Retro 70s Aviation Fun: The Pan Am Experience at Air Hollywood
One of the lovely stewardesses aboard The Pan Am experience at Air Hollywood
Since I flew over 100,000 miles in 2014, it might seem a bit odd that I spent one of my non-flight evenings aboard a fake flight to nowhere.
My boarding pass for the Pan Am Experience
But it’s not every night you get a chance to “relive the magic of flying onboard a luxurious Pan Am 747” circa the glory days of air travel, even if it’s in a soundstage in Pacoima.
My friend, Mike, rocking 70s polyester slacks, outside Air Hollywood studios
Fortunately Air Hollywood offers the Pan Am Experience a few times a year and I had a few aviation geek friends willing to join me. Upon arriving at Air Hollywood, you’re greeted with a mockup of the LAX sign and a red carpet for “boarding” the event.
Left: red carpet at the boarding gate Right: getting ready to board the Juan T. Trippe
Air Hollywood is an aviation-themed movie studio. They have standing sets of plane interiors and mock ups that get rented out for filming feature films, television shows, commercials, and music videos. This is where you’ll find the plane from Lost and the cabin from Bridesmaids. Check out this list of projects shot at Air Hollywood.
My friends boarding the Juan T. Trippe for the Pan Am Experience
The Pan Am experience is 70s themed. So I channeled my inner Sharon Tate and had my hair teased with so much hair spray I might have been flammable. There is a dress code for the event, since Pan Am customers did not fly with full size pillows and pajama pants that say PINK across the bottom.
Checking in for the Pan Am Experience
Once you’ve checked in for the event, you get to relax and grab a cocktail in the Clipper Class Lounge, complete with a bar stocked with classic cocktails (Tom Collins anyone?) as well as modern faves.
left: enjoying a classic cocktail in the Clipper Lounge prior to boarding Right: Vintage Pan Am playing cards
There is a lot of really cool vintage Pan Am memorabilia on display. Once you board the plane, the evening gets a bit surreal. The crew gives you safety directions prior to fake take off. Once you’ve reached fake cruising altitude, the stewardesses serve Pan Am nuts and cocktails. This experience is just wacky enough that everyone loosens up and starts having a good time.
One of the Pan Am Experience stewardesses working the main deck
After a cocktail or two, you start to forget you’re on a fake plane. The whole experience is fun, unusual and a good time is had by both passengers and crew members alike. On the Main Deck, they show a documentary about Pan Am.
Here’s a time lapse video I made of the event from the Upper Deck:
Pan Am Experience Upper Deck Time Lapse Video
First glimpse of the Upper Deck
Next comes the meal service, which is better than actual airplane food but “airplane food inspired.” There’s shrimp cocktail and Heirloom tomato salad. For the entree, passengers have choice of roast chicken in peppercorn sauce, Chateaubriand tenderloin, or vegetarian pasta. I went for the beef since it seemed the most 70s.
Left: Meal service begins Right: shrimp cocktail appetizer
The whole event is an evening of retro aviation themed goodness.
Chateaubriand tenderloin with demi-glace sauce
The cheese and fruit card with Port wine for dessert
Some of the Pan Am Experience Crew
Air Hollywood Founder & CEO, Talaat Captan, was on hand to give us a tour of some of the other sets at Air Hollywood after our Pan Am Experience was finished.
Captain Anthony in the cockpit for the Pan Am Experience
Left: a standing set at Air Hollywood Right: a cabin set
The highlight of my evening was meeting Otto the Pilot from the film Airplane!.
Meeting Otto the Pilot from Airplane!
You can buy tickets for upcoming dates of the Pan Am Experience here. Even better, book out the entire plane for a unique private event or party.
13240 Weidner Street
Los Angeles, CA 91331