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CO And AA 707-720 Experiences  
User currently offlineFlyCMHjets From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 25 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 15 hours ago) and read 3746 times:

This post is really for my own curiosity more than anything. I am looking for anyones experiences of flying on these 2 carriers and these specific aircraft. I am specifically wondering what it was like in the late 50's, early 60's. How was the service, what was the a/c like, any unique stories, scary stories, anything anyone wants to share. Thanks for sharing!

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCALPSAFltSkeds From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 2491 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 14 hours ago) and read 3689 times:

As a CO employee in the late 60's through the early 80's, the 720B flew most flights between ORD-DEN/LAX. the aircraft had 5 across in coach and was really roomy. Service in F was great. There was always prime rib that they rolled out on a cart and carved right in front of you. The portion served 8 people and sometimes you got a thicker piece.
The best experience was on the ORD-ONT-LAS service at dinner time from ORD. the aircraft basically ferried from ONT to LAX, but you could ride through. It seemed like it took just a few seconds to take off from ONT and climb to approach altitude into LAX.
The B320B/C aircraft were mostly flown on Hawaii and had 6 across in the back. These aircraft did numerous military charters into Vietnam.

The longtime ramper at ORD who dumped the potties always told the story of fishing a diamond ring from the pots of a B720.

[Edited 2008-02-17 18:15:40]

User currently offlineJFKPurser From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 478 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 12 hours ago) and read 3598 times:

My first flight ever was on an AA 707 Astrojet in 1969 from IAD to LAX on flight 75 -- a flight I have since worked many times during the last two decades. It may actually have been a 720-023B, but I was not yet paying such close attention to those details as I was only four! I remember the lightning bolt stripe and meatball logo on the tail as I looked through the window of the mobile lounge before we boarded through the rear door. I don't remember much else about the flight .

Throughout the 1970s I flew AA 707s freqently after they had been reconfgured with "widebody look" interiors and the orange and red seats with the T-shaped red, white and blue stripes on the white headrest covers. Some still had a FC lounge, but later, this was removed. In the lounge there were domed lampshades of chrome. It was very modern and cool. Some were -123Bs and others were -323Bs -323Cs. I think toward the end, mostly the -123Bs had the lounges and the -323Bs and Cs were all coach with closets where the lounge used to be. By then I was 10 and knew the differences among 707 types -- already an avid enthusiast!

I flew them LAX-BWI, LAX-IAD, PHL-BWI, BWI-LAX, IAD-DFW and DFW-LAX. Also once SAN-LAX. The service was always good, and the FAs were always nice. I remember takeoffs being extremely loud in the back, and overall noise in cruise seemed much higher that on today's jets -- especially in the aft.

I was fortunate enough to get to fly on the 707-320B/Cs of LH, Condor, Western as well -- even got a ride on a UA 720-022 from LAX to SFO in 1973. Those were the days. The jet fuel smelled much stronger then.

[Edited 2008-02-17 20:28:45]

User currently offlineContinentalEWR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3762 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 hours ago) and read 3464 times:

I flew an AA 707 in the late 1970's from JFK to PHX nonstop.

User currently offlineSWABrian From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 299 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 3428 times:

I flew both CO's turbojet 707-124 and the turbofan 720-124B. In addition my father was a Director Passenger Service onboard both types from 1962 until 1964. The 720B had a table with rear facing seats. In my book, it would be a tossup as to which aircraft was the bigger "hot rod" the 720B or the Convair 880. (I also flew WA's 720B and BN's turbojet 720)

I flew AA's 707-123Bs twice. Once from LAX to DFW and the other from DFW to DTW via IND.


User currently offlineRJNUT From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 3399 times:

I Flew MKC (KC"S old downtown airport) in 1970 to ORD on CO's B-720 ..Early morning departure with full hot breakfast...It was summer and they never turned off the seat belt sign and breakfast was served quite late into the flight..I remember the "stews" scurrying almost to final , picking up trays!

2-3 across seating in coach if i recall and it was my 1st experience with inflight audio! The then hit song "Spirit in the Sky" stands out in my mind!


from en FLEW


User currently offlineSWABrian From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 299 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

RJNUT, later on CO did have 3+2 seating in the back, but they never exploited this in competition with AA, UA, and TW.

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24061 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3145 times:



Quoting RJNUT (Reply 5):
I Flew MKC (KC"S old downtown airport) in 1970 to ORD on CO's B-720 ..

CO wrote off one of their 707-124s in a non-fatal landing overrun incident at MKC in 1965. The runway at that airport wasn't very long for jet operations. Note the photos near the bottom of the following page.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19650701-0

Two CO 707s, a -124 and a -324C were also involved in sabotage events in 1962 and 1968 (bombs exploding in lavatories), one fatal and one non-fatal. The fatal one involving the -124 (45 fatalties) still ranks as the worst of CO's very few fatal accidents.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19620522-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19681119-2

Quoting JFKPurser (Reply 2):
My first flight ever was on an AA 707 Astrojet in 1969 from IAD to LAX on flight 75 -- a flight I have since worked many times during the last two decades. It may actually have been a 720-023B, but I was not yet paying such close attention to those details as I was only four!

