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wernerga3
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Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:08 pm

Hi all,

I have been looking at the 377 quite a bit lately and when I came across pan ams seating chart, I began to have questions about how the upper berths were sold.

In the front luxury cabin, I get that they were included. I also noticed that aft of the staircase to the downstairs lounge, those people had no berth option.

But in the center, it appears that there is a berth for each set of 4 chairs. Did a berth sleep 2 people and the chairs slept the other 2? How did you get a berth vs chairs- different reservation/price?

Also, it seems the middle area of the cabin had seats that turned into beds whereas the rear cabin just had seats with leg extensions. Still researching.

Any ideas or insight guys?

Image
 
catiii
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:27 pm

here are some good photos which may help you visualize: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/02/insi ... l-service/
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:26 pm

I appreciate it. I've seen that site and a lot of others.

What it seems from my research, the upper berths were single units. The lower berths could be single or double. Originally they were only forward of the staircase. You can see where the upper berth area disappears and turns into a shelf.
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Later paa would outfit the entire plane with upper berths and create a second cabin layout using all sleeperette seats on the bottom so they wouldn't have to convert the bottom to a bed. All seats became beige instead of blue sleeper seats and beige regular seats. You can also see the Berhs in the rear in the later photos.
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Still begs the question how it could sit more than it could sleep. Even if every sleeper berth used the double bottom setup, wheres the fourth person supposed to sleep with only one on top?
 
Tu154pilot
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:52 pm

Basically, Pan Am, like most carriers who operated the Stratocruiser with sleeping bunks, would sell the seat at whatever the published fare happened to be, and then offer the bunk at a supplemental surcharge. The bunks were sold on a first come, first serve basis, and once they were sold, the remaining sleeperette seats were sold without the option of upgrading to the bunk. This practice was also used by most airlines offering bunks on the Constellation, DC-6/7, etc, because as you correctly pointed out, there were always more seats than bunks. The bunks, themselves were about the size of a twin bed mattress, and thus would have been uncomfortable for two people to share, so they used an upper and lower bunk configuration for the two passenger seats on that side of the aisle, and the same for the opposite side. Hope that answers your question!
 
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itripreport
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:04 pm

So Boeing offered pivoting sculptured bins before Boeing even invented it.
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:55 pm

Tu154pilot wrote:
Basically, Pan Am, like most carriers who operated the Stratocruiser with sleeping bunks, would sell the seat at whatever the published fare happened to be, and then offer the bunk at a supplemental surcharge. The bunks were sold on a first come, first serve basis, and once they were sold, the remaining sleeperette seats were sold without the option of upgrading to the bunk. This practice was also used by most airlines offering bunks on the Constellation, DC-6/7, etc, because as you correctly pointed out, there were always more seats than bunks. The bunks, themselves were about the size of a twin bed mattress, and thus would have been uncomfortable for two people to share, so they used an upper and lower bunk configuration for the two passenger seats on that side of the aisle, and the same for the opposite side. Hope that answers your question!



First and foremost, thank you for this great information. I assumed it was like this, but I had nothing to confirm it anywhere.

This is where it gets interesting though. Before they installed the sleeperette seats a few years later, the original version which I posted in the OP had a different type of layout. The middle section where the berths were offered, had a setup where the four seats below it could turn into a single bed. In that instance would you be purchasing 4 seats for 2 and one gets the top and one the bottom? This is how it was done for the stateroom in the front of the plane, yet it was slightly different in that the seats were facing each other instead of being in rows. It's just not really clear because I know they changed to the sleeperette style layout fairly quickly after introducing the plane and that made the initial bottom berths superfluous. Not to mention I have seen instances where there are two sleeping on the bottom pre-sleeperette so it seems you had an option?

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Grrflyer
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:16 pm

What a Fascinating post!

Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.
 
Prost
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:25 pm

That flight attendant in the picture might still be working at my carrier. I’ll ask around.
 
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longhauler
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:42 pm

Grrflyer wrote:
Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.


Sadly no. Lots of C-97s around, but no 377 Stratocruisers.
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CATIIIevery5yrs
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:50 pm

Anyone have any idea what kind of noise and vibration was common? I’d have to imagine a lot??
 
