VC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3458 posts, RR: 15 Posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8580 times:
Pam Am was and is an aviation icon but aside from being so huge and an "American symbol" with a way cool identity, When I flew them I was too young and never made it out of coach. So, what was I missing? What was going on in First Class? What were the seats like or the food? Did they have lounges on board on 747's and 707's? The service?
So aside from my plastic wings given to me by the pilot (who looked like Sean Connery) what did I miss?
The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
The 707s did have an onboard lounge (IIRC reserved only for F class) as did the 747s in the upper deck when initially delivered. However, the fuel crisis killed the lounges, and the 747s upper deck was re-configured to Clipper Class.
Interestingly enough, PA was never a very "huge" airline. Even during its heyday, it was nowhere near as large as the major domestic US carriers. They are thought of as a large airline because of their impressive list of destinations, but a lot of people tend to forget that for the vast majority of its life, PA was an international-only airline. Domestic routes were off limits to the airline until after de-regulation.
LAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 29040 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 8427 times:
Pan Am was a true airline in its day.
My first memories was seeing big large Pan Am aircraft model displays (707 usually) in their ticket offices growing up in Europe, but soon enough we were flying them.
PA's route global network stretched the world, and in many ways it was like coming home to a good fried to fly them, often in between two far flung exotic locales. I also remember making use of them intra-Europe quite a bit, and they were as competitive as any BA/LH at the time.
For meals as with the times it was extensive, and on the 747s, you were invited upstairs to dine as if it was a restaurant. No feelings of having a crappy airline meal even in Y class. Even after deregulation it was not that bad, and I recall PA had very extensive specials meals. I recall ordering a seafood one which came with lots of crab.. yum yum.
By the end I was an Platinum level flyer in their WorldPass program. While the airline was certainly beyond its hey day, its extensive schedules to Europe in particular and its quite progressive business class product (2x2x2 seats on 747s) kept me loyal.
Looking back now, I can really say that flying was a different thing those days. Everything from going and waiting your turn at ticket offices to check on schedules (which were often only a couple flights per week) and buying tickets, to the more regal process of travel which seemed to be more of an affair then simply a bus like trip from point A to point B.
I will say though todays wide availability of travel choices, and certainly reduced cost is an overall improvement. I recall paying $800 one-way JFK-LAX in the 1980s once for in Y-class for a same day booking!
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
Viscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 29325 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 8408 times:
Quoting VC10er (Thread starter): So, what was I missing? What was going on in First Class? What were the seats like or the food? Did they have lounges on board on 747's and 707's? The service?
I liked flying Pan Am, including many flights in F class (nonrev), but their service was never among the best in my experience. I would rate their overall service as average to somewhat above average compared to most of their major competititors (I always preferred TWA's inflight service).
The upper deck 747 dining room was nice however, while it lasted. In their latter years their service went downhill with shabby aircraft and more than their share of delays. They had no money to spend on anything but the essentials then. Their computer systems (reservations, revenue management etc.) also hadn't kept pace with technology and handicapped them in maximizing revenues.
Their safety record also wasn't among the best, especially in the 1970s. They wrote off 5 707s in fatal accidents in less than 9 months in 1973-74.
Quoting OA412 (Reply 1): and the 747s upper deck was re-configured to Clipper Class.
The upper deck on the 747SPs was first class. Was it a lounge when the SPs were first delivered? I can't remember.
One of my more memorable Pan Am trips was my first, and shortest -- HAM-THF-HAM on a 727-100 in early 1970, part of their Internal German Service to/from Berlin. The approach to city-center Tempelhof airport (now closed) was interesting, with apartment buildings not far from the aircraft.
My first longhaul flight on Pan Am was in April 1970, SEA-LHR on a 707-320B (in Y class). That was my first first flight with an inflight movie.