retro travel

Travel TV :: A Pilot About Pilots

ABC's Pan Am Pilot for fall 2011A pilot about pilots?

Aside from The Amazing Race, the major networks haven't engaged much with travel-related TV during primetime. That's all about to change.

How Exciting is this? Playing on the retro travel trend, ABC has ordered a pilot {no pun intended} called Pan Am, that will potentially air this fall {update, it just got picked up and will air at 10pm on Sundays}. It's basically Mad Men meets the golden age of travel. Back in the day, I'm told stewardesses flight attendants were celebrities, trendsetters and jetsetters in their own right. The show lives up this lifestyle and centers around: "Maggie, who is leading a double life. When not all dolled up on her flights, she is living as a bohemian beatnik in New York's Greenwich Village. Kate is secretly an undercover CIA agent. Her gorgeous sister, Laura, is new to the stewardess world, having just ditched her fiancé at the altar." {via Jaunted}

The Scoop Though the show's status is still in the pilot stage, I don't suspect it will be relegated to the ABC TV dungeon given the big names that are rumored to be on-board {no pun intended}:

  • Film actress Christina Ricci will take a lead role as Maggie
  • Nancy Hult Ganis, executive producer, will auto pilot {no pun intended} the show's direction given her role as a flight attendant on the airline for 7 years
  • Jonah Lotan has landed {no pun intended} the role of Dean, the recently promoted captain of the Pan Am luxury plane, the Majestic.
  • Scrubs star Michael Mosley will also play an aviator-wearing pilot
  • Australia actress Margot Robbie will be a sexy stewardess

Pan Am Started in 1927, Pam Am grew to one of the largest airlines in the world, with a famed logo'ed skyscraper position on New York City's Park Avenue. In 1991, the airline declared bankruptcy. Sadly, I never had the chance to fly Pan Am, but I hear it was the airline in the 60's and 70's. Check out this amazing Pan Am video from 1958, promoting the wonders of the new 707 plane, and innovative over-seat lighting...

PS  - Speaking of travel and TV, tell me you've seen this Richard Simmons Air New Zealand safety video? He is the gift that keeps on giving. I don't think he's aged in 20 years.

Related Shows That Make You Want To Go

[photo by Dreamworks, from Catch Me If You Can movie]

Travel Trends :: Retro Travel

longing for retro travelRecently, I've seen a lot of attention paid to retro travel. I'm not sure if it's always a hot topic, or just top-of-mind as people long for the Coffee, Tea or Me? era. Nowadays, if you pine for all things retro travel {sans the in-flight smoking}, you have to book a first-class ticket on Singapore Air to get the gist of flying's yesteryear allure.

This past weekend on a rainy morning in Scottsdale {more on this next week}, I pulled February's Travel + Leisure out of my hotel room's magazine pile. Bonus! The perfect read to go along with my just-brewed Nespresso coffee. One of my favourite articles in the magazine was Last Days of the Stewardess because it was a gripping tale of flight attendant history, and I'm overly fascinated with all things retro travel, including tiki everything. Below are some fun facts about retro travel based on what I learned in the article...

Fun Retro Travel Facts {via T+L} 1930s Sky Girls, some of whom were initially registered nurses, dressed in clinical whites or military uniforms. They served meals, soothed nerves, pointed out highlights below, bolted seats to the floor and occasionally refueled the plane.

1940s Stewardess charm farms created a fleet of ladies with matching hairstyles and teeth ground into even smiles. And just like in Hollywood, there were height and weight requirements for the role. There was also a mandatory retirement by the age of 32. Ah!

Little Black Books Eastern Airlines provided men with little black books to collect stewardesses' phone numbers.

Designer Designed In 1965, Braniff Airlines' new uniforms were designed by Emilio Pucci. Now, uniforms look like they sound, bland. With the onset of celebrity chefs and celebrity everything, couldn't an airline partner with Heidi Klum's Project Runway to get stylish new uniforms? Turns out it's already been done by Project Runway Australia for Virgin Blue!

1980s After years of lawsuits, flight attendants won the right to gain a few pounds, let their hair go grey, get pregnant and be men.

2011 Aside from the still semi-glam Virgin, Emirates and some Asian airlines, the price of travel and cost of doing business in that sector has "forced flight attendants to get you from A to B safely and at the cheapest cost possible to you and the company," according to an open letter to the flying public written by a flight attendant.

Is Retro Travel Coming Back? I wish, but it's likely the majority won't pay the associated price tag, and those who do fly private jets or retreat to lounges prior to dashing into their first-class skybeds. Given that North American aviation has become very public transporty, complete with online ticket purchasing, computer check-ins and in-flight meal ordering via your personal console, I think people may start springing for mid-range niceties like upscale economy. For shorter flights, I bet most people will stick with bottled water and Starbucks lunch pack they buy before the flight.

I wish time travel was a trip style. I'd love to be beamed to 1960 and take a Braniff or Pan Am flight and experience the difference between then and now. As someone who mostly flies coach, I think I may want to stay in the 60s, but only if I could bring my husband, family, friends, pup, computer, iPhone and the Internet.

[photos via multiple web-based sources]