TW870
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:00 pm

Grrflyer wrote:
What a Fascinating post!

Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.


The last surviving Stratocruiser frame was scrapped at Tucson around 1982, sadly still in full NWA colors missing the titles. It would have been a perfect candidate for Pima which is right next door - or for anyone else who wanted to take it.

There is technically a 377 frame still in existence, which is the Erickson Mini Guppy which is stored at the museum in Tilamook, Oregon. Granted the guppy conversion means that it loses most of its historical value. But it does have the R-4360 engines on it with the spinners and solid-blade Hamilton Standard propellers which were unique to the NWA and PAA Strats, and which look different than the props on the surviving C-97s out there.
 
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DLHAM
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:18 pm

In German but still interesting I think:

Image

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In the last years of Pan Am that extraordinary luxury was gone and forgotten:

Image
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CV990A
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:29 pm

[quote="wernerga3"][/quote]

I love how the ad quotes a surcharge of $125 for the 'suites' at the front of the aircraft. And to think I once got excited when BA offered me an upgrade to Premium Economy for $125! Now, granted inflation, but still!
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DL_Mech
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:27 am

CV990A wrote:
wernerga3 wrote:


I love how the ad quotes a surcharge of $125 for the 'suites' at the front of the aircraft. And to think I once got excited when BA offered me an upgrade to Premium Economy for $125! Now, granted inflation, but still!


$125 in 1950 is about $1330 today.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
incitatus
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:11 pm

Grrflyer wrote:
What a Fascinating post!

Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.


I was happy enough to see the military version at the Pima Museum in Tucson.

This is a fascinating airplane. It looks like Pan Am stopped using it in its Rio route after two fatal accidents. Then NY-London became its bread-n-butter route because the range was just right for it.
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wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:15 pm

I’m still curious about the pre-sleeperette 4 seat bed setup situation that was not in the luxury suite up front. I would imagine that the Bottom berth pairs of 4 were sold to up to 3 people since the bottom slept 2 to a 4 seat bed conversion and the the top slept 1. Which just seems strange.
 
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:26 pm

Prost wrote:
That flight attendant in the picture might still be working at my carrier. I’ll ask around.


:rotfl: You win the internet today!
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DL_Mech
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:41 pm

PW100 wrote:
Prost wrote:
That flight attendant in the picture might still be working at my carrier. I’ll ask around.


:rotfl: You win the internet today!


He was obviously kidding, but it is possible. If the picture was taken in 1955 and she was 20 years old she would be 85 today. There are a handful of F/As at my airline that are in their 80s (including an 85 year old).
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
superjeff
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:16 pm

incitatus wrote:
Grrflyer wrote:
What a Fascinating post!

Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.


I was happy enough to see the military version at the Pima Museum in Tucson.

This is a fascinating airplane. It looks like Pan Am stopped using it in its Rio route after two fatal accidents. Then NY-London became its bread-n-butter route because the range was just right for it.



My first and only flight on a Pan Am Stratocruiser was SFO-HNL when I was five years old (w-a-y back in time). My memory isn't super great that far back, but I do remember the blue seats and the spiral staircase - my Dad took me down to see it, but there weren't very many seats available and it was pretty smoky (everybody smoked back then, it seems).

Back to this response, I think Pan Am operated Tokyo-Wake Island-Honolulu-San Francisco as [one of?] their last Stratocruiser routes in 1960.

And yes, there is a KC97 at Pima which looks the same from the outside.
 
SFOThinker
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:48 pm

I saw and listened to NWA 377s on the approach to landing at MSP as a kid. I recall that the sound of their engines was low and loud from the ground, quite distinctive. I am guessing the forward cabin was quite noisy. I wonder if the 377 had the same engines as the B 29, upon which it was based, if I recall.
 
TW870
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:41 pm

wernerga3 wrote:
I’m still curious about the pre-sleeperette 4 seat bed setup situation that was not in the luxury suite up front. I would imagine that the Bottom berth pairs of 4 were sold to up to 3 people since the bottom slept 2 to a 4 seat bed conversion and the the top slept 1. Which just seems strange.


