Saturday, August 20, 2011

Taking Off With Pan Am

I am in a mixed bag about the forthcoming ABC series Pan Am. It is no secret that I am an airline nut, and basically the only reason why I want to watch this is to see how well ABC have recreated the golden era of flying especially with Pan Am.

Pan Am is credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, which we take for granted today. Identified by its blue globe logo and the use of the word "Clipper" in aircraft names and call signs, the airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century and the unofficial flag carrier of the United States.

To the travelling public Pan Am always represented a way of travel that has long since been forgotten. An era when the journey was anticipated as much as the destination. With Pan Am, "getting there" always meant unmatched civility pooled with the pinnacle of cool.

Nothing epitomised this experience more than the Pan Am bag. When Pan Am introduced the world to the jet age, the Pan Am bag was seen as more than just a carry on; it was a proudly carried symbol that represented a once in a lifetime experience.

Everyone from Presidents to rock stars were proud to be seen with their Pan Am bags.

A couple of years ago Marc Jacobs released limited editions of these bags, which luckily I have one of.

Now a plethora of bags and accessories are available on the market for our jet-setting fashionista, who wishes to recapture the golden age of flying. The company producing these objects state “It is our objective to utilize Pan Am's colorful history to bring back the original Jet-Setter values and restore civility, adventure and fun to the travel experience”

Although you cannot fly Pan Am the airline is a hot commodity once again. Let’s hope that the TV series as well will bring back some of these values as well, that airlines can sit up and take notice.


  1. A cool posting. I would observe that it's easy to date the photograph of the family on the stairs as post-1960 and the shopping couple as pre-1960. It seems as though men stopped wearing hats as soon as Kennedy was elected President. It's very rare to see a photograph of JFK wearing a hat ...

  2. Of course this will date me terribly, however I remember Dressing to fly and being thrilled to get upgraded to business or 1st class from traveling so much!

    A friend was a flight attendant on Pan Am.


    Art by Karena

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  4. I dunno which I´m more jealous of..that you have a Pan Am inspired bag..or that you have a Marc Jacobs bag haha..yeah I think both..damn you xD!! Just kidding! It looks like an interesting series..and Oh boy do I need one of those bags! The cake was totally sold out..I only ate like two pieces (very small btw) before it was gone haha...Though I decided it will be the last time I order that cake its been my bday staple cake for too long...mostly because the company that makes it bakes the most delicious sweet and salty treats I´ve ever eaten..and I just found out they have introduced Red Velvet Cake to their menu...which is like my all time favourite cake...and I just said to my old chocolate cake..."oh done!" hahaha, have a great weekend my long distance but very much appreciated blogger friend

    The Black Label

  5. It is interesting that the production designer(s) didn't have an eye for detail: the logo used was adopted by the airline in 1973; the era in which the show takes place used a logo in which the letters did not touch.

  6. One, jealous that you have that bag! Like you, I too am a huge airline junkie.. Looking at pictures like these, I can only imagine how good airlines treated you back in the day.. Today, all you get is drinks and pretzels when traveling coach.. Ha, even when flying business or first in a domestic flight here in the US, all they give you is free liquor.. Not worth the amount of money they charge you!

    Hugs!! ~Angel

  7. One could call it American glamour, with even JKF wearing the garment. You do get a lot of staff flying First nowadays too, a full wardrobe even, but everything is just sort of fake luxury - i.e. Singapore Airlines

  8. Hello David:
    Can those days of glamour ever return? Sadly, we think that they will not as price seems to be such a prime driver in the airline businss these days. But, of course, there is the positive side that so many, many more people can now afford to fly who would not have been able to do so in the 1960s.

    Perhaps, as you say, the programme will bring a new Pan Am revival and, who knows, there may just be the realisation that there are people still prepared to pay extra for a civilised experience and a little of the old style!

  9. Pan Am was the quintessencial of coolness when I was 10 ( 1968). But in 1985 was an example of decadence.
    I miss the days you thought in advance what to wear for the day of your flight...Now you only see people wearing sneakers, capris, top tanks...and even flip flops. Disgusting

  10. Two of my favorite things: a Pan Am and a Piedmont airlines bag.
    I still dress up when I fly, it makes the trip more enjoyable. Great post!...k

  11. Hi David! Thanks for your visit and your comment! Congrats, you have an uber posh Blog in here! God! Pan-Am, could it be something more retro-glam? Lovely images! Have a great week! XoXo

  12. This new show will be interesting to watch...whatever happened to Pan Am? I hope the airlines take notes! Great post!

  13. Recently while cleaning out the hall closet at my parents house, I found a treasure trove of Pan Am bags- The bar drawer also gave up several unopened packs of Pan Am playing cards!! Wow- had no Idea they were hot

  14. I can't wait for this series!! I'm hoping, like you, that they do justice to this former class act in the sky. And I'm looking forward to seeing some fabulous 60s fashion and fun escapist plots!!

  15. Many thanks all for your comments.

    Quintessence, I am crossing my fingers that they do it justice.

    Thomas, what a find! A virtual ebay treasure trove!

    Meta, they went belly up and bankrupt.

    Macarena, thankyou so much for your visit! Your blog is also
    another stylish one!

    Kathy, I am so glad you do, as I do to!

    Jotaele, I know, there is no sense of occasion any more as flying is so normal.

    Jane and Lance, I don't think we will see the glamour back. I read an article today about the changing roles of flight attendants and one the things said, was that it is no longer a glamour job!

    Ange and Andy, please don't be jealous! Andy you get all those fab invitations to events and Angel you have your Anna Sui!

  16. Jealous of your bag David! I will have to try and catch at least a peak of the show even if it's just for the airline fashion of Pan Am. It sure seems that it used to be entire lifestyle! xoxo

  17. ooo. Pan Am +marc jacobs = awesomeness. What an iconic piece of aviation, interested to hear how you feel when the series is out.


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