Why Doesn’t Air Travel Look Like This Anymore?

Behold the glamorous planes (and people) of Pan Am's heyday

April 10, 2017 9:00 am

Here’s a fun fact for your happy hours this week: Pan American World Airways would have turned 90 this year. Some quick math, and that means the 20th century’s gold standard for air travel closed up shop a little over 25 years ago.

Sure, it’s easy to see their heyday through rose-tinted glasses, especially given the sweatpants-clad tendencies of today’s jetways and terminals. But in the new book Pan Am: History, Design & Identity, that romanticizing seems more than justified. The luxurious accommodations, bronzed jetsetters and far flung destinations you expect? They’re all inside.

Released in March, the blue glass-encased hardcover edition features 432 pages of photographs, posters and advertisements alongside an oral history of the revolutionary airline. And while much has been written about Pan Am over the years, Berlin-based Callisto Publishers and author Matthias C. Huhne searched far and wide for the images — borrowing from museums, private collectors and more — to create a definitive (and often heretofore unpublished) glimpse behind the scenes.

Below: a few of our favorite snapshots from the airline’s golden age, from John Wayne boarding a Boeing 707 to the luxury hotels Pan Am erected with the help of designer Neal A. Prince from the early ’60s until the mid ’80s.

Pan Am Book (6 images)

You can pick up the premium edition for $900 or — if you’d prefer to spend that kind of money on a plane ticket — there’s also a standard edition. The hardcover has been selling fast, so if it’s out of stock, you can also contact Callisto Publishers and order it directly from them.

Images courtesy of Callisto Publishers

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