Tag Archives: Pan Am

Random Aviation Photo

2 Feb

Back on June 20, 2011, my daughter and I were hanging out with the Airplane Geeks out at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport for the annual Become a Pilot Day and aviation display. You can see my posts on the visit here and here.

The good news was that I had my camera and there were literally hundreds of things to photograph.  The bad news is that my batteries died, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted.  But I was able to get a snap of this Boeing 307 Stratoliner “Clipper Flying Cloud.” It carried 33 passengers and could cruise at 20,000 feet.  Enjoy!

Best Of: Top 10 Favorite Airline Commercials

28 Dec

Editor’s note: kids, Aunt Benet is taking the week off to enjoy the holidays with the family. So please enjoy these best ofs this week.  Happy Holidays!!

I know I usually do top aviation stories of the week, but I’m on travel, so I’m switching it up a bit.  The announcement that Frontier Airlines is rolling out a new advertising campaign — complete with television commercials — made me remember how much I love a good carrier campaign.

I’ve always been a fan of good airline commercials.  I like ones that make me laugh, that give me a sense of place and that show the wonderment of air travel.  Below are links to 10 of my favorites, in no particular order.  Which ones do you like? What did I miss?

Click HERE to see the commercials!

Five Interesting Aviation Stories

14 Oct

Kids, I must confess — I was so busy with this week’s National Business Aviation Association annual conference that I barely had time to keep up with the rest of the industry.  But I did manage to find five interesting stories I’d love to share with you.

  1. Back on July 9, I got to take a day trip up to United Airlines’ Chicago O’Hare hub for a party being held for Tom Stuker, who accumulated 10 million (yes, million) Mileage Plus miles (my AvWeek blog post on that is here).  One of the gifts given to Stuker was a Boeing 787 model. During his remarks at the festivities, United CEO Jeff Smisek said the 787 would be in the fleet by 2012.  He also quipped about how he had been waiting four years for the delayed plane.  And now, my Aviation Week colleague Darren Shannon writes about how another 787 production delay has caused United to cut its 787 delivery schedule from six to five of the type.
  2. Are you one of those people who use websites to manage all of your frequent flyer miles (I’m not one of them)?  if you’re using sites including AwardWallet, MileWise and GoMiles, you may be facing some trouble, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have sent “cease and desist” letters to these companies over their activities.
  3. SmarterTravel’s Ed Perkins gives us the skinny behind the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck trusted traveler program, which is quite similar to the old registered traveler programs (which were privately run).  But he also asks some very good questions about the program, including cost, locations and enrollment.
  4. My friend Sandra Gonzales, a multimedia journalist in New Orleans, shot this piece on how Louis Armstrong International Airport has become one of 8 American approved airports to fly to Cuba.
  5. As you know, the nostalgic aviation geeks had been waiting with bated breath for the new ABC-TV series “Pan Am.”  You can see my review of it in this Sept. 26 post.  Which is why I enjoyed this post from travel expert Peter Greenberg’s thoughts on the real Pan Am.

DC-3 prop in Susan Elliott's Delta social media office Photo by Benet J. Wilson

I’m still catching up on my Airplane Geek podcast episodes.  I just listened to Episode 166, featuring Delta Air Lines social media guru Susan Elliott.  It was a great episode., and you have to love a woman who has a genuine DC-3 prop and a white leather sofa in her work space!!  And I got to guest host Episode 168, with Lori Ranson, he America’s Air Transport Editor at Flightglobal. And don’t forget to read this week’s edition of Strange But True Aviation News!

I have one more week to go at Aviation Week.  And I thank you all for your kind tweets and emails.  But as a result, there will be some changes on my blog.  Mondays will now be my top stories of the previous week.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays will remain the same.  Thursdays are for Random Aviation Photos and Friday will be Strange But True Aviation News.    I hope you’ll continue to support me here!

Top Five Aviation Stories Of The Week

30 Sep

It has been a busy week for me.  I started out recovering from two journalism conventions where I had the chance to speak (and raise my aviation geek flag), and it ended with me cranking out stories for my day job.  So here are my picks for the week.

