Posts Tagged ‘Airplane’

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.

The Pan Am Experience at Air Hollywood

13240 Weidner Street
Los Angeles, CA 91331
Phone: 818.890.0444
Fax: 818.890.7041

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My Emirates First Experience Aboard an A380

Getting comfortable in Suite 1E with a glass of Dom Perignon

In March I flew in Emirates First Class from Dubai to London, aboard an A380. The experience was highly enjoyable. Emirates has fantastic crew from many different countries, which reflects the international appeal of the airline.

The First Class Suites, which can even be closed if you want additional privacy, come complete with your own private mini-bar featuring 2 kinds of water. I was a little shocked it was not refrigerated, but I wasn’t complaining.

There are is also an Onboard Lounge behind business class where you can socialize and get something to nibble on or a drink, as well as an additional First Class Social Area with a bar, but with no bartender.

I shot some video during this flight and hope you enjoy it.

The seat controls for the Emirates First Suites. There are onboard power outlets too.

Left: Truth: the tea tasted like Arabic coffee. Right: My personal mini-bar

I love the I Dream of Jeannie-inspired hats and scarves worn by female members of the Emirates crew

My only issue with this flight was that I was not offered a sleep suit (perhaps because it was day time flight). I’m pretty sure if I would have asked for one, a sleep suit would have been magically delivered to my seat/suite.  The flight had wifi, and I was a bit surprised that First Class passengers had to pay to use it. Fortunately it was a Saturday so it was a non-issue.

Paulo, my Italian-born Flight Attendant, made sure my Champagne glass stayed full.

Left: The caviar course Right: The Thai chicken curry

Then there is the food. It’s fine dining in the sky. From the Arabic coffee and dates prior to take off, to the extensive menu with selections ranging from miso marinated salmon to beef. The caviar portion was generous and traditional local Arabic mezze platter that were straight up good (not just “good for airplane food.”). The Thai chicken curry which absolutely the best in-flight meal I’ve ever had. It was followed by delicious Arabic sweets, including katayef and cashew nut baklava.

The Emirates Mezze Platter paired nicely with the Dom Perignon

The shower suites are off the hook– you can book a time to take your shower and are allowed 15 minutes in the suite (you get 5 minutes of shower water time, and an additional 10 minutes for using the rest of the facilities.) The water pressure is strong and the shower suites– painted with the architecture of the Dubai skyline- are jammed with amenities including a hairdryer.

The shower suites feature flattering lighting and scenic painting of the Dubai skyline

Left: The First Class Social Area Right: The Onboard Lounge, located behind business class

There is not one bar but two on board, should you not be satisfied with the fabulous service offered by the Emirates flight attendants. I felt the need to try out both the First Class Social Area (located at the front of the cabin, near the shower suites) as well as the more happening Onboard Lounge (located behind Business Class). The Onboard Lounge comes complete with a bartender and benches to sit on. I think the Onboard Lounge is the better in-flight bar option.

The First Class Social Area comes stocked with beverages and snacks

The First Class Suites come complete with Do Not Disturb Signs

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Airplane Mode! CDG-LHR

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