From the 1920's until its demise in 1991, Pan American Airlines symbolized all that was luxurious in air travel. Elite fliers packed some of the first commercial use jumbo jets and were treated to delicious rounds of meals served by bright and beautiful girls in couture uniforms. Celebrities, businessmen and "Rainbow Class" alike jetted-off to far-flung vacation spots across the globe on this mega airline, the US's first International carrier.
Like its iconic stewardesses, Pan Am had beauty and brains; they were the first carrier to adopt Boeing's 747, revolutionized radio communication and emergency equipment, and broke records with a New York to New York 'round-the-world trip.
The fate of Pan Am, of course, was not a glamorous one with route monopoly problems and bankruptcy grounding flights permanently in December of 1991. For a few short decades, though, the pilots and their girls in blue were celebs in their own right, almost invincible, changing the way we would forever think about air travel, even inspiring a brand-new tv show 20 years later. But what was life really like in the friendly skies?
*Check out HuffPost Travel on Sunday for our interview with six former Pan Am flight attendants (aka World Wings International) on the life of a flight attendant in their day.*
Much thanks to the lovely ladies of World Wings International for their photos and memories.