Two possible answers. One is just that flights were never that full and, on the initial configuration, they could put all the folks who didn't pay for the berths in the back, and then space out the people who did in a way that would use the space most efficiently. Second, my guess is that they sold the flights differently depending on time of day and stage length. So on true sleeper flights, they couldn't sell all the seats forward of the stairs. But then if there was a shorter daylight tag-on, they could then sell every seat as sleeper service would not be offered. That is how TWA did it with the berths on the Super Gs and 1649s. Flight 102, for example, was LAX-MKC-STL-DCA. They offered sleeper service only on the red-eye first leg and the STL tag-on. The berths were put away for the morning STL-DCA leg. Overall it looks like Pan Am fixed it with the sleeperette concept where they sold the seats and berths separately.
 
StinkyPinky
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:26 pm

Did they have a crew rest bunk on these planes? And, how long were the longest flights? I always found the Stratocruiser fascinating. I wish there was a preserved example on display somewhere.
 
SmokinL1011
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:41 am

itripreport wrote:
So Boeing offered pivoting sculptured bins before Boeing even invented it.



I was thinking the same thing when looking at those photos! I wonder if the inspiration came from the shape of those berths.
 
jetwet1
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:53 am

DL_Mech wrote:
PW100 wrote:
Prost wrote:
That flight attendant in the picture might still be working at my carrier. I’ll ask around.


:rotfl: You win the internet today!


He was obviously kidding, but it is possible. If the picture was taken in 1955 and she was 20 years old she would be 85 today. There are a handful of F/As at my airline that are in their 80s (including an 85 year old).


My wife's step mother was an FA for NWA in her early 20`s, she is 80 now, we are having dinner with them on Saturday night, I will see if she was ever around them.

Fascinating subject btw.
 
TW870
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:00 am

SFOThinker wrote:
I saw and listened to NWA 377s on the approach to landing at MSP as a kid. I recall that the sound of their engines was low and loud from the ground, quite distinctive. I am guessing the forward cabin was quite noisy. I wonder if the 377 had the same engines as the B 29, upon which it was based, if I recall.


Did you grow up on the Minneapolis, Richfield, or St. Paul side of the airport? My mother grew up off of 50th in south Minneapolis. She said the drone of the Stratocruisers always put her to sleep at night as a little kid. My grandfather, who worked for Honeywell in the 1950s, said for the rest of his life that the Northwest Stratocruiser was his all time favorite ride, even better than the upper deck of the Pan Am 747. Part of that might be because he was a young man in the 1950s with a skyrocketing career always taking the Stratocruiser out to New York, whereas he was older and more stable by the time the jumbos came in. As an aside, he took my mother (who was five at the time) and her brothers in the car to gawk at the Northwest Martin 202 crash site just off of 50th and Bryant on St. Patrick's day, 1950. They heard it come down and got in the car.

Anyway, yes, I am also surprised that they put the state room up front on the Pan Am airplanes - just for noise reasons. There are quite a few videos on YouTube taken inside the military C-97. It sounds pretty quiet in cruise, but those 15-foot diameter props are really loud on takeoff and climbout.

Nope, the 377 does not share engines with the B-29. It shares them with the B-50. The B-29 had an early version of the Wright R-3350 that powered the Lockheed Constellation. The Stratocruiser had a much larger displacement, less wound out Pratt&Whitney engine, the infamous corncob R-4360, which was a 28-cylinder. The 4360 is extremely smokey. There are a few good shots of NWA Strats smoking out the ramp on taxi out at IDL before they got the engines leaned out a bit.

So sad to have missed this airplane - but I am happy it lives in my family lore.
 
SFOThinker
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:17 pm

TW870 wrote:
SFOThinker wrote:
I saw and listened to NWA 377s on the approach to landing at MSP as a kid. I recall that the sound of their engines was low and loud from the ground, quite distinctive. I am guessing the forward cabin was quite noisy. I wonder if the 377 had the same engines as the B 29, upon which it was based, if I recall.


