Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 4:41 am

What was it like to fly on Pan Am? How did Pan Am get the "You Can't Beat The Experience" saying? I really wanted to fly on Pan Am but they went out of buisness before I could do so. Also, what was the interior colors of their jets?

Colin Kumpunen
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Joined: Tue Jun 08, 1999 3:03 am

RE: Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 5:12 am

I flew on Pan Am about a year and three months before they went bankrupt and you could tell the company was in trouble. The cabin crews were trying to put a happy face on something they knew was dying.

The interiors were quite worn on their 747-100s,
(non Billboard scheme-I remember the insulation showing through in cabin paneling, and the seats were a bit on the beat up side). The 727-200s that flew in Europe (in the billboard scheme) were in pretty good shape it seemed.

Service wise, it was so-so in 1990. Nothing to really crow about. In earlier years I've read and heard the service was fantastic.

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RE: Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 6:37 am

The slogan is a pun: the first meaning is that you can't have a better experience as a passenger than on Pan Am (debatable); and that no airline can beat Pan Am's experience (ie all those flight hours, pioneers, flying boats, Clipper Skippers, you know the words...). The second was definitely true, but the service on board went downhill within a few years of the 747s arriving, as the airline became stagnant, no new hires so the staff (especially in the cabins) became older and more jaded. Things actually started to get better towards the end, with Thomas Plaskett at the helm. If it hadn't been for the Gulf War, Pan Am might have survived, albeit in a reduced form like TWA but with some of it's trans-Atlantic routes intact. I know it seems silly but I feel really sad that Pan Am is gone, they were, for all their myriad faults, the definitive airline and the blue meatball was the most potent symbol of commercial aviation ever. The launch customer for the 707 (-120 and -320) and the 747, for god's sake. If they were still around I would gladly abandon my musical career to work for them. All I have now are the luggage tags (and, as mentioned elsewhere, my haul of goodies from the Pan Am Aware store in Miami Springs).
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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RE: Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 10:55 am

The interior colors were red, blue or purpleish seats. They all had the same basic pattern in them but it is indescribable. You'd have to seea picture. There is a Pan Am 727-200 sitting on the ramp where I work and the interiors of it are orange. They look a little like Eastern's. Also, some Pan Am planes had navy seats with little grey things in them. they looked like this
" " " "
" " " "
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RE: Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 1:36 pm

Cody is right about the seats on most Pan Am aircraft.

I flew on a 727-35, N4617, on 10/14/83 from DCA to TPA, and the aircraft still had the open overhead racks. This was ten years after most airlines had installed bins. I remember the flight attendants had to keep taking down things that passengers were putting up there, telling them it was only for hats and coats.

The 727-200s on the Pan Am Shuttle had mud-colored leather seats. Most of these aircraft had PeoplExpress registrations. I was on N553PE, N554PE, and N556PE. One aircraft I was on that was not from PeoplExpress was N877UM, which had belonged to Lufthansa, and it had the same interior. When Delta bought the shuttle, they kept the PeoplExpress aircraft for a while, but dumped N877UM. I can't find out what became of it. By the way, N877UM operated the last Pan Am Shuttle, on 8/31/91, from DCA-LGA. I was on it.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
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RE: Pan Am Experience

Wed Jun 30, 1999 9:43 pm

PanAm was a very good airline, with very good service and more. I dont know the slogan, but the Interior was blue.

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Service And Interiors

Thu Jul 01, 1999 12:27 am

I always had mixed feelings about Pan Am. Sometimes you would have a great trip, on other occasions you got a good dose of Pan Am 'attitude' -- many of the employees were arrogant and snotty.

Interiors: what a mixed bag! Starting in the late '70s, as people have noted, there was an abundance of red and blue. When the Sleeper seats came in in 1979, f/c had solid red and blue fabrics, and the coach cabins were a mix of blue, red, or goldish orange. These coach fabrics had a pattern consisting of rows of dots about 1/2" in diameter. Again, hard to describe.

This was also the time of the National merger. Since the NA DC-10s and 727s had tropical beige and gold wall panels, the NA aircraft tended to have the red and orange fabrics described above -- no blue since it didn't really match. I was on ex-NA DC-10s and 727s and the f/c was all red.

The Airbuses were a hodge-podge. Someone noted a navy blue with " " " ", a good description. This was on the A310-300s and looked nice. The Clipper Class cabin had sort of a beige tweed fabric -- very soothing -- and by then the f/c was blue leather with fuzzy blue sheepskin inserts. Some of this may have spilled over to the 747s.

The A300s and some of the A310s (-200s) had a unique cabin design. The bulkheads had these dramatic prints of giant galaxies on a dark blue/black background (imagine one of those big 'outer space' photos from National Geographic mounted on the wall. Really striking.) The seats were in a 'Santa Fe' style: two fabrics in f/c, each with a large 'rough' diamond pattern. One was a rust color, the other a dark greyish blue:

< > < > < > < >
< > < > < > < >
< > < > < > < >

Coach had light blue and pink (!!) fabrics. This design never made it past the Airbus as far as I know. Maybe it was the pink ......

RE: Pan Am Experience

Thu Jul 01, 1999 4:13 am

I wish i could say i had a nice experience since once upon a time Pan Am was such a wonderful airline. In 1987 i flew from LA to Frankfurt on Pan Am and it wasn't very nice. It was a 747-212B purchased from Singapore which was built in 1977. At the time it was only 10 years old but it looked so very worn. The service was absolutly horrible, we had some very nasty German flight attendants too. When the movie would start and they'd show the Pan Am promo "You cant beat the experience" I kept thinking YES YOU CAN. And a month later i flew home on the exact same plane with many of the same flight attendants! I wonder where the Clipper Fairwind is now...with Tower Air i think
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RE: Pan Am Experience

Thu Jul 01, 1999 8:28 am

I wonder where this interior came from inside the Pan Am 727-200 that sits in Hagerstown, Maryland. It has orange seats with vertical black stripes. it sort of looks like Easterns but without the brown.

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