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"Air travel isn't like it used to be."
If you've ever uttered or even thought those words, then get your butt to Palm Springs this month to see what air travel used to be all about thanks to a large exhibition of archival pieces from Pan Am. This exclusive event is titled "Welcome Aboard: The Pan Am Experience" and will be on display through February 25 as part of Palm Springs' Modernism Week.
Collected by actor Phillip Keene, who worked as a Pan Am steward from 1987-1991, the bounty of vintage ephemera covers everything from Pan Am menus and uniforms to advertisements and luggage. It's really a chance to view the bits of iconic design that made up the legendary airline, and it doesn't matter if you've flown Pan Am in the past or not.
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Last night, by an open-air fire pit in Palm Springs, we met a man who had lost his lighter. He had owned it for 32 years, a present from an ex-girlfriend, he said. Sure, he later found it had slipped underneath his drivers seat, but still it got us to thinking. Here's a basic accessory of functiona lighterand, next to us, our iPhone on which we basically run our lives. How many years does the latter last? Two? If we're lucky.
All of this leads us to show you the photo above, which has made its way around the internet this past week as it does about once a year. It's an incredible image that falls in the annals of both technology and aviation history as it's a 5MB hard drive being loaded onto a Pan Am plane in 1956. it weighs one ton.
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2012 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready for 2013, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2012 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
This year, real life flight attendants were on their best behavior but, luckily for us, the fictional ones made up for it!
The stewardesses (as they were known back in the day) on ABC's short-lived soapy drama Pan Am had enough naughty secrets under those crisp blue uniforms and girdles to make us long for the days when flying was glam.
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When was the last time you flew over the Equator and, at the exact moment, toasted the occasion? Probably never, right? That's because it's not that big a deal anymore and airplane pilots have stopped announcing it. But trust that there was a time when heading over the equator was a very big frickin' deal and flight crew not only noted it, but celebrated it by passing out official certificates of equatorial passage to passengers.
This was a time before seatback TVs and the moving map channel, of course. In fact, the ritual of "Crossing the Line" goes back to the days of exploration by tall ship, a fact that wasn't lost on Pan Am when they borrowed the practice to break up the monotony that set in on those long Clipper (also a maritime term) flights, from the 1930s through the early 1960s.
The future doesn't look very bright for ABC's Pan Am. The show's season one finale attracted only 3.9 million viewers, the lowest in its time slot. So, after spending the past few weeks on the bubble, it looks like Sunday's dismal ratings guarantee the show won't be returning.
Now, with our favorite prime-time travel series kaput, we're hoping the networks will have something new travelers can look forward to in the fall season.
Here's a look at the top 3 most promising pilot shows for armchair adventurers:
The first season of ABC’s retro travel drama Pan Am is long over (as of a few days ago), but you might just be able to get your Pan Am fix out in Hawaii. Take a break from all the swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing and schedule a little time to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum on the island of Oahu. Located within Pearl Harbor on Ford Island, the museum has everything and anything when it comes to historic military and civilian air travel as it applies to the region.
It’s probably worth a visit any day of the week, but what we’re most interested in is the new Pan Am exhibit called “Come Fly With Me.” The exhibit has been up and running since late last year, and the opening coincides with the 75th anniversary of Pan Am’s first flights to and from the islands. There’s plenty of memorabilia on hand—remember, look but don’t touch—from both the airline’s propeller days and the jet age. Museum officials are hoping that the exhibit will continue to evolve as more and more donations are acquired, and the museum is able to gobble up additional Pan Am goodies.
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It sure seems like a number of world airlines have been closing up shop recently. Last week, we saw two European carriers cease operations and call it quits. Barcelona-based, Spanair, and the Hungarian flag carrier, Malev, both abruptly stopped flying, stranding passengers all over the continent. Of course, these latest casualties are not the only airlines to make their final approaches.
Let's take a trip down memory lane and reminisce of those airlines we never forget and, secretly, wish we could still fly. These brands never had an iPhone app, some barely had a website, but they will always play a role in the golden age of air travel.
Some of favorite defunct airlines, in no particular order:
Laura asks for a loan from Amanda
Read our past Pan Am episode recaps here.
Let us first say that this is the episode where the girls have looked their best so far. Kate, Colette and Maggie all attended a fancy foreign party and thus donned killer cocktail dresses, while Laura and Amanda showed off in figure-hugging sweater sets. When will Pan Am inspire a retail collaboration like Mad Men did with Banana Republic? Oh, probably never, but a girl can dream.
Anywhomost of the gang was off to Rome this week, but Bridget (pilot Dean's old/new flame) was conspicuously absent and Ted stayed home to begin playing house with his new fiance, the bi-curious Amanda (played by Ashley Greene). Filling the gap was the newish character Captain Broyles (aka "Sky God"), who we learned last episode moonlights as a smuggler of goods, a fact which comes heavier into play this episode.
On Monday, Ashley Greene was spotted on set of Pan Am at 1 Lexington Ave in New York City, along with co-star Michael Mosley.
The Twilight star sported a sleek ’60s up-do, long black coat and white gloves while sharing a kiss with Mosley for the scene. Ashley, who plays Mosley's love interest Amanda Mason, can next be seen on Pan Am this Sunday, Jan. 22.
Broyles crashes Dean's Moscow pep talk
Read our past Pan Am episode recaps here.
This episode picks up exactly where we left off last week, with pilot Dean and newly returned stewardess/former MI6 spy Bridget hopping into bed with each other. Bridget still loves Dean and wants to pick up where things left off (with her as his fiance), but Dean has moved on to Colette and would rather just bed Bridget one last time. Maybe she's so irresistible again because he just found out she's a spy, and spies are hot? That's just our guess.
Regardless, Dean and Bridget part that morning in London for good (here's hoping), as Dean reveals again how hurt he's been over all the lies: "So everything I didn't understand was because you were a spy and I was in the dark?"
Ring ring ring! Dean picks up the hotel room phone to discover he's been summoned back to New York for a meeting with Pan Am's chief Juan Trippe. About what? Oh well, after a nice computer-generated panorama of the Pan Am Worldport at JFK, we find out it's all concerning PAA being the first western airline to return to the Soviet Union, and Trippe wants Dean in the captain's seatthe "face of the Jet Age" and whatnot. Wait, we thought that was Laura on the cover of LIFE? Anyways, the plane leaves ASAP.
We highly doubt a stewardess, in their immanculate Pan Am uniform, would sit on the floor of a plane to drink, while surrounded by perfectly fine First Class seats
Read our past Pan Am episode recaps here.
Wow. It's been a full month since the last episode of Pan Am and, to tell you the truth, we blanked on where things left off. When a show is in danger of being cancelled, it's not the wisest to postpone new episodes for four weeks becausejust as if the show was already cancelledwatchers begin the process of forgetting about it.
Luckily Pan Am is back for more episodes until the network figures out what to do with it, and last night continued the romantic drama and espionage intrigue we've come to expect. With a side of retro air travel.
Even though ABC has grounded new episodes of Pan Am until January 8, 2012, the show's stars are still busy shooting fresh scenes in New York City.
On Wednesday, December 7, Christina Ricci was spotted filming in a little black retro dress on the Upper East Side. Ricci, who plays Pan Am flight attendant Maggie Ryan in the series, also did some multitasking as she walked, smoked, and enjoyed a diet coke on the way to her trailer to change.