Did you grow up on the Minneapolis, Richfield, or St. Paul side of the airport? My mother grew up off of 50th in south Minneapolis. She said the drone of the Stratocruisers always put her to sleep at night as a little kid. My grandfather, who worked for Honeywell in the 1950s, said for the rest of his life that the Northwest Stratocruiser was his all time favorite ride, even better than the upper deck of the Pan Am 747. Part of that might be because he was a young man in the 1950s with a skyrocketing career always taking the Stratocruiser out to New York, whereas he was older and more stable by the time the jumbos came in. As an aside, he took my mother (who was five at the time) and her brothers in the car to gawk at the Northwest Martin 202 crash site just off of 50th and Bryant on St. Patrick's day, 1950. They heard it come down and got in the car.

Anyway, yes, I am also surprised that they put the state room up front on the Pan Am airplanes - just for noise reasons. There are quite a few videos on YouTube taken inside the military C-97. It sounds pretty quiet in cruise, but those 15-foot diameter props are really loud on takeoff and climbout.

Nope, the 377 does not share engines with the B-29. It shares them with the B-50. The B-29 had an early version of the Wright R-3350 that powered the Lockheed Constellation. The Stratocruiser had a much larger displacement, less wound out Pratt&Whitney engine, the infamous corncob R-4360, which was a 28-cylinder. The 4360 is extremely smokey. There are a few good shots of NWA Strats smoking out the ramp on taxi out at IDL before they got the engines leaned out a bit.

So sad to have missed this airplane - but I am happy it lives in my family lore.


Thanks for the engine information. I must have been a neighbor of your mother, as I was just off 52nd Street. I was 3 when the Martin 202 crashed, but when I was about 12, I rode my bike over to try to spot where it happened, but could find no trace.
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:34 pm

TW870 wrote:
wernerga3 wrote:
I’m still curious about the pre-sleeperette 4 seat bed setup situation that was not in the luxury suite up front. I would imagine that the Bottom berth pairs of 4 were sold to up to 3 people since the bottom slept 2 to a 4 seat bed conversion and the the top slept 1. Which just seems strange.


Two possible answers. One is just that flights were never that full and, on the initial configuration, they could put all the folks who didn't pay for the berths in the back, and then space out the people who did in a way that would use the space most efficiently. Second, my guess is that they sold the flights differently depending on time of day and stage length. So on true sleeper flights, they couldn't sell all the seats forward of the stairs. But then if there was a shorter daylight tag-on, they could then sell every seat as sleeper service would not be offered. That is how TWA did it with the berths on the Super Gs and 1649s. Flight 102, for example, was LAX-MKC-STL-DCA. They offered sleeper service only on the red-eye first leg and the STL tag-on. The berths were put away for the morning STL-DCA leg. Overall it looks like Pan Am fixed it with the sleeperette concept where they sold the seats and berths separately.



Yeah that makes sense that they probably just didn't fill every seat initially on early sleeper service flights. The 1949 sleeperette came along very quickly after the 1947 intro, so like you said they fixed the issue rather quickly.

Very interesting though that on early sleeper service flights, they technically lost up to 9 passengers seats (including the front luxury room) in order to fit everyone.
 
rlwynn
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:19 pm

There is a KC-97 at the March Museum.
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global2
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:51 pm

wernerga3 wrote:
Hi all,

I have been looking at the 377 quite a bit lately and when I came across pan ams seating chart, I began to have questions about how the upper berths were sold.

In the front luxury cabin, I get that they were included. I also noticed that aft of the staircase to the downstairs lounge, those people had no berth option.

But in the center, it appears that there is a berth for each set of 4 chairs. Did a berth sleep 2 people and the chairs slept the other 2? How did you get a berth vs chairs- different reservation/price?

Also, it seems the middle area of the cabin had seats that turned into beds whereas the rear cabin just had seats with leg extensions. Still researching.

Any ideas or insight guys?

Image


This has been such an educational post--thank you. I'm marvelling at the "dressing rooms", which make me lament today's 'slim-line' toilets which are almost impossible to turn around in.

The seat numbering system is quite curious. Was this unique to the Stratocruiser, or to Pan Am in those days? Did row numbering and seat lettering not happen until jets came into the picture?
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:54 pm

I found the 1946 Boeing 377 promo film (below). At 7:50 in, they outline the seating situation. It says that the full sleeper setup could sleep 30 single or up to 58 (because you could only sell each forward luxury compartment for 2 not 4). It clearly says that each upper and lower berth was 44" and each slept 2. I've never seen 2 up on the top berth but clearly that was the situation. You could put 2 below and 2 above until the sleeperette seating came along. Very interesting.

