Skip to comments.In One Man's Garage, Pan Am Still Makes the Going Great
Posted on 11/02/2009 8:16:51 AM PST by 1rudeboy
Mr. Toth's First-Class Obsession Recreates Defunct Airline's Cabin (Spiral Stairs, Too)
Fliers nostalgic for the golden era of air travel might want to book a trip to Anthony Toth's garage.
Mr. Toth has built a precise replica of a first-class cabin from a Pan Am World Airways 747 in the garage of his two-bedroom condo in Redondo Beach, Calif. The setup includes almost everything fliers in the late 1970s and 1980s would have found onboard: pairs of red-and-blue reclining seats, original overhead luggage bins and a curved, red-carpeted staircase.
Once comfortably ensconced, Mr. Toth's visitors can sip beverages from the long-defunct airline's glasses, served with Pan Am logo swizzle sticks and napkins, plus salted almonds sealed in Pan Am wrappers. They can even peel open a set of plastic-wrapped, vintage Pan Am headphones and listen to original in-flight audio recordings from the era, piped in through the armrests.
Mr. Toth, a 42-year-old global sales director at United Airlines, has spent more than 20 years on his elaborate recreation of a Pan Am cabin, which includes a few economy-class seats, too. All told, Mr. Toth estimates he has spent as much as $50,000 on the project, which he hopes someday to turn into a museum.
"The brand was so powerful, he says. "They had this uncompromising standard of service."
To find artifacts from the airline, which ceased operation in 1991, Mr. Toth spends his vacations trekking out to an area in the Mojave Desert known as the airplane boneyard, where retired aircraft are stripped for parts. When he can't buy an original Pan Am item in good condition, like seat covers, he recruits professionals to create suitable stand-ins.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Why am I not surprised? Nonetheless, that's 'merica!!!
Maybe he wants to relive a ‘mile high’ club experience
I was wondering how much time would elapse before someone sent this thread into the gutter.
How many stewardess stand-ins does he audition every month?
Reminds me of this.
I am not a jet-setter, but when I was a little girl and a teenager, we took family vacations to Hawaii and flew on Pan Am to Honolulu. Those flights were luxurious and wonderful, even for a twitchy little kid. The hostesses were kind and indulgent, and of course I thought they were the epitome of sophistication and beauty. If I went to sleep they would cover me with a blanket so delicately that I didn’t wake up. We were awarded little “wings” pins just for being on the flight. The food was incredibly good, and it was served on china with real, metal utensils, not plastic, and linen napkins. On one trip, the inflight meal was beef Stroganoff and I thought it was best thing I had ever tasted. They gave me a second meal and I ate that one, too. It used to be such a pleasure to fly, and now it is a totalitarian nightmare.
beat me to it...
My 1989 flight from Miami to Buenos Aires and Rio back to Miami were the two best flights I have ever had. I will always remember them!
Dollars to doughnuts he moved out of his mom’s basement. (under duress)
I’ve remember those days somewhat.Recently,we traveled in
Japan on ANA and was treated as a human being. I guess 99.00
to ca.doesn’t much airline?
I remember the golden age of air travel, which ended about 1982. Airlines were a genteel, comfortable, and dignified means of travel. The Civil Aeronautics Board regulated airfares, keeping the ticket price high enough to weed out the riffraff while ensuring a modest profit for each air carrier. As a result, the dozens of airlines that existed back then were forced to compete on service, not price; even coach class travel was luxurious by today’s standards.
Then the Feds deregulated the airlines. Tickets got cheaper, the riffraff flocked to the airports, profits plummeted, and the carriers began to die.
Ten years from now, there will be one U.S. airline — call it UnitedAmericanSouthwestDelta — and passengers who use it will be sedated and stacked like cordwood inside the jets.
Hooray for deregulation. It made air travel miserable, humiliating, and something to be avoided.
"Are you going to sit in that basement and build Pan AM cabins for the rest of your life?"
He seems a little obsessive-compulsive.
I miss the days that a roundtrip ticket to Los Angeles cost the same as an automobile. /s
I was lucky enough to fly JFK to Frankfurt via PanAm First Class just months before the bankruptcy and shutdown.
Food, drink and appetizer choices included pheasant (yes, pheasant!) or prime rib, a choice of fine French red or white Bourdeauxs, Champagne, escargotes, black caviar and amazing desserts.
After dinner selections included XO Cognacs, a choice of various single malt Scotch, vintage Port or botrytised Semillons.
It was the most unbelievable airline service I have ever experienced or will ever hope to see. Such service will be considered a distasteful relic of the post-bourgeoisie era...unless of course, you’re a guest at the WH or aboard AF-1, or an inner member of the Party.
coulda guessed that.
I was a kid back when air travel used to be a special event, something that everyone looked forward to. We would fly on vacations from Maine to Florida, always on Delta, and the service was incredible. Now you either pay quadruple the price to fly first class (which many flights have eliminated altogether), or you take a sedative a try and sleep through the hell of “modern” coach-level air travel.
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