As I recall, AA always identified their 25 720Bs (10 of which were delivered as 720s and converted, like their early 707-123s) as 707s, both in timetables and near the aircraft tail where the aircraft type was shown. I think they interchanged 707s and 720s depending on load and found it easier just to call them all 707s as far as the public was concerned.


User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3145 times:

I flew a few times in 1977 from YUL to ORD on a AA 707...In Aug 1977, there was an ATC strike in Canada and we were bussed to BTV. We boarded a AA 707 for the flight to ORD. BTV was full of AC DC-8s that day

User currently offlineCALPSAFltSkeds From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 2491 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2995 times:

I flew on a Tropicana charter for high rollers (flew with my friend as his dad, the high roller stayed to gamble) in the 70's from LAS-ORD. It was an old Braniff 720 (still in the brown BN colors. There was runway construction at LAS (that's what they told us), which forced a fuel stop in OKC.

User currently offlineTAN FLYR From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1897 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2912 times:

Off the top of my head (old memory) I'd say I had at least 10-12 707 flights up to 1981 on AA. Some I just can't tell you any more if they were 123B's or 323B's. Most were either from IND/ ORD to PHX/SAN/LAX/SFO and CLE-ROC /BDL.

User currently offlineFXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7127 posts, RR: 87
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2867 times:

There is a picture of my uncle as a teenage in the left seat of an AA 727. Little did he know one day he'd Captain the same a/c. His pilot class was June 1978. Ten total pilots - four to 727s six to 707s. Jim was on the 727 at age 21.

User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1941 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2832 times:

I flew on my first 707-123B in 1962, and for next 19 years flew on numerous 707-123B's, 720-023B's and 707-323B&C's. In the early 60's, the aircraft had the original Boeing open overhead racks with the passenger service pods containing the read lights, the oxygen masks, the airvents, and the no smoking, fasten seat belt lights. Coach was 3-3 but leg room was probably a pitch of 36 inches or so. The seat backs were upholstered. The overhead lighting were large oval domes in the ceiling. The 720's were sold off first, and I don't believe they were ever given to new more modern interiors installed in about 1975 that were very similar to the 727-200A overheard bins and more modern lighting. The seat backs were molded plastic, and the middle seats were also modified so that they could be folded down to be used as a table when the flights were not full.

CO's 720-024B's and 707-124's were three class aircraft. Y class, in the mid section was 2-3 seating, but K class economy was 3-3. No meals were served in K. As stated above, the 707-324C's were used for Vietnam MAC charter flights and when they were discontinued were used in Hawaii and some domestic service. I only flew in the 124 and 324 one time each, but flew on the 720B many times. UA, AA, and TW competed with CO. When they did, they operated 2 class aircraft and there was no Y class, only K. United, later, in 1965, introduced three class aircraft. These were DC-8 aircraft and had 2-3 seating in the mid cabin, and 3-3 in the rear. When competing with CO, the mid section was Y class, and the back, K. On non CO routes, the mid cabin was L class, also called standard class, sort of a 1960's Business class with free booze and deluxe meals. L class was started after United attempted to operate most of their 720-022's and 727-22's in S class one class service with 2-3 seating. A few DC-8's were configured that way for a short period of time, but those aircraft then were configured in the three class layout.

One thing I can assure you, is this. People complained about being crammed in 6 across, but the leg room was equal today's domestic first class. Flying was much fun back then. A typical two class domestic DC-8 or 707 seated about 120 people. The 720's about 110. Imagine a 737-800 with 7 less rows of seats in coach, and four more rows of first class. Compared to today, coach was spacious. International aircraft did have more seats.


User currently offlineXaphan From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 129 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2787 times:

My first jet flight was on an AA 707-123B SDF-SDF. No kidding, it was a sightseeing flight for travel VIPs in 1962. American was bringing jet service to SDF, and wanted to beat the drum. Eastern had started 720 service several months earlier, SDF-EWR. I sat in F class with my mother (who was the VIP), and the flight lasted about an hour. We flew down towards MEM and then returned. In 1959, I had taken a similar flight on an AA Electra, which at the time was all F class.