I believe the U and L designations on the berths in the seating chart are for upper/lower for once the seats were converted to berths at night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYl8zPW9Gho&app=desktop


Btw from what I can tell all pan am seats were numbered this way at the time counting the total number of passengers.
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:13 pm

superjeff wrote:
incitatus wrote:
Grrflyer wrote:
What a Fascinating post!

Are their any Stratocruisers preserved in a museum anywhere by chance? I’d love a chance to go through one of these.


I was happy enough to see the military version at the Pima Museum in Tucson.

This is a fascinating airplane. It looks like Pan Am stopped using it in its Rio route after two fatal accidents. Then NY-London became its bread-n-butter route because the range was just right for it.



My first and only flight on a Pan Am Stratocruiser was SFO-HNL when I was five years old (w-a-y back in time). My memory isn't super great that far back, but I do remember the blue seats and the spiral staircase - my Dad took me down to see it, but there weren't very many seats available and it was pretty smoky (everybody smoked back then, it seems).

Back to this response, I think Pan Am operated Tokyo-Wake Island-Honolulu-San Francisco as [one of?] their last Stratocruiser routes in 1960.

And yes, there is a KC97 at Pima which looks the same from the outside.


Wow that's amazing! Were you in a sleeper berth or was it not a sleeper flight?
 
jetwet1
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:20 pm

Step mother said they were gone by the time she started at NWA.
 
incitatus
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:58 pm

superjeff wrote:

My first and only flight on a Pan Am Stratocruiser was SFO-HNL when I was five years old (w-a-y back in time). My memory isn't super great that far back, but I do remember the blue seats and the spiral staircase - my Dad took me down to see it, but there weren't very many seats available and it was pretty smoky (everybody smoked back then, it seems).

Back to this response, I think Pan Am operated Tokyo-Wake Island-Honolulu-San Francisco as [one of?] their last Stratocruiser routes in 1960.

And yes, there is a KC97 at Pima which looks the same from the outside.


That must have been amazing. I always heard the lower lounge was quite cramped. But in the eyes of a 5-year old it must have looked comfortable.

How about boarding? Was boarding done through the lower lounge?
I do not consume Murdoch products including the Wall Street Journal
 
TMccrury
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:31 pm

What would done of the longest routes, time wise, been on one of these?
 
fireman0174
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:05 pm

incitatus wrote:
superjeff wrote:

My first and only flight on a Pan Am Stratocruiser was SFO-HNL when I was five years old (w-a-y back in time). My memory isn't super great that far back, but I do remember the blue seats and the spiral staircase - my Dad took me down to see it, but there weren't very many seats available and it was pretty smoky (everybody smoked back then, it seems).

Back to this response, I think Pan Am operated Tokyo-Wake Island-Honolulu-San Francisco as [one of?] their last Stratocruiser routes in 1960.

And yes, there is a KC97 at Pima which looks the same from the outside.


That must have been amazing. I always heard the lower lounge was quite cramped. But in the eyes of a 5-year old it must have looked comfortable.

How about boarding? Was boarding done through the lower lounge?
wernerga3 wrote:
Hi all,

I have been looking at the 377 quite a bit lately and when I came across pan ams seating chart, I began to have questions about how the upper berths were sold.

In the front luxury cabin, I get that they were included. I also noticed that aft of the staircase to the downstairs lounge, those people had no berth option.

But in the center, it appears that there is a berth for each set of 4 chairs. Did a berth sleep 2 people and the chairs slept the other 2? How did you get a berth vs chairs- different reservation/price?

Also, it seems the middle area of the cabin had seats that turned into beds whereas the rear cabin just had seats with leg extensions. Still researching.

Any ideas or insight guys?

