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The Travel Detective

The Travel Detective: The Pan Am Experience

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Remember that statement, “Half the fun is getting there”? Believe it or not that was part of an advertising campaign by a number of U.S. airlines back in the 1960s and 1970s. And back then, at least one iconic U.S. airline, Pan Am, really did try to define the luxury passenger experience in the air.


Now while Pan Am failed in 1991, you can still get that experience today, on the ground. For more than 60 years, Pan American World Airways was the largest and most prestigious international airline in the United States. It set the standard for premiere air travel and was known all over the world as Pan Am.

And for Anthony Toth, no airline was more thrilling than Pan Am. He became such a devoted fan that he made it his life’s mission to recreate the Pan Am experience for the rest of us on a Los Angeles soundstage. Toth spent more than 25 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to get every detail just right.

So what’s in store for people who come on board this reconditioned Pam Am 747? Well, not only do they get to gaze in wonder at the painstaking recreation, but they can also discover what it was like to fly on a Pan Am plane by getting a taste of the high-end service that made the airline famous. Toth calls it “the Pan Am experience.”

For those of us who remember what the Pan Am experience was like or who might want to educate the younger generation as to what it was and may never be again, this is a pretty good place to start. Just do me a favor, and try not to steal the silverware.

By Peter Greenberg for

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