In 1965, I flew an American 707-123B SDF-MEM-LAX. Again, I was in F class, and we had a full lunch MEM-LAX. The Astrojet had their "AstroVision" tv onboard, which showed you a nosewheel view of landings and take-offs. I returned home on a Continental 720B LAX-ORD. It left LAX about 0900. We were served a champaign breakfast in F. The seating was 2+2 with a small table inbetween the seats. I remember there were only about four of us in F. I was seated on the right side, window seat, the third row back. If I remember correctly, the two rows in front of me were facing each other to make a 4 seat area. After breakfast, the F class flight attendant sat on the small table directly in front of me, doing some paperwork and keeping an eye on her charges. In those days, flight attendants were wearing very short dresses. This situation provided me with quite a view! To heck with the Grand Canyon! There was also a small black and white tv situated inbetween the seats infront of me. It offered an edited movie, "Moratori" with Marlon Brando. The reception was poor, but I had other things to distract me. I was only 19, but the flight attendant made sure I had plenty of champaign to drink. At ORD, I transferred to Eastern and a new 727-025 "Whisperjet" for the short flight to SDF. I sat in the first row so I could see how the boarding steps retracted into the plane. I was at SDF 55 minutes later, facing 97 degree F heat and something like 98 percent humidity. Fortunately, I didn't have to drive home.

In 1962, I flew Delta 880 from CVG-ORD to connect to a Northwest 720B to GEG, and SEA. I flew home on UA DC 8-21, which the pilot misidentified as a "Mark IV" DC 8. United was calling their few DC 8-50s as "Mark IVs" to compete with Astrojets, Starstreams, etc. This plane was definately the older DC 8, complete with clamshell thrustreversers. This was during the period of an Eastern strike, so my usual flights to and from ORD had to be rerouted on different airlines. A Untied bubble-head ticket agent in SEA tried to book me on an Ozark DC 3 flight that did operate between ORD and SDF, with seven stops inbetween! I could have toured Illinois and Western Kentucky, but I pointed out to her that her OAG showed me departing ORD at 1530 and arriving SDF at 2259! She tried again and this time got me on American DC 6 ORD-IND-CVG to connect to another AA DC 6, CVG-SDF. On the flight up to catch the Delta flight, I flew up to CVG the afternoon before using an American CV 240, which had one flight attendant serving a full dinner to 40 passengers in 30 minutes! American's CV 240s, always boarded on the right side of the plane, using an airstairs that retracted into the cabin.

The 720B, especially in Northwest's hands, could give a thrilling take-off. The Delta 880, which I would fly many times in the future, had an edge on power, IMO.


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4264 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2758 times:



Quoting Milesrich (Reply 12):
The 720's were sold off first, and I don't believe they were ever given to new more modern interiors installed in about 1975

I am almost sure American redid at least part of their 720 fleet in the widebody look, probably they refitted most of the 707s, 720Bs and 727s around 1970 already.
I flew on former American 720B (OD-AGB) and 707s with MEA, and OD-AGB, which was sold by American to MEA in 1973, had the widebody look and Americans 1970s red/orange seats already. It was not a MEA retrofit, because they flew their original new built 707s with the 1960s open overheads and service pods, and why would they bother to retrofit the American 720s which were meant to be withdrawn within a few years and leave their flagship 707s alone?



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1941 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2650 times:

The 727-200A was not introduced until late 1972. It was with this aircraft that Boeing introduced the wide body look in narrow body aircraft. It was at this same time that American sold off or leased the 720's. Remember, the DC-10-10 was not introduced until late 1971. Until then, the only wide bodies were 747's. The American 707 Luxury Jets, as they were called had blue and red interiors. Luxury Jet was the name given to the narrowbody aircraft after the DC-10 Luxury Liner was introduced, with coach lounge and all, seating only about 215 people. American's introduction of the upgraded interiors on the 727 and 707 aircraft was an answer to Braniff's 727 Braniff Place. Braniff did not order Tri Jet Wide Bodies, but instead upgraded their narrow body 727's to the wide body look. Again, all this took place in the 1972-73 period. And by 1973, I think American had retired all the 720B's. Many of the 720B's that were leased to some Middle East carriers replaced Convair 990's, also on lease from American. Perhaps American converted MEA's aircraft interiors when they were leased, (sold) but I don't believe the 720-023B's every got the Luxury Jet treatment with American.

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24061 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2520 times:



Quoting Milesrich (Reply 12):
L class was started after United attempted to operate most of their 720-022's and 727-22's in S class one class service with 2-3 seating. A few DC-8's were configured that way for a short period of time, but those aircraft then were configured in the three class layout.

NW also converted their 720Bs to one-class with 2-3 seating for a few years in the mid to late 1960s. I recall a SEA-ORD redeye flight on a NW 720B with that seating in 1967. Coincidentally, I connected there to an AA 707-123B ORD-YYZ.

That trip was on a Youth Standby fare (50% of the Y fare) which almost all airlines in the U.S. and Canada offered then for passengers 12-21 years of age. Although travel was standby, few flights were full in those days (average load factor probably around 60% vs. today's 80%+). And if you had a ticket issued on one carrier, any other carrier operating the same route would normally accept it. And no security checks then!


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