“The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche.”

The weather is absolutely gorgeous. I haven’t seen Gracie all morning. She’s been on the deck and roaming the back yard. The cats are in the sun. I’m the only one holed up in a dark room in the back of the house. Soon enough I’ll remedy that!

An article in the Boston Globe this morning mentioned that the Pan Am World Wing International congress is in Boston this year. It’s a reunion of women who flew as PanAm flight attendants. The article mentioned that the women think the new show PanAm gets everything right except the pilots who weren’t young but rather mostly in their 40’s and 50’s, veterans of WWII. They said girdle and weight checks were done regularly so they could fit into the tight skirts which were part of the uniform.

I flew PanAm several times including back from Africa. That was the flight which had a buffet under the stars, tables set up in the back of the plane with meats, cheeses, salads, breads andย  rolls. At one point the pilot asked people to sit down and take turns at the table as the tail of the plane was dragging from the weight.

I always thought of PanAm as a modern magic carpet which could take you anywhere. I flew on it when few people flew to Europe or any exotic destinations. I remember going to the back of the plane, putting up the seat arms and lying down to sleep across a row of empty seats. Back then it was the only US airline which flew to Africa. The flight started in East Africa then made its way to West Africa with stops in Lagos, Accra, Monrovia and Dakar. We could get off at each stop and stretch our legs. I remember walking around on the tarmac in both Monrovia and Dakar.

I know I’ve mentioned before that if I could go back in time I’d ride the PanAm Clipper. I’d go to Singapore and have a drink or two at Raffles Hotel. I’d fly all over the PanAm world; of course, I’d also be rich enough to do that. It is, after all, my dream!

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15 Comments on ““The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche.””

  1. Bob Says:

    In those days there were only two US Flag airlines Pan AM and TWA neither of which has survived. No other uS airline could fly international except to Canda, Mexico and the Carribian in those days.The goverment controlled all the routes both domestic and international.

    Yes those were the days when flying was glamours and a secure career. Unfortuately, after the 1978 deregulation act everyone got into real competition. Fares became cheaper and now flying is like riding on the Greyhoud bus.I got into the flying business because I thought it would be fun and a secure career. It’s no longer as much fun and it has been a terrible career.

    I am writing this from the Toronto airport. I arrived here 3 and a half hours early because of a work slowdown by the security people. So much for fun and glamour.

    I never flew on Pan Am, but I flew in the US as kid and remember when people dreesed up to fly and were given a meal, even in coach. Fligth attendants were young single woman who were there to provide service as well as safety. Today most international flight attendants on US legacy airlines are flying grandmas. One flight attendant I met had a button on her uniform that read, “My Job is to Save Your Ass, Not Kiss It”.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I flew TWA to Europe a few times, and it was in the days of backpacks and summers abroad.

      I loved flying in the 60’s and 70’s. It felt like an exclusive club. Getting dressed up was part of the trip. It was like putting on your Sunday clothes. Economy seats were roomier, and it seemed as if you were always being fed. After flying first class back from Ghana, I don’t know how I’ll ever be happy in coach again.

  2. olof1 Says:

    Iยดve flewn with a lot of different airline companies but never Pan Am,. The best was Air France. I had bought a kind of stand by ticket and got a seat in first class ๐Ÿ™‚ Iยดve never been that comfortable in any other plane ๐Ÿ™‚ No one in the crew could speak a single word of english and my french wasnยดt that good to begin with but we managed to understand each other anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I could have continued for ever in that plane ๐Ÿ™‚

    The worst was the swedish domestic airlines. Nasty personel cold coffee and only a toffee to go with that. I have actually never even been close to that in any other airline!

    Cold and windy here today but at least no rain. A light frost in the morning but tonight will be very cold they say. So there’s a fire in the stove since early morning and it will burn for quite some time more.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I too have flown all sorts of airlines including Aeroflot in Russia and a few puddle jumpers in South America. I flew Air Francce from Niger to what was then Upper Volta. With a time change, I arrived an hour before I left.

      Beautiful all day today-it’s still 61ยฐ.

  3. Hedley Says:

    I flew PanAm, it meant transatlantic, it mean America, it meant something special.

    I remain haunted by 103, the kids from Syracuse, those coming home for Christmas from the LSE,the disgrace of the LSE giving Sa’id a PhD and taking money, the same of Kenny MAcAskill in releasing Megrahi. I remember who was on board, who was Detroit bound and what happened.I remember the shame of all of those associated with Ghaddafi and his family and their willingness to be compromised for money. That includes the school that I treasured.

    Lockerbie destroyed much including Pan American Airlines.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I always thought it was special to fly PanAm. It was an adventure.

      I mourned the Lockerbie crash and the loss of all those wonderful young people. I cursed Ghaddafi.

      I still remember!

  4. Hedley Says:

    Btw…Raffles in Beijing is wonderful

  5. Zoey & Me Says:

    Flying Pan Am was like taking a mini vacation. I especially remember the flight from Atlanta to San Francisco. I also thought Eastern Airlines was a top competitor, the food service back then was catered by Marriott. That was before he became a hotel giant. But yay Pan Am! Whoever would have thought that airlines would turn out crappy like they are today?

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      Flying now is definitely ugly. You pay extra for bags. for legroom and for food. Soon enough there will be a slot for money at each of the bathrooms. When that heppens, the floor is fair game!

      • olof1 Says:

        Wasn’t it Virgin airlines that wanted to put slot machines by the toilets here in Europe? It was one of the cheaper airlines anyway but I think they were forbidden to do that ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. olof1 Says:

    Not slot machiens Coin! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I meant a slot in which to put a coin, not a slot machine. In some of the pay toilets here there is a clot in which you put your dime or quarter or whatever the cost to use the facility.

      • Bob Says:

        The europeans lead the world in cheap fair and crappy airlines. The CEO of Ryanair wants to get rid of co-pilots and train one flight attendant to be able to land the airplane in the event the pilot is incapacitated. They have advertisements on the over head bin doors, no tray tables, no window shades and the seats don’t recline. They even glue the safety card onto the seat back to prevent theft and they charge for everything other than a seat. Easy Jet is another bad copy of Ryanair. They make Southwest look good.

  7. katry Says:

    Bob,
    That description is frightening, especially the flight attendant part. Despite its name, I’d never fly it!


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