First Class

Pair of US Airways Ceramic "First Class" Coffee Mugs (LEO Design)


In the 1990's the City of Pittsburgh built a shiny-new airport for its homegrown airline, US Airways.  The city spent $1 billion dollars, satisfying US Airways's wishlist of cutting-edge requests.  Completed in 1992, the New York Times called the new Pittsburgh Airport "The Airport of the Future."  

US Airways was founded, as "All-American Aviation" in Pittsburgh, in 1937 as a mail delivery service.  Before long, the airline began carrying regional passengers and, in 1953, it renamed itself Allegheny Airlines.  The airline changed its name again, to USAir, in 1979.  After acquiring a handful of other regional airlines, it operated an extensive national and international network of routes.  In 1997, they changed their name, once again, to US Airways.  The carrier flew many direct international flights from its Pittsburgh hub and was a member of the Star Alliance (all of which would have been great for me, had I moved to Pittsburgh 20 years earlier).

The company was in tenuous financial condition when the September 11th attacks occurred—which further compounding their troubles.  The airline petitioned the airport for reduced fees which the airport authority denied—for they would have had to grant equivalent discounts to the airport's other tenant airlines.  US Airways de-commissioned Pittsburgh as a hub, struggled along for a few more years, and flew its last flight in 2015. The airline's assets were merged with American Airlines in 2015.

The ceramic coffee mugs shown above—glazed in a dark navy blue with the company's logo in white—were used in the airline's First Class cabins  Interestingly, they were made in Staffordshire, England (the UK's center of industrial ceramics production).  They are a nice reminder of Pittsburgh's hometown airline.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248