At that moment some marketing genius decided that if they were struck with old airplanes, they might as well decorate them to look even older.
In a most novel marketing ploy to make the old birds as attractive as possible, the company looked at pictures of old railroad cars, measured the aircraft for lace headrest covers, gold-filigreed wallpaper, and Victorian curtains, and painted two of its remaining DC-3s in a Gay Nineties theme and christened them “Gas Light Service” aircraft.
The theme was applied brilliantly – with a marketing ploy designed to make businessmen feel as if they were enjoying an exclusive “private club” type of service - interiors of the planes featured brocade curtains and carriage lamps, the flights were restricted to men only, every Stewardess was dressed like a dance hall lady passing out 5 cent cigars, pretzels, and free beer,... and the airline schedules carried the warning that passengers should close the windows when going through tunnels.
It was a wonderfully silly promotion that worked brilliantly; suddenly passengers wanted to fly the previously scorned airplanes instead of their faster rivals. During the two years of service, 1960-62, Mohawk served 31,700 cans of beer, 17,600 cigars, a ton of pretzels, and half a ton of cheese, and earned enough money to buy new airplanes.
The company finally retired the last of its DC-3s in 1962.
When hired by Mohawk Airlines on 11 February 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor became the first African-American flight attendant in the United States. Six months after breaking one historic barrier, Ruth Taylor's career ended due to another discriminatory barrier: the airline's marriage ban, a common practice among airlines of the day. Airlines often dismissed flight attendants who married or became pregnant.
In 1961 Mohawk was the first airline to use a centralized computer-based reservation service, and in 1965 the first regional airline to use flight simulators
What happened to Mohawk? Zapped by the triple whammy of a long, bitter strike, a recession and the shutdowns of General Electric plants in the Northeast — Mohawk’s main source of corporate traffic — the airline never made it to the deregulation starting line. It was sold to Allegheny in 1972.