Friday, April 24, 2015

When Planes had Lounges

Back in the 1970's and early 80's, many wide-body aircraft had first class and even coach lounges. This was true even on domestic flights. While some of the premium international carriers have them today on the AB 380, they come with a very hefty priced First Class ticket, usually over $10,000 each way. Back in the "good old days" the lounge came with the price of a regular first or coach ticket. American Airlines had a coach lounge in the back of the 747 which they mainly used on trans-con flights, which had tables, lamps, couches, and  piano.  All for the price of a coach ticket, just like today.

Below we have our friendly first class flying nut friend John Barrett in the front of a Pan Am 747SP on flight 100 to London from JFK, seat 1J, his favorite seat, with his favorite drink, Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch. This plane may have an ugly interior, but blame that on Braniff, the carrier that Pan Am leased the plane from.

Below are Peggy and I returning from our first Orient trip on Northwest flight 4 from Hong Kong to Tokyo to Seattle - we are in the upper deck of the 747 in the first class lounge after climbing the spiral staircase. We both tried to give it our best "spoiled snob" look for the photographs.  It was 1976 and I got passes for us from the Northwest Sales for $123 total - And that was for 7 flights in first class JFK-SEA-HND (Tokyo Haneda, Narita had not been built yet), HND-TPE-HKG then return HKG-HND-SEA-JFK.  We could have paid $88 for coach.  Hmm, let's see, it would save us $35 total or $5 a flight to downgrade.  It was a really tough call.