Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

On-board a Boeing 747 – With Pan Am & United Airlines

Written by Christopher Alm • February 23rd, 2010
On-board a Boeing 747 – With Pan Am & United Airlines

Boeing’s Mockup 747 cabin, circa 1970

Boeing 747, also known as the jumbo jet was first introduced in 1970. With Pan American airlines as one of its major investors they had the possibility to influence the design and development of the aircraft. It was deemed that the world needed a jet plane of massive size that could transport hundreds of passengers fast, efficient and with style.

Juan Trippe who was the CEO of Pan Am at the time predicted that the 747 would be “… a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind’s destiny.” (Source).

Here is a taste of various photos found at the great airliners.net website, depicting how it was like to travel with a Pan Am jumbo jet in the early 1970s. For anyone who hasn’t been able to experience it first hand, I recommend getting the Space Age Lounge Volume 3 compilation and then read the article about former Pan Am stewardess Valerie Waterman. What are your memories of jet traveling in the 1970s?

Source Airliners   

Above: Stewardess getting ready to make an annoucement — Photo via airliners.net

Above: United Airlines lounge and bar — Photo via airliners.net

Above: United Airlines conference area — Photo via airliners.net

Above: United Airlines had its first class lounge on the lower deck — Photo via airliners.net

Above: “747 heavy requesting landing permission” — Photo via airliners.net

Above: Pan Am’s economy class cabin — Photo via airliners.net

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • diego

    The first time I flew in a 747 was from Tokyo to San Francisco on Pan Am and I remember the flight wasn't even close to full but it was incredibly comfortable, with the flight attendants (stewardesses at the time) dressed in Pan Am's uniforms and incredibly friendly. The next time I flew in a 747 was again from Tokyo to San Francisco on Northwest only a couple of years ago and it was jam-packed. I rode in business but the coach seats were so close together, some people looked like they had their heads in the laps of the people behind them. I will be flying on a 747 again soon and this time, I've chosen a seat in what used to be the lounge area although that feature has long since disappeared.

  • Business class or Economy Extra is the way to go if you have the extra cash to spend. Flying is definitely not what it used to be some 20-30 years ago. I wonder if someone with enough capital will ever buy the Pan Am brand and use it to bring back the glamor and style of traveling in the air. Sir Richard Branson and Virgin airlines have somewhat succeded with that though, but it's still not close to the way it used to be. Any takers?

  • The first interior shot is not a Pan Am 747; that’s the Boeing company interior mockup. The other interiors are from a United Airlines 747 – the stewardess seen in two shots is wearing the red/blue/green 1970s uniform, and Pan Am didn’t have lounges on the main deck of its 747s.

  • The final interior shot is a Pan Am ship, with the distinctive ivory and red upholstery.

  • Thank you for clearing that out Robert.

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