  1. I’m giving props to my Aviation Week colleagues Guy Norris and Mike Mecham, who led our team coverage of Boeing’s first 787 delivery, to Japan’s ANA.
  2. Speaking of 787s, I was at United’s Houston hub on Tuesday (a separate post is coming out about that) and I saw a mock-up of the 787  in the E Concourse.  CEO Jeff Smisek tells the Chicago Tribune that his carrier’s first 787s are coming into the fleet by the second half of next year. He couldn’t resist a dig a Boeing, noting he’s been waiting for the plane since Continental ordered it in 2004.
  3. JetBlue CEO David Barger used an appearance on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley to call the partial shutdown of FAA earlier this summer “criminal.”
  4. I was intrigued by Scott McCartney’s Wall Street Journal story on kids attaining elite status on the world’s airlines.  My daughter, 5, started flying when she was 10 days old. She was one of the youngest children to earn a Rapid Rewards ticket on Southwest Airlines.
  5. I’m a bit behind with this story (Sept. 19), but I wanted to share this Marketwatch story on what the Transportation Security Administration is doing to speed passengers through airport checkpoints.  TSA fought the registered/trusted traveler concept for so long, it fascinates me how now they’re going in that direction.

My beloved Airplane Geeks were smart enough to interview one of my favorite social media peeps, Susan Chana Elliott of Delta Air Lines, in the latest episode.   And we have the usual basket of crazy over at AvWeek’s Things With Wings blog with Strange But True Aviation News.   I’m going to watch episode two of ABC-TV’s “Pan Am” this Sunday, but three strikes and they’re out!

Reviews Are In For ABC-TV’s “Pan Am”

26 Sep

Aviation geeks filled with nostalgia for the heydey of jetsetting, the 1960s, were salivating over this new show. ABC went full court press wooing us to build the buzz for the show, starring Christina Ricci. Here are the reviews.

So, #avgeek peeps – what did we think of #PanAm ?
September 26, 2011
TONIGHT! The new ABC TV Show “PanAm” Debuts

This is a rare Sunday post to let you folks know what I’ll be doing later this evening: watching the premiere of ABC-TV’s “Pan Am,” starring Christina Ricci. For those of you not old enough to remember, Pan Am was a U.S.-based flag carrier that flew international routes.
Attention passengers: We are about to begin boarding. Please have your televisions set to ABC at 10|9c and thank you for flying #PanAm
September 26, 2011
My favorite media critic, Eric Deggans of the St. Pete Times, went on NPR to offer his thoughts about the show, right before its debut.
TV shows, TV news, media issues: The Feed | tampabay.com

Best TV shows, worst TV shows, media issues and debates … it’s all here at the Feed, a blog on TV, media and modern life by St. Petersburg Times TV/media critic Eric Deggans. Possibly the most critical guy at the Times, he has served as music, media and TV critic at various times over 10 years.
@PanAmABC You made me not only want the bag now but the whole outfit! I want to be a #PanAm girl! Great premiere.
September 26, 2011
Can’t you just SMELL that new #707 @PanAmABC plane smell? He touched the fuselage-just like me!! #ilovepanam
September 26, 2011
Right on. MT @MarkHsoap: I liked #PanAm. Vaguely uneasy about spy plot (just like mob plot on #PlayboyClub). #MadMen doesn’t need this.
September 26, 2011
Pan Am Premiere Review: Buckle Up, Adventure Calls!

Pan Am took us back to the golden age of air travel, when every little girl had “stewardess” on her list of prospective careers and people wore their church clothes for a trip to the airport. Pilots and stewardesses were role models, and if we didn’t know it then, we learned in the premiere that these weren’t just any guys and girls.
It’s a three-man cockpit!! How very retro! Idlewild Tower! I am in MSY having an absolute #avgeek freak out! #PanAm #PanAmABC
September 26, 2011
saw #PanAm last night, i actually really liked it, think i’ll catch it next week. I’m a sucker for the old days.
September 26, 2011
Predicting the 1st Black staurtist in the 4th season. She’ll come in during the civil rights movement. Gabrielle Union? #panam
September 26, 2011
.@poshtash87 You know there were no black people in the 1960s! #PanAm
September 26, 2011
@soultravelers3 I watched #PanAm last nite.Was hoping for it to be a good show.Lots of nostalgia,good music, but bad writing.Think I’ll pass
September 26, 2011
Henry Harteveldt: “Hated it. Very, very disappointed.”
Real-Life Pan Am Stewardesses Review ABC’s ‘Pan Am’ (VIDEO)

‘Pan Am’ is one of the most anticipated new shows of the fall 2011 TV season — several AOL TV staffers gave the series a hearty \”watch it!\” after viewing
#PanAm was actually pretty good!Not representing the 60′s with a 100% accuracy but pretty enjoyable&damn I wish stewardesses were like that!
September 26, 2011
@breakofJayeDawn I like the nostalgia of #PanAm But I don’t see it lasting long. Unless the CIA missions get really interesting & alluring
September 26, 2011
#avgeek peeps-did you see that #PanAm Connie in Cuba? Le sigh…
September 26, 2011
And we’ll end this with a YouTube clip, below, on the introduction of Boeing 707 service on the real Pan Am. Enjoy!

