Pan American World Airlines has sold all seats for the remainder of the year on roundtrip flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) aboard the Boeing 747-200. To meet the overwhelming demand, a 2015 schedule has been planned and will be announced November 15.
In reality, Pan Am, the airline that revolutionized luxury air-travel in the 60’s and 70’s before its demise in 1991 remains deceased. However, in passionate deference to Pan Am’s gilded age of travel, one company is reliving the era, and boarding passengers on an aircraft that never leaves the terminal. The four hour 1970’s reenactment ‘takes off’ once a week in a reconstructed Boeing 747.
Anthony Toth, owner of the Pan Am Experience, has been collecting Pan Am memorabilia for years and used his garage to assemble a Pan Am first-class cabin. Toth became enamored with the golden age of travel when he boarded his first Pan Am jet as a child.
“For me, walking through that Pan Am doorway when I was a kid and seeing the flight attendants with the staircase in the background was such an exciting moment that I want to re-create that for everybody who walks into this airplane,” he told the Long Beach Press Telegram.
Toth has dismantled the fuselage in his garage and put it all back together at the Los Angeles studios of Air Hollywood, which provides aviation sets and props for film and T.V. The cost of jetting off to yesteryear? Seats in Clipper Class are $197, while $297 upgrades you to First Class. Here is their description of the evening:
“Your Pan Am experience starts on the main deck with a fun cocktail hour and beverage service where guests can explore and mingle about the cabin. Each stewardess that greets you will be adorned in an original 1970’s Pan Am uniform. Our Pan Am crew will offer various video & audio selections (from the 70’s) while you sit back in your Pan Am Sleeperette seat (for Main Deck passengers) or Upper Deck Lounge Seats (for Upper Deck passengers) and enjoy the company of your fellow travelers.
Soon after, the crew will set your table for a truly memorable dining event. In classic Pan Am style, you’ll be served a delightful gourmet meal. Everything from the china to the glassware is authentic with careful attention to the exquisite service delivery of the era and menu offerings of Pan Am.
After dinner, you will have an opportunity to view the vast collection of airline memorabilia and view other film production sets.“
Toth’s vast collection of vintage Pan Am props does indeed ensure an authentic setting – from original logo-inscribed cutlery, china, and towels… to matches, playing cards, and coasters.
He tells Yahoo Travel, “Younger generations have no recollection of what it was like to fly during the ’70s…the Pan Am Experience is a way for you to get a feel for what it was like to fly back in that era.”
Also, passengers are strongly encouraged to dress appropriately – which means smart, 1960’s air-travel attire. The customary gym-pants-and-sandals traveling-slob uniform of 2014 may be a ticket for a turbulent ride.
Currently the evening’s dinner features a shrimp and lump crab-meat cocktail starter, chateaubriand carved seat-side, chicken, and pasta. Dessert is fruit and cheese served from a trolley, accompanied by coffee and liqueurs.
Thankfully the cabin does not simulate the actual movement of a flight, however you will hear the familiar sound of gently humming jet engines.
The Pan Am Experience – an admirable ode to a glamorous era of flying – air-travel in its prime, preserved and celebrated in a defiant gesture to a woefully decaying, utilitarian-driven industry. It’s a historic museum exhibit brought to life by white gloves, pleated thigh-length skirts and a decorum that tragically death-spiraled decades ago.
All flights through 2014 sold-out.
Calendar for 2015 to be announced November 15.
It’s all too evident that many ordinarily sound and sensible people, upon entering a commercial aircraft, become unbearable lunatics. The two most popular theories that may account for this phenomenon:
1) People become stressed by the experience of hurtling helplessly through space at 600mph.
2) People become stressed by the experience of sharing elbow, knee, foot, and meal space with an unbathed, stool/mucus-loose sasquatch in cutoffs and tank top that reads, “Warning – Fart is locked & loaded! “