I grew up around the airline industry and remember flying in the 1970’s, a very different era than today. Times change and the airlines are no different, yet it is fun to look back and remember how air travel used was. My first exposure to Pan Am was in the mid 1980’s in Seattle. I was working for Marriott In-Flight Services and we had the Pan Am catering contract. It was still the days of an impressive First Class presentation and even Business Class for the Seattle to London Heathrow Flight. Another story, but the first time you walk up to a 747 on the ramp, it makes an impression on you.
If you have ever wanted to see what it was like to travel on Pan Am in the 1970’s here is a glimpse. This story combines two topics I enjoy – air travel and photography – so I couldn’t pass up a chance to point this blog post out. Anthony Toth, had great memories of traveling on Pan Am in the 1970’s and wanted to recreate the experience. Over time, the project grew and he moved it from his garage to a warehouse in the Los Angeles area. He rents out his airplane cabin for photo shoots and consults on aviation period pieces – including the short-lived “Pan Am” television series.
The latest story is about Michael Kelley, a photographer who wanted to recreate what it was like to travel on Pan Am, and to document the event. The details went to the point of hiring models, outfitting them in period Pan Am stewardess uniforms and the passenger in period clothing. Airline catering was even ordered in per the Pan Am menus of the day and it was time to shoot.
The results look like a publicity shoot from the 1970’s. If you remember those days, it will bring back lots of memories – hopefully good memories. If you are into photography, the video posted on Michael Kelley’s blog is worth watching as he goes into great detail discussing what it was like to light this set and create the feeling of being at cruising altitude in a passenger jet – that diffused light that permeates the cabin. The results are astounding. Enjoy this story about the planning and the shoot!
Additional Pan Am History
If you would like to know more about the early days of Pan Am, from how the airline started in the 1920’s, through how they pioneered long-distance transoceanic air travel, this excellent book is worth the read! I thoroughly enjoyed the history, hard work and creativity that went into developing air travel.