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The Wonderful Jet World of Pan American


    This promotional film from 1959 gives a good look at Pan Am's Boeing 707s, including the work of mechanics, dispatchers, and other ground crew, and the new jet service to Europe (24:13).

    The film also shows how dramatically the worlds of travel and communications in particular have changed since 1959. On October 26, 1958, Pan Am made history by inaugurating the first daily transatlantic jet service between New York and Paris, and a Pan Am ad in The Pittsburgh Press 6 months later (May 10, 1959) says:

    "Pan Am Jet Clippers have become the most popular method of air travel. Across the Atlantic over 4,000 people a week are enjoying the magic of the world's fastest, finest airliner.
    High above the weather you fly at speeds of up to 600 mph. Pan Am jets are fastest to London, the only jets to Paris and Rome. Pan Am gives you the only economy-class service on Jets, too: $272 one way New York to London, $294 to Paris, $347 to Rome. Deluxe Presidential Special service also available on every flight."
    While the $544 return fare from New York to London may sound like a bargain, when you convert 1959 dollars to 2016 ones, that's $4,463.75! That partially explains the way people are dressed - air travel was still a big deal. Seeing people smoking everywhere, even on the aircraft, is shocking today, particularly knowing how many aircraft have crashed because of on-board fires caused by cigarettes - the most famous probably being Varig Flight 820, a Boeing 707. The wide seats in Pan Am's 707, which were reported to be more comfortable than they look, and meals catered by Maxim's of Paris, certainly look wonderful.

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