S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

The days of civilized air travel

From personal experience I now realize that staggering around a transatlantic liner in a dinner jacket with a martini is a rational, reasonable way to cross the Atlantic. Heading for an airport and strapping yourself to a flimsy aluminum tube is an eccentric aberration. The man in seat 61
In 1946, the year the America started transatlantic, TWA inaugurated service to Paris with a Lockheed Constellation. For a round trip fare of $711, (just over $9,000 in 2016) passengers endured a flight of 20 hours with 2 refueling stops. Speed is relative and back then the plane was the Concorde of its day.

In 1952, flying to and from Europe was still an expensive aberration. However change was in the air.  While the S.S. United States was thrilling  passengers with her beauty and speed, engineers at Boeing were developing a new jet aircraft. In a few short years, the Boeing 707 would fly to Europe in 7 hours. Flying would no longer be an eccentric aberration, as passengers abandoned the luxury liners in pursuit of speed and glamour in the sky.

the following pages take you back to a time when there was glamour in the air and joy in the journey. Airborne comfort had not yet been displaced by cheap fares, economizing, and frequent flyer miles. It was a gentler kinder time before, air rage, airport security lines, hijackers, stun guns and impenetrable cockpit doors. Take a trip back to the days of civilized air travel. 

by Eric Margolis – 11 Dec 1997

bOEING pia 707poster_memo10 - CopyForeign correspondent Eric Margolis recalls his early flights on the Boeing Stratocruiser, a ‘sexy’ Lockheed Connie and the final flight of a PIA Boeing 707.



boac psterJames Bond (007) Flies to New York on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser.

Author Ian Fleming enjoyed the finer things in life and a BOAC Stratocruiser flights across the Atlantic was one of them. In Diamonds are forever Fleming’s provides us with his detailed observations of flying the big plane as experienced by his alter ego, James Bond.

Thanks to the website The Scarf and Goggles Social Club for the information



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On June 18, 1946 a Pan Am Lockheed Constellation took off from New York bound for Paris. Shortly after takeoff one of the four engines caught fire. The flames severed the engine’s connection to the wing and it dropped off entirely taking the fire with it. The plane was still over land and the captain made a quick emergency landing in a Connecticut farmer’s field. Both plane and passengers survived the ordeal to the surprise of rescuers who were prepared for the worst.



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