TONIGHT! The new ABC TV Show “PanAm” Debuts

25 Sep

All photos courtesy of ABC-TV

This is a rare Sunday post to let you folks know what I’ll be doing later this evening: watching the premiere of ABC-TV’s “Pan Am,”  starring Christina Ricci.  For those of you not old enough to remember, Pan Am was a U.S.-based flag carrier that flew international routes.

The stewardesses wore the iconic blue uniform and the pilots were known as sky gods.  Go watch “Catch Me If You Can” to get a sense of the buzz Pan Am generated.

The carrier died in 1991 after it was unable to adapt to a deregulated airline industry.  But its legend lives on.  The Met Life building on Park Avenue in New York City will always be the Pan Am building to those of us who remember the good old days.  Currently, regional carrier Gulfstream International Airlines occupies Pan Am’s Miami headquarters and touches of the airline can be seen all over the facility.

ABC has thoughtfully posted episodes for viewing, here.  Visit the Official Show Website: http://abc.go.com/shows/pan-am.  You can follow the show on Twitter at @PanAmABC.  Become a  Facebook fan here.

And I’d be delighted to hear what you think about the show after it airs!!

Top 10 Favorite Airline Commercials

23 Sep

I know I usually do top aviation stories of the week, but I’m on travel, so I’m switching it up a bit.  The announcement that Frontier Airlines is rolling out a new advertising campaign — complete with television commercials — made me remember how much I love a good carrier campaign.

I’ve always been a fan of good airline commercials.  I like ones that make me laugh, that give me a sense of place and that show the wonderment of air travel.  Below are links to 10 of my favorites, in no particular order.  Which ones do you like? What did I miss?

1.  Frontier Airlines “Still the One”: a classic, with the carrier’s  animal tails singing the lyrics to “You’re Still The One.”

2.  AirTran – Babysitters: grandparents get their own surprise when they make a visit to see their twin baby grandchildren.

3.  United Airlines – “The Dragon”: I know this one got a lot of flack when it was unveiled, but I was mesmerized by the juxtaposition of the man, the dragons and his son (yes, I did a semester of film school ;) )

4. Eastern Airlines – Disney:  This is a charmer from back in the day when Eastern was the official airline of Walt Disney World.  The quality is a bit fuzzy, but it’s still a great commercial!

4. Southwest Airlines – Bags Fly Free On Stomachs: this commercial was funny then, but funnier now that Southwest has bought AirTran.

5.  Delta Air Lines – Keep Climbing: Lift: again, this was another one that got a bad rap, but I loved it for several reasons.  One, I love how it looked in black and white. Two, I loved that they used actual employees. And three, it showcased by beloved Boeing 747.

6.  Western Airlines – The only way to fly: this 10-second gem features the iconic airline bird.

7. PSA – Our Smiles Aren’t Just Painted On: I’m from California, and I was a great fan of this originally intra-state carrier. They were known for having smiles painted on the front of the plane. If you’re lucky, you may see the PSA heritage plane in the US Airways fleet.

8.  Piedmont Airlines – McLean Stevenson, Fishing Hole: the former M*A*S*H star was tapped in the 1980s to do commercials for the carrier.

9. British Airways – The Good Life: as much grief as the airline got over the opening of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, this commercial of the terminal as an aquarium won rave reviews.

10.  Pan Am – Introduction to Jet Service: as an homage to the launch of the television show “Pan Am” on ABC this Sunday, I thought I’d include this classic 3:55-minute commercial.

Top Aviation Stories Of The Week

12 Aug

First, thanks again for sticking with me last week as I ran another best-of while I attended the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia.  While I didn’t do any writing, I did keep up with the news.  But I couldn’t be constrained to only five stories, so check out my list of the most interesting aviation/airline news, below.

