by Siddharth Raja
June 9, 2017
The glory days of air travel are alive and well, in an unlikely location – an industrial estate in Los Angeles.
The Pan Am Experience aims to capture the glamour and style of the mid-century flying experience, and is part of a company called Air Hollywood, which rents out replica aircraft interiors to the movie industry.
Pan Am Airways epitomised the early days of commercial air travel in the swinging sixties.
Flights were touted as luxury travel experiences, with cocktails, five-course meals and hiring practices that would give your average HR department a stroke.
The now defunct airline started in 1927, and in its heyday reached 6 continents and over 80 countries.
Pan Am’s iconic blue-and-white branding is still as recognisable as ever, and in many ways it seems like modern airlines are trying to claw back some of the panache of air travel that we’ve lost along the way, with the introduction of on-board bars and private suites.
Still, if those modern concessions aren’t enough for you, the Pan Am Experience might be right up your alley.
Designed as a dinner-experience, you’ll see what it was like to fly Pan Am in its glory days as you board and dine in a Boeing 747 decked out just like the Pan Am 747s of old.
The Pan Am Experience stays firmly attached to terra firma – your 747 is actually a motion picture studio replica, but the attention to detail inside is so well done that you’ll feel like you’re Don Draper anyway.
The experience begins at the ‘First and Clipper Class’ check-in desk, where you’ll receive a 70’s style boarding pass, ticket jacket and first class carry-on tags.
Once you’re checked-in, head to the Clipper Club and peruse the Pan Am memorabilia on display, including authentic uniforms, airline seats and more.
After that, you’ll board the Pan Am ‘Clipper Juan T. Trippe’, dedicated to Pan Am’s founder, where you’re instantly transported back to the 70s, complete with authentic décor and branding elements.
A uniformed stewardess will offer you a 70’s inspired cocktail, while the sounds of big band music are piped through the cabin, and then you’re free to explore the ‘aircraft’.
Split into three sections, there is First Class on the main deck…
…Clipper Class to the rear of the galley…
…and the Upper Deck Dining Room, all lovingly recreated in period Pan Am fashion.
A light-hearted safety demonstration follows once you take your seat for dinner.
Glassware, cutlery and china are all authentic to the experience, and the menu also takes inspiration from the era.
Dinner is served over five courses, starting with bread selections and appetizers before moving on to the main course – a Chateaubriand steak carved from the trolley. After that, there’s a fruit, cheese and biscuit course followed by dessert.
The Pan Am Experience is a great way to spend a night in Los Angeles, and it’s not just for aviation enthusiasts – once your dinner experience is over, cinema buffs will have the opportunity to take an optional tour of other production sets, including the original cockpit from “Airplane!”, as well as sets and props used in cinema blockbusters such as “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
If you’re ready to hop on board, you can make your booking here.
Prices start at USD$490 for a pair of tickets in Clipper Class, with the more luxurious cabins like First Class and the Upper Deck Lounge commanding premiums over this. The experience is run on most Saturday evenings at 6:30pm, but certain dates can be sold out or unavailable.