Air flyers of the 70s, rejoice!
To bring you a taste of how air travel was back in the day, you can now aboard a flight-to-nowhere to experience the most exquisite, crafted flying experience of the 1970s and 80s—The Pan American World Airways.
Watch how it all was back in the day:
For one evening, 24 passengers will get the opportunity to experience the look and feel of how Pan American World Airways existed back in the day, that was known for making flying synonymous with glamour.
In an industrial enclave of warehouses, passengers get access to first-class/business-class tickets to the Pan Am 747 that takes them aboard a mock-plane that gives 'fliers' to enjoy the assiduously recreated aircraft—re-modelled from a desert boneyard to the last detail like it exactly was in the 1970s.
"We worked really hard to get the inside correct," says Talaat Captan, CEO of Air Hollywood, a film studio that runs the Pan Am Experience as a side business with its business key area of providing the film industry with a site where they can find accurate aircraft interior mock-ups. With the 747, the goal was to 'capture a look and feel just like Pan Am in the day,' he told USA Today. The entire faux flying experience is staged once every month and gives consumers the feel of a dining theatre blended with faux airline flying.
Ticket to fly back in time
The Pan Am flying experience begins with guests who walk-in to the check-in counter — the First & Clipper class check-in desk where a Pan Am customer service agent provides you with a 70’s style boarding pass, ticket jacket and first class carry-on tags.
Your waiting area will be a museum replete with Pan Am travel posters and advertisements that ran back in the day.
During boarding, you will be greeted with sparkling bubbly to get the party started. Once boarding commences, you will be escorted by stewardesses— all dressed to impressed in Galaxy Gold and Superjet Blue attire that existed back then.
An announcement follows with the troop of stewardesses in their uniforms and travel cases who gather outside and parade their way to the plane either downstairs or the first-class lounge.
The pre-flight announcement follows, albeit with a few funny changes. "In event of loss of cabin pressure, the masks will probably not drop," a flight attendant announces, amidst peals of laughter. And if you're looking to use the lavatory while on the flight, you will actually have to step out of the plane!
Since the entire Pan Am flying experience is about as real as it can get, you will eagerly await your dining experience that will be one elaborate affair. The gourmet meal service includes cocktails, Pan Am almonds in little silver packages and stewardesses who carve the Chateaubriand steak or fork over a chicken breast, along with vegetable and roast potatoes, from a cart — everything served on real Pan Am chinaware.
The stewardesses, who are local actors recruited from a Hollywood casting call, enact their part with excitement and enthusiasm in equal measure.
"It's not working. It's so much fun," said Emma Twito of Los Angeles. "It's neat to go back in time," she told USA Today.
After arrival at its destination, Captan gives a tour of Air Hollywood and everything it entails. Spread out over several sound stages in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, Air Hollywood include several aircraft interiors that have appeared in TV shows and movies like Bridesmaids in 2013 to Airplane in 1980.
For Captan, the idea to create a novel, avant-garde theatre-dining-cum-flying experience took birth when he heard about a Los Angeles-based airline executive who boasted of a massive collection of Pan Am paraphernalia. From uniforms to menus, boarding cards, tickets and everything else in between, the gentleman in question Anthony Toth had kept his precious collection stored in his warehouse on the other side of Los Angeles.
But his million-dollar baby was the salvaged 747 interior.
Now Toth serves as both pilot and the host for the entire experience.
For Toth, his warehouse is a manifestation of his obsession with Pan Am that had begun when he was just five when his parents took him aboard a Pan Am 747 flight. "It changed my whole life," he revealed.
By the time he hit teenage, Toth had his first pair of Pan Am seats. From there, he went to collect as much as he could, including full sets of uniforms and the prized possession- his salvaged flight interior.
"I can't believe I have people coming to this 747 paying to enjoy this experience," Toth quipped enthusiastically.
Worth it all?
With a price tag of $295 for first class, the Pan Am flying experience doesn't come cheap. But those who've been a part of the experience have glowing recommendations to give. "It's a unique experience. You travel back in time. It has a lot of authenticity," one user Veronica Veglia added who 'flew' first class with her husband Pablo.
A flight attendant on another airline for 38 years, Roberta Callaghan lauded the experience as 'fabulous,' and said that the experience "took me back to the old days" when passengers actually dressed up to fly.
Precisely, if you're looking for a ticket back in time or if you were a fan of the film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio or the short-lived Pan Am TV drama a few years ago, this is your go-to next dining destination that will give you a literal slice of the 70's.
Watch the experience unfold here:
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