markings
begun its taxi from an adjacent gate for the afternoon flight to
Baltimore and Atlanta.
TWA used the 880s until 1973-74, at which
time they were phased out in favor of more efficient 727s.
cockpit section of the original N801TW (later N871TW) survives at the Delta Airlines Museum in Atlanta.