Home » Boeing 377 Stratocruiser: Pan Am’s luxurious period of overhead beds and caviar

Boeing 377 Stratocruiser: Pan Am’s luxurious period of overhead beds and caviar

by newsking24

(CNN) — The airplane speeds by means of the sky on its method to London as you dine on tender beef and caviar.

Afterward, you make your method to the decrease lounge to socialize with different passengers aboard the airplane whereas sipping on a refreshing drink. As the night winds down, you head as much as the primary cabin, climb into your overhead compartment mattress, and journey throughout the Atlantic Ocean safely tucked away underneath delicate sheets.

This sounds extra like a dream than actuality for most individuals who’ve flown.

Pan Am used the Stratocruiser for over a decade to move passengers to worldwide locations.

Courtesy Pan Am Museum Foundation

But for others, it’s a distant reminiscence. Former Pan Am flight attendant Bronwen Roberts used to fly on the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser within the late 1950s.

The plane was the epitome of luxurious, seating as much as 100 passengers for a trip within the skies. With a cruising pace of simply over 300 miles per hour, it was an awesome airplane for transatlantic flights within the 1950s.

“I was so spoiled by flying these early years where the service was just so incredible,” Roberts mentioned.

This is a sample menu of what passengers were served aboard the 377 Stratocruiser.

This is a pattern menu of what passengers had been served aboard the 377 Stratocruiser.

Courtesy Pan Am Museum Foundation

The extravagance started with the meals that was served on board. French restaurant Maxim’s de Paris catered in-flight eating and supplied quite a lot of upscale gadgets together with their well-known beef entrée.

“The planes had their own ovens, and there was usually a beef tenderloin cooked on board and sliced in front of you,” Pan Am Museum Foundation historian John Luetich mentioned.

A young John Luetich visits the Pan Am Frankfurt ticket office in 1959.

A younger John Luetich visits the Pan Am Frankfurt ticket workplace in 1959.

Courtesy Pan Am Museum Foundation

Flight attendants may additionally indulge within the European fare, which Roberts admitted she did very often. While she sampled every part from succulent lamb chops to pungent cheeses, one in every of her favorites was the caviar.

When passengers weren’t eating on French delicacies, they might head down a spiral staircase to the decrease deck lounge. Flight attendants served cocktails, Luetich mentioned, as folks mingled with different flyers.

This model of flying could be very in contrast to the flying of at the moment, the place passengers usually keep quiet and hold to themselves. In the lounge, nonetheless, flyers would chat and socialize, Roberts mentioned.

Guests chatted during their flight in the lower lounge, which seated 14 people.

Guests chatted throughout their flight within the decrease lounge, which seated 14 folks.

Courtesy Pan Am Museum Foundation

After the night meal, friends may sleep the night away till they reached their vacation spot. One of the particular options of planes throughout this time was overhead beds. Instead of cramming baggage within the overhead compartments, passengers may pull down a mattress and drift off to sleep above the airplane seats.

Roberts by no means had the chance to sleep in a single herself, however she was capable of strive it out in between flights.

“I tested them when we’re on the ground, and it was so spacious,” Roberts mentioned. “Even a tall man could stretch out, and it was very comfortable.”

When the Stratocruiser was first launched in 1947, financial system class had not but been invented. As the concept of the financial system class grew in recognition, consolation and luxurious had been pushed apart in favor of extra seats and baggage storage.

Pan Am decommissioned the Stratocruiser in 1961 to make means for brand new planes such because the Boeing 707 and 737. Roberts transitioned to work on these planes, the place she was a flight attendant for well-known folks corresponding to Audrey Hepburn and Winston Churchill.

The 377 Stratocruiser had spacious accomodations for every passenger.

The 377 Stratocruiser had spacious accomodations for each passenger.

Courtesy Pan Am Museum Foundation

The 377 Stratocruiser is now not used at the moment, however its legacy as a luxurious airplane lives on. The Pan Am Museum Foundation has an exhibit in regards to the airplane in New York City full of footage and memorabilia.

Much has modified about flying at the moment, Roberts mentioned, which she describes as an evening and day expertise. Caviar has been traded out for stale pretzel packets and beef tenderloin has been switched to lukewarm microwave meals.

While she misses flying on planes such because the 377 Stratocruiser in the course of the 1950s, Roberts is grateful to have skilled what she did.

“That was a wonderful time to fly,” Roberts mentioned. “It’s like a wonderful memory.”

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