Image

In the summer of 1954 or possibly the summer of 1955 our family flew from Orly Airport Paris to New York Idlewild and back on a PAA 377 StratoCruiser. Dad worked as a CAA (FAA) inspector and he had a pair of 2 year assignments in Paris; November 1952 - November 1956. Dad got us into the cockpit during the flight to NY. Don't remember much except there were a lot of windows up there! Do remember the downstairs lounge. We sat on the ground in Gander(?) waiting for takeoff due to a tropical storm affecting the NY area.
When dad's tour of Paris was over in 1956, my brother and I came home on a TWA Suger-G Connie with those tip tanks. Mom and dad came home on the SS America.
 
SR100
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:40 pm

Awesome topic but in spite of the general header 'Boeing 377 cabin question' all posts are about Pan American and Northwest only, no one mentions BOAC or United, both operating the Stratocruiser, too.

I understand that the topic author related his question to the PAA configuration, but his header is general, it doesn't say 'PAA Boeing 377 cabin question'.

Speaking about the BOAC configuration, it was different from PAA's as the galley was mid-cabin, where the main deck passenger door and the stairway to the lower deck was located. And where PAA had their galley in the very aft of the cabin, BOAC had a state room, a private first class cabin.
Flown all types and variants of Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Bombardier, DC, Embraer, Fokker, ATR, plus BAe146-1/2/3, Britannia, Caravelle, Comet, Concord, CV440/990, M404, Herald, Avro, Trident-1/2/3, IL-18/62, SWM, Viscount, VC-10, Tu-104/134/154, YS-11
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:46 pm

SR100 wrote:
Awesome topic but in spite of the general header 'Boeing 377 cabin question' all posts are about Pan American and Northwest only, no one mentions BOAC or United, both operating the Stratocruiser, too.

I understand that the topic author related his question to the PAA configuration, but his header is general, it doesn't say 'PAA Boeing 377 cabin question'.

Speaking about the BOAC configuration, it was different from PAA's as the galley was mid-cabin, where the main deck passenger door and the stairway to the lower deck was located. And where PAA had their galley in the very aft of the cabin, BOAC had a state room, a private first class cabin.


Image
United had a similar setup to boac. Central galley and a private room in the rear where the paa galley was. Interestingly they also had the forward luxury compartment on United, so not sure why they made another separate private room. Although that room reminds me of the delta 747 "penthouse in the sky" which If I could time travel would be one of the first things I'd try to do before it disappeared as quickly as it did.



Btw the big take away I was hoping for was to determine how the sleeping setup went. It seems as though all upper berths were for one, yet the logic of the numbering and the promo video clearly make it appear that each upper berth slept up to two. That was my intent for this thread which still hasn't really been answered.

Also, strange question but how did you get up into the berth. Was there a ladder or did you climb on the bottom seat?
 
incitatus
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:12 pm

SR100 wrote:
Awesome topic but in spite of the general header 'Boeing 377 cabin question' all posts are about Pan American and Northwest only, no one mentions BOAC or United, both operating the Stratocruiser, too.

I understand that the topic author related his question to the PAA configuration, but his header is general, it doesn't say 'PAA Boeing 377 cabin question'.

Speaking about the BOAC configuration, it was different from PAA's as the galley was mid-cabin, where the main deck passenger door and the stairway to the lower deck was located. And where PAA had their galley in the very aft of the cabin, BOAC had a state room, a private first class cabin.


The Wikipedia page on it has pretty good information about every customer, and how frames bought by other airlines ended up with BOAC and PanAm.

Two questions:

Were the interiors of frames built for other airlines changed to PanAm/BOAC standards when those took over?

Why is a there a wild variety of window shapes in the lower and upper deck across airlines? It seems like it is such an irrelevant feature whether windows are round or square.
I do not consume Murdoch products including the Wall Street Journal
 
debonair
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:59 pm

catiii wrote:
here are some good photos which may help you visualize: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/02/insi ... l-service/


Nice link! It states
lower-deck lounge had a bar where passengers could buy a cocktail or soft drink
So even at the good old times, drinks were not included? Not even soft drink?

It could carry up to 100 passengers... plus 14 in the lower deck lounge
Was it possible to buy tickets ONLY for lower deck lounge?
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:39 pm

debonair wrote:
catiii wrote:
here are some good photos which may help you visualize: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/02/insi ... l-service/


Nice link! It states
lower-deck lounge had a bar where passengers could buy a cocktail or soft drink
So even at the good old times, drinks were not included? Not even soft drink?

