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How Pan Am Airways Dominated International Travel in the 1930s

Starting with just a mail route, Juan Terry Trippe helped create a uniquely American luxury experience. ( More...

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mike donahoe 5
I remember baggage tags on your suitcases announcing to the world you had traveled on TWA Ambassador service Lockheed Constellation Jetstream's, American's Mercury DC-7's, Delta Chicago and Southern "Crown" evince DC-7's, even on BOAC's DC-7C's! A real "badge" of distinction! And one of the lucky few whose luggage proclaimed "Concorde Class"-both British Airways and Air France.
And now, good ol' Southwest. Wow!
TWA 1955-1984. Colonial Airlines before that, and Flying Tiger as well. Proud to have been part of this industry when there was respect shown between employee and passenger. I have some memorabilia which bring back wonderful memories. I agree some changes are difficult. I also remember working hijackings and the incredible emotions of personal betrayal and invasion. Many of us stay in close contact as the family members we had become. I truly became a Citizen of the World during that time. I so remember Pan Am, Eastern, Braniff, BOAC, Civil Air Transit, World Airways, Bonanza, PSA, Continental, all the Flag carriers that are no more. Those were the days.
And the name lives on ... as a railroad.

I believe I read somewhere that the family primarily in charge of PAR had at least some historical connection to J Trippe, making this more than just a case of a random party buying rights to an old brand.
Mitch Ford 1
John Marcel 1
The Railroad and one version of Pan Am as an airline is owned by Timothy Mellon of Mellon bank lineage. The railroad, having recently taken the name, still runs in the Northeast US. There are still a few small aircraft from this version in a hanger at the Concord, NH Airport. Here's a link to one aircraft that is/was in Concord. A search of N525PA on will show one of the planes that is/was in Concord.
Pan Am set up all the communications our country used in the Pacific during WW 11 but our country denied them rights to Fly passengers cross country while allowing foreign airlines to do so SHAME ON US.
David Ross 1
Foreign airlines have never been allowed to fly passengers between American cities.
Contrary to popular believe, Pan Am actually did fly domestic routes. These were flights between the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Jutta Grimm 1
Pan Am flew for a certain time transcontinental from JFK to LAX/SFO but TWA had the rights to fly within the U.S. and also internationally!! Which was unfair.
Pan Am is coming back in January! It is going to be HUBed in Phoenix and Raleigh!
Jutta Grimm 1
Any specifics known?
Billy Kessler 1
One day in 1963 or 64, my father took his two young sons to explore the legendary round Pan Am terminal at what was still Idlewild. We walked out on the tarmac to wander around under the new 707s. Even in pre-terrorism days, this was pushing it. A mechanic came running out to tell us to go back inside, and my father (who always had a lot of nerve), said to him "It's ok. I'm Juan Trippe. Go back to your work". And he did.
My one and only ride with Pan Am was the return to the world flight from Frankfurt to JFK. My mustering out of the Army in 1972, coach on a 747, don't even remember the model type. Being a military paid flight, I had to be in uniform, which turned out to be granted extra services - free drinks. I was so excited about coming home that the flight is now just a blur of remembrance.
BaronG58 2
Is it possible the "blur of remembrance" was caused by the free drinks?? 8-)
chalet 1
Juan Trippe was one hell of a guy who built not only a great airline but defined modern aviation stadards year after year, unfortunately he considered that PanAm was a "Chosen Instrument of the Department of State" and thus the government will back him up regardless and foreign competition, awful management errors like ordering large quantities of airplanes without a due dilligence process or being dragged with a heavy pension funding obligations took its tall.
MKJ Jr. weekend for first flight! 737-700!
Jutta Grimm 1
We were given permition to use the the rights!
Kirk Hyde 1
Flew my first trans-Pacific flight with Pan Am on Christmas Day, 1972. LAX to TYO (when the main, the only, international airport was still in Tokyo), on PA1. Great flight number. The cabin crew outnumbered the passengers on my 747. Had my own stewardess to myself -- yes, we still called them that. She hung out with me the whole flight, because, as a German, she was shocked to meet an American who could speak German. And one who was learning Japanese, to boot. When I finally slept, I had 4 seats to myself (or 34, if I wanted them). For years I flew Pan Am on that route, and always had four seats to myself in Coach. It was actually fun to fly in those days.
Ric Wernicke -1
Trippe made the world smaller. Now we need a successor to bring back the civility to air travel promoted by Trippe. It was Juan that declared upstairs would be for passengers on the 747. It had been designed by Boeing to be a crew cabin. I spent so many delightful hours there. I would like to see a dress code for flying, along with no-fly blacklists for even minor infractions of decent behavior.

In the fifties for me it was an adventure to travel the world. Now it is quick and common place. I would like to do away with the TSA, for a system that checks passengers ahead of flight, and allow airports to become meeting places again. The armed camp atmosphere is so counter to the sensibilities of any right thinking person.

One can still find luxury in travel, but you are cloistered in the lounge of Emirates, Thai, or Singapore Airlines. You miss the experience that was the total luxury of Pan Am's Worldport at JFK.

Pan Am is long gone, mostly due to it's own machinations, but the final nail in the coffin was pounded in by terror that blew Pan Am 103 out of the sky. No one was really punished for this. It saddens me that flight is held hostage in a struggle for power between cowardly 5th Century nitwits.
Maybe the TSA (or similar organization) might have found the bomb that blew PanAm 103 out of the sky. Hijackings are also fewer, especially in the US. Remember we are talking about people who have NO regard for others, so someone needs to try to stop them.
Dan Ferguson 1
Thanks for your well meaning comments but I do take issue with your last paragraph where you maintain that Pan Am's demise was largely due to it's own machinations. To be clear, Pan Am assumed much in terms of what it expected from the U.S. government in terms of some kind of bailout- a kind of quid quo pro for what Pan Am did for the country during WW2 BUT lets be clear that prior to Lockerbie, Pan Am's economic performance was dramatically improving - I was in a position to know since my department Revenue Control was a crossroads for almost all relevant data that fed all of our systems at the time. Had Lockerbie not happened, I firmly believe that Pan Am might still be around. In any vent, I feel priviliged to have for 21 years belonged to such a group of aviation professionals the likes of which we may never see again.
Jutta Grimm 1
It warmed my heart to read especially the last sentence of your comment. I also worked for (and belonged to) this glorious company from 1967 to the very end. I also felt priviliged having had the opportunity to see the world on 707's and my beloved 747 (and the very first employee only 747 flight from CDG-JFK). Not forgotten are inflight lounge, upstairs dining room service with introduction by stewardess to fellow passengers! Those were the memorable years. It need not to be mentioned that sublo travel could be enjoyed in those days.
I ended my airline career after 16 years with United and retired two years ago.
Dan Ferguson 1 comment above was directed at Rick Wernicke's post and not James Driskell post.
Glad you cleared this up.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Let's vote this idiot out of here. Thumbs down and report as spam!!!
Which one?
As in, the poster already suspended or is there another one in need of a time out?
The one that was suspended. Very happy that action was quick ...But there are probably many more - sigh


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