  • My Aug. 10 post about the Tuskegee Airmen prompted Ernie Nackord (@WWIIPilots) to post a comment with a link to a 47:10 minute video interview with Airman Adolph Moret and his wife Eline.  I plan on watching it this weekend, and I hope you take the time to do the same.
  • Scott McCartney posts at the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Terminal blog on how despite airlines offering better food choices, you guys insist on going for the junk food.  My July 19 post offers my own view on inflight food.
  • Cranky Flier (aka Brett Snyder) says why the airlines were correct in NOT passing along a temporary FAA tax cut along to passengers.
  • Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and loves to shoot out sound bites about parts of the air transportation system that catches his attention.  This week he targeted the Essential Air Service (EAS) program in the Sunshine News, saying he wants to shut the program down.  But those are fighting words to rural lawmakers, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce committee.  I covered my feelings on EAS in a Feb. 9 post.
  • The Los Angeles Times writes about how the new ABC-TV television show Pan Am has sparked a nostalgia for the airline’s logo line. (There’s more after the video, kids)

We’ll end the week with two things that are perfect bookends — a post on Up Up And A Gay on flight attendants talking about gross things passengers do on planes (snot-covered blankets, dripping breast milk) and Aviation Week’s Strange But True Aviation News (urinating passengers, bats on a plane). Enjoy the weekend, kids!!

My Top 5 Aviation Stories Of The Week

4 Apr

We’re closing the book on another week in the wild world of aviation, so let’s go right to my top stories.

  1. Not to toot my own horn, but I do a post over at AvWeek’s Business Aviation Now blog on what is happening with the Bell-Agusta 609 Tiltrotor aircraft.  Back in the 1990s, this aircraft — the civil version of the V22 Osprey — was being touted by partners Bell-Boeing as a potential game changer for commercial aviation. But it hasn’t quite worked that way.
  2. Flight Global’s Jon Ostrower has a great story on the 10-year anniversary of the never-built Boeing Sonic Cruiser.  He writes the plane got caught between the need for “higher, faster, farther” aircraft to those that delivered “faster, better cheaper” results.
  3. The Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal blog links to former NetJets Chairman David Sokol’s interview on CNBC the day after he resigned from parent company Berkshire Hathaway.  The blog also did a cool recap of Sokol’s CNBC interview as it was happening.
  4. The Seattle Times writes about how Alaska Airlines apologized and announced plans to compensate passengers whose flights were canceled after a computer outage.  And kudos to Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden and Horizon Air President Glenn Johnson for posting an apology video on the carrier’s YouTube channel.
  5. Farecompare.com’s Rick Seaney uses his ABC News column to offer travelers 10 ways they can win the airline fee wars.

The week would not be complete without “Strange But True Aviation News” from Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog.  And we’ll end with a Pan Am commercial from the 1980s touting its first and Clipper Class cabins.  Enjoy!

Ahhh…The Good Old Days of Flying

6 Jan

Photo by James Vaughn via Flickr

OK, I’m going to risk the wrath of my friend KevBo with this post.  Kev just *hates* articles that talk about the “golden” age of travel, usually seen as the start of the jet age in the early 1950s through deregulation in 1978.

EDITOR’S NOTE: KevBo has weighed in. He says: “I don’t mind nostalgia;  what drives me nuts
is the “things were so much better when” talk that completely loses
sight of the other side of the bargain — we democratized air travel
and made it no longer a luxury good.

But this NBC Chicago article by consumer travel writer Chris Elliott is just too much for me to resist.  As the daughter of an Air Force officer, I flew my first flight from JFK to London Heathrow on Pan Am in 1970, when my dad was assigned to RAF Mildenhall. Between 1970 and 1978, my sister and I flew regularly, and it was special.

My cousins would drive with us to the airport, and everyone was dressed in their Sunday best.  Back then, security wasn’t nearly the nightmare it has become now.  On one trip, 2 cousins actually got to take a look inside the plane, which was a real treat.  The seats were comfy, the food was actually edible and the passengers were civilized.

But would I trade to go back to those days? No. Now, even with all the tightened security, you can get to hundreds of places safety and at a bargain price.  Back in the day, most people did not fly at all, and if you knew someone who flew, it was a big deal.

Now flying is like taking the bus.  And I don’t think that’s all bad, and KevBo agrees with me, saying “*Of course* the experience isn’t as nice as it once was– but we made a *deal*, and the American public is better off as a result. If most `golden days’ talk sounded like
you, I wouldn’t complain at all.”

We all need to get out more and see the world, and with air fare bargains all over the place, there’s nothing stopping us!


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