It could carry up to 100 passengers... plus 14 in the lower deck lounge
Was it possible to buy tickets ONLY for lower deck lounge?

I know on paa they charged for drinks in the lounge and in general- which really surprised me! There is an old menu I saw for the 377 which has drink prices
anywhere between a dime and .35 cents. Drinks were only included in the forward luxury compartment as part of that fare. In general that just surprised me given the debauchery and what was expected of the airline travel experience at that time.

I did read that the lower lounge could seat passengers on certain short leg flights. I'm not sure that they ever sold those seats, but I do know during intermediate stops they would often let passengers deplane through the lounge exit rather than through the main second story mid entrance.

I think it is similar to when paa launched the first commercial 747. The upper deck had 16 seats which were not supposed to be saleable, but there are stories of people out there who bought a lounge seat for a short leg flight, where there wasn't lounge service, so the upper deck wasn't in use. So I think it really was case dependent and wouldn't be surprised if at one point or another someone flew in the 377 in the lounge only.
 
TW870
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:46 am

debonair wrote:
catiii wrote:
here are some good photos which may help you visualize: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/02/insi ... l-service/


Nice link! It states
lower-deck lounge had a bar where passengers could buy a cocktail or soft drink
So even at the good old times, drinks were not included? Not even soft drink?

It could carry up to 100 passengers... plus 14 in the lower deck lounge
Was it possible to buy tickets ONLY for lower deck lounge?


Your question about buying drinks is excellent, and I was thinking about starting a separate thread on the history of service standards in the golden age. Perusing old TWA schedules the other day, I noted that in the two class Super G Constellations, "Sky Tourist" passengers had to pay for meals, even on the Royal Ambassador non-stop transcontinental service, which blocked in at nine plus hours going west. First class passengers ate for free. I didn't see any notations about paying for drinks. This of course was on a domestic flight. I know that by the early-1970s, the ICAO was very strict with regulating what type of service airlines could offer. So perhaps international regulation influenced the PAA Stratocruiser standards. Anyway, we certainly know that buy on board did not originate after 9/11!
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:31 pm

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-cul ... 101934583/

Found this great article which references teague who was the design firm behind the 377 cabin. Interestingly enough, they've been working with Boeing and certain airlines (paa American etc) for a very long time. I reached out to them for clarification about the early paa 377 arrangement.

From what I can tell, in the group of four seats, the seat backs of the two front seats detached, and then were placed perpindicularly one in front of each row's seat cushion on a metal rack that pulled out from under the seat. Then they made the bed up and it was 44" wide. You could sleep up to two on top and two on bottom but often it was only one up top.

I think there was more allure to the bottom before the sleeperette seats came along since i imagine those top and bottom berths were sold for the same price since they were the same specs, yet the bottom had more height, space wise. This is the best photo to show you that btw. The right side is the undone bed and how you build it, and the left side the bed made up.
Image

This is another early photo of the berth non sleeperette cabin
Image

As for drinks, as I stated they were additional! But from my research it seems they were later included with the president special service which you could add on to your flight like a PKG. That included the drinks and 7 course meal. Strange to me that not everyone technically got the same service even when potentially sitting right to each other. It also makes it seem that the lounge would later become a part of that president special service as well. So things did change a lot between 1947 and the early 50s when they transitioned to the sleeperette and president special offering which were both a part of their new blue ribbon service.

Image
Image

Image
Image


Btw here is the later sleeperette seat. Notice it is not aligned with the overhead berth either since they were more spaced out. But yes at this point getting an upper berth was considered a premium since the bottom sleeperette was not giving you a 44" wide
bottom sleeping area anymore.
Image
 
incitatus
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:28 pm

TW870 wrote:

Your question about buying drinks is excellent, and I was thinking about starting a separate thread on the history of service standards in the golden age. Perusing old TWA schedules the other day, I noted that in the two class Super G Constellations, "Sky Tourist" passengers had to pay for meals, even on the Royal Ambassador non-stop transcontinental service, which blocked in at nine plus hours going west. First class passengers ate for free. I didn't see any notations about paying for drinks. This of course was on a domestic flight. I know that by the early-1970s, the ICAO was very strict with regulating what type of service airlines could offer. So perhaps international regulation influenced the PAA Stratocruiser standards. Anyway, we certainly know that buy on board did not originate after 9/11!


