GalaxyFlyer wrote:PAA to the Eastern Bloc including Moscow. Aeroflot to JFK and IAD. An acquaintance was the engineer on the first 707 into Prague, IIRC, a team came out and starting photographing the plane up close, engines, landing gear, wings
e38 wrote:AntonioMartin, the answer to your question, "were there flights between the USA and the Soviet Union during the Cold War?"
Yes, there were. But, the history is complicated.
Here's the short version . . . Juan Trippe of Pan American originally proposed the idea of flying to Moscow as early as the 1930s. Multiple factors--political, diplomacy, world events, technical issues, agreements, and many more issues, needed to be overcome for air service to actually begin.
All this was eventually resolved, and on July 15, 1968, Pan American World Airways and Aeroflot, on the same day, inaugurated scheduled passenger air service between New York (JFK) and Moscow (SVO)--Pan American operating a Boeing 707 (Flight 44) from New York to Copenhagen to Moscow. Aeroflot's flight operated Moscow-Montreal-New York with IL-62 equipment.
Pan Am's flight operated twice per week--Mondays and Fridays--and on the other days of the week operated New York-Copenhagen-Stockholm.
This was a BIG DEAL at the time. The following issue of LIFE magazine featured the inaugural service on the cover-a Pan Am flight attendant and an Aeroflot flight attendant embracing one another at Kennedy airport adjacent to an IL-62. Inside the magazine was a multi-page spread covering all aspects of this historic event.
Interestingly, for several years before this inaugural event, press releases and news articles announcing the proposed service between New York and Moscow featured Aeroflot's Tupolev TU-114 turboprop as the expected aircraft to operate Aeroflot's service. I am not aware how long before the actual inaugural that Aeroflot decided to use the IL-62.
With regard to your question above, "could regular people fly on these . . .?" Yes, regular people could fly on them--they were regularly scheduled flights--but there were restrictions concerning travel between the United States and the Soviet Union so most of the passengers were diplomats or employees of non-governmental organizations. The average traveler could not buy a ticket between New York and Moscow unless travelling with a special interest group or by special invitation of the governments (i.e., performing arts, athletes, education, research, etc). It may have been similar to some of the restrictions currently in place concerning travel between the U.S. and Cuba. Tourism in the Soviet Union (at least for U.S. citizens) was not yet developed and fares for the average Russian family who might want to visit relatives in the United States initially were prohibitively high. The Russian tourist agency, Intourist, was the general handling agent for issuing tickets on Aeroflot.
If you would like more "in-depth" information concerning air service between New York and Moscow, google "Pan American's first flight from New York to Moscow," and you will get multiple sites that describe the development of this air service. As a disclaimer, I got much of the information above from these sites. Nevertheless, although I was very young at the time, I DO remember the excitement in the news of these inaugural flights as well as the historic issue of LIFE magazine.
I hope this helps.
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