View Full Version : Pan American anniversary

16th Dec 2013, 08:58
A couple of weeks ago, it was the 22nd anniversary of the closure Pan Amercan World Airways (source: blog (http://www.aircharterservice.com/blog/the-22nd-anniversary-of-pan-ams-downfall)) and while they were a bit before my time, I'd have still loved to experience them at their peak, because they were one of the top airliner's in the 70s.

Did anyone on this forum ever fly with them? What was your experience? Do you miss them, or do you think the aviation world has moved on significantly since then?

16th Dec 2013, 11:50
They were of their time, that is they had an 'empire' and their customers were mostly affluent or conducting business. Under the helm of Juan Trippe they had a clear vision and were able to hold to it, but like all things that came to an end and the Lockerbie disaster in 1988 compounded that further. United and Delta ate into their markets and that was that. The service was good and they had a certain cachet. I last flew on a 727 of theirs between JFK and MIA in the early 90's and whilst perfectly nice, the impression was that the airline had had it's best years.


Background Noise
16th Dec 2013, 12:10
Flew on a Pan Am 747 across the pond in 1985 - we turned round just short of half-way and it was announced to the passengers that the company had received a bomb threat.

We landed at Gander in the middle of the night and vacated the aircraft until after the deadline. We all got a free phone call and the restaurant opened with all food free on Pan Am. Later we all had to check our luggage - whatever wasn't ours was left behind and we flew home.

I can find lots of info about bombings and threats but nothing about this one - it would have been 13 July 1985 I think.

Spookily we had flown out from Heathrow 3 weeks earlier on the day an Air India 747 had been blown up west of Ireland.

16th Dec 2013, 16:09
I still have luggage tabs with my FF number on them and my lifetime cllipper club pass, I took one of their early sleeper seats to Rio in first class with my wife in 10 abreast? business class.

Once flying between Rio and Argentina on their day flight in first, there were only two of us in first and I remarked to the Stewardess about the uniqueness of the Stainless Clipper model attached to the forward closet door that I would like to have. Surpisingly she said I could have it but I didn't have the balls to nick it.

I have a utube video of my flight where we blew an engine out of JFK to NRT in cruise and had to make a fuel dump and air-turn-back. Sitting in first class again I was cracking jokes about the poor sods in New Jersey that were getting sprayed with our fuel. I laughed again when the captain asked us "please do not smoke" during the fuel dump. I met the captain later and talked to him about it, I recall on the video that his name was captain Bama.

Later on the flight we reloaded with the Hall and Oats singing group in first but unfortuneately not enough flight attendendants to serve meals on the 14 hour flight. This didn't go down well with the other first class passengers so we took over the galleys ourselves cooked our own meals fumbling with the oven controls and such, All of this I captured on a video including my stupid ad-hoc interview with the Hall and Oates group. (my kids hated me for that).

Years later I contacted the Hall and Oates group and offered them the video and they invited my whole family to a backstage tour at one of their gigs.

I still have somewhere a letter from the CEO Acker to me thanking me for my support of Pan Am's actions in KHI where their pilots went down the ropes from the cockpit durring an attack saving the plane from taking off with it's passengers..

John Hill
16th Dec 2013, 17:03
Several trans-Pacific crossings in the early '70's, SLF, I often had most of the cabin to myself..

16th Dec 2013, 17:10
When I left active duty air force in 1982, Pan Am and TWA were first choice among aspiring air line pilots. Wide body..International..High paying - all anybody could want. Things change.

16th Dec 2013, 17:15
By the time they closed down PanAm was one of the most overrated airlines in the world.The aircraft were dirty,in poor condition and badly maintained.Their safety record was not the best to say the least. Immediately they ceased operating I was involved with a project using two ex PanAm B747-100 and was appalled at the condition - the interiors were a disgrace - armrests held on with tape etc it was on par with a third world airline. The crews however were a different story - both cockpit and cabin crew were of the highest standard,great people who were a pleasure to work with who were heart broken that the company which they had served was out of business.

16th Dec 2013, 17:23
By strange coincidence breaking news that Libya has appointed two prosecutors on the Lockerbie case.

16th Dec 2013, 17:23
appalled at the condition

Slow death is agonizing, particularly for the once proud.