As I have been reading more about Pan Am, this has been my assessment and I hope those that lived through it can comment:

Pan Am was always trying to find ways to increase traffic. In the early 1950's they ran a campaign advocating for foreign travel. They associated it with foreign trade. They claimed that as Americans vacation overseas, other countries will take in US dollars that they can use to purchase American goods.

They worked on density, and in the later years some B377 went 5-abreast, including one unit especially fit for NY-Bermuda.

On-board service was another lever. Given the multi-stop nature of early services, the large number of meals added up in cost. They even created a less-than-F service from Miami to Argentina/Chile in the 1950's that had no hot meals. Alcohol and meals were in constant check, in spite of the association with luxury service.

The 1970s expectation that alcohol and meals on board are free for everyone was not born in the United States!
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wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:56 pm

Yes when the sleeperette version debuted, they also added the high density version, and added upper berths all the way back on the original and sleeperette versions. There were three versions flying.

The service in flight has really shocked me through this thread. The history out there makes it seem that over time things got less and less ostentatious, yet clearly here things were ramping up for the jet services which were some of the most debaucherous.
 
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sbajim
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:36 pm

In the Spring of 1951 I flew on a NWA Stratocruiser MKE-YIP-IDL. I was in the army and in uniform and was treated very nicely. I went to the downstairs lounge. It was unique but the décor was nothing special, as I recall.
The noise and vibration were nothing exceptional and were similar to a DC-6. The noisiest piston engine aircraft I have flown in were the Lockheed Constellation in the upfront windows seats abeam the engines and the Goodyear blimp.
 
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cathay747
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:37 pm

TW870 wrote:
I know that by the early-1970s, the ICAO was very strict with regulating what type of service airlines could offer. So perhaps international regulation influenced the PAA Stratocruiser standards. Anyway, we certainly know that buy on board did not originate after 9/11!


I think you mean IATA, not ICAO. And yes indeed, IATA regs., at least from what I've read regarding the North Atlantic, was so incredibly micro-managed you wouldn't believe...something like down to even the size of sandwiches! It was ridiculous. Ironically, inflight service was the one thing not regulated by the CAB domestically, which is why you had the likes of CO becoming legendary for their level of service, as it was the one way they could compete against the big "trunks" without CAB interference. And no, buy-onboard by no means originated post-9/11...in the U.S. it goes back to the 60's IIRC with the advent of "economy" fares (a step lower than "coach").
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wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:48 pm

So I have to reneg on my previous finding. The upper berth only slept 1.

I think the reason they converted to sleeperettes so quickly is because of how cumbersome the initial setup was. You technically couldn't fill all the seats if it was a sleeper flight since for every pair of 4, you could only sleep 3.

When the sleeperette seat debuted very quickly after, it didn't matter because everyone had a bed, and the upper berth was just considered an upgrade.

While the upper berth was technically an upgrade initially too, it wasn't the same as upgrading from the sleeperette, because initially the lower berths were also more than the rear regular seats to begin with whereas when they installed sleeperettes, all the lower part of the cabin was identical.

Image
 
wernerga3
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:12 pm

This also States it was a single upper berth
Image

Here are some early rare photos. The main differentiator is the blue seats on the bottom. All sleeperettes were beige

Image
Image
Image


Notice the difference between the initial berth seat and sleeperette seat
Image
Image
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:23 am

wernerga3 wrote:
debauchery

wernerga3 wrote:
debaucherous


“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

I suppose there might have been more opportunity for shenanigans in a sleeper berth than a regular seat, but I don't think that's what you're really intending to refer to.

Very interesting thread though, I wish I would have been born earlier so I could have experienced these old piston birds first-hand.
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incitatus
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Re: Boeing 377 Cabin question

Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:36 pm

Found a United booklet on the B377:
http://www.ovi.ch/b377/brochures/united/
Upper berths in the front.
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