Pan Am: History, Design & Identity — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
When you think of the height of air travel, when it was a completely romantic notion to board an airplane and take to cloud-filled heights, one airline springs to mind: Pan Am. Despite the fact that the airline went under in 1991, the power of the Pan Am name still remains.
You'll find travel bags for sale emblazoned with the Pan Am logo, harking back to the days when fashionable Pan Am stewardesses carrying such accoutrements were both envied and idolized. And it was only a few short years ago when a namesake TV series aired, twenty years after the airline went out of service.
So how and why does the Pan Am brand still hold so much weight? That's what Pan Am: History, Design & Identity by Matthias C. Huhne explores, and it's the kind of story every travel lover should read.
1. The start of commercial aviation
An early Pan Am plane, 1928 Sikorsky S-38 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
The book offers a compelling history of the beginnings of commercial aviation, in addition to the start of Pan Am itself. It'll give you a greater appreciation for modern-day conveniences.
2. Pan Am's famously high standards of conduct
Pan Am logo from1929 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
The airline ran a notoriously tight ship and set standards for operation early on – much earlier than you might have thought – in 1928. One example of the strict guidelines: pilots were not allowed to smoke or drink.
3. An appreciation for flight routes
Passengers boarding a Pan Am plane in 1932 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
Forging new routes for a burgeoning airline is no easy feat, and it's something most of us probably take for granted. In the world of early commercial flights, competition was fierce and creating new routes was like exploring a new world.
4. With distance comes luxury
Poster from 1939 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
The focus of early plane design came strictly from an engineer's perspective, and passengers were given low priority in terms of in-flight comfort. Planes were cramped, loud and generally uncomfortable. However, with longer routes opening up and technology advancing, passenger comfort quickly became a priority for Pan Am, especially for long distance flights. This was the dawn of luxury air travel.
5. The birth of hospitality
Phoenicia Beirut hotel in 1962 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
Have you ever thought about the early days of travel in terms of lodging? Once you reached a far-off destination where few have traveled, where would you stay? In short, that's how InterContinental Hotels came to be.
6. Propelled by jets
Crew photo from 1958 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
Pan Am was the first airline to to use jets. Considered by most to be a luxury with a price tag to match, President of Pan Am, Juan Trippe, had a different idea: a vision of fast and accessible air travel for all.
7. Airports as we know them
New York terminal in 1962 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
With the dawn of the jet age came a demand for a different type of airport. Comfort and convenience became key, and the first modern airports complete with jetways came into being.
8. Evolution of advertising
Poster from 1959 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
There are pages and pages of Pan Am posters, logos and images in this book offering a significant and in-depth look at the evolution of the brand through the years. Travel junkies will love looking at the vintage posters.
9. Understanding the decline
Boarding an airplane in 1980 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
How did the Pan Am powerhouse lose its dynamism? This topic is explored in detail, beginning with the introduction of the jumbo jet.
10. Overview of aircraft
1935 Martin M-130 — Photo courtesy of Callisto Publishers
Admirers of aircraft fleets and historical planes will enjoy one of the final sections of the book which offers a diagram of the most important planes that were part of the Pan Am legacy.
Pan Am: History, Design & Identity is now available for purchase. A deluxe edition of the book is set to be released in 2017.