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The Pan Am Experience

The Pan Am Experience
at Air Hollywood
September 2017

A few weeks ago, Mrs. SFO777 made the mistake of asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday.   And tonight we're off to "The Valley" and Air Hollywood, one of the movie industry's biggest suppliers of aviation props, airplane interiors, seating areas, fusilages for film scenes.   Air Hollywood is owned by aviation geek Talaat Captan who teamed up with fellow geek and Pan Am obessed memorabilia collector Anthony Toth to recreate the glory days of Pan Am.  The result is The Pan Am Experience, a wonderful 4 hour step back in time that includes a nostalgic Pan Am museum, Hollywod show and dinner on board an actual 747-200 rescued from the desert.   The experience takes place every other Saturday evening at Air Hollywood's studios in Pacoima.  This is one hard ticket to get and I lucked out when I discovered that someone had canceled their Upper Deck reservation the day before.  So we're off up the 405 for the 90 minute drive.

Inside is a wonderful Pan Am museum and lounge for guests to mingle prior to "boarding".   First stop was check-in where we selected our seats on the Upper Deck.

We enjoyed a cocktail and met some other people including a couple that flew in from New York just for tonight.   

 

In addition to the actual old Pan Am seats, there was some wonderful Pan Am memorabilia on display.

Cabin crew was announced and they made their entrance before boarding to prep our service tonight.

Boarding began around 7:30p.  We boarded last as we stayed back to chat with amiable CEO Talaat Captan. 

We were welcomed on board by one of the many lovely Pan Am stewardesses on today's flight.   With CEO Talaat Captan just behind her.

The nose of the 747.  A far cry from today's international First Class seats but very comfy in its day.  This is where I had really hoped to sit and would recommend to a couple, but tickets were sold out

The Upper Deck which was more of a party atmosphere and a lot less comfortable seats for a three hour visit.

Our private 2 person seating table.

The Pan Am experience is part restaurant, part theater, part comedy show with each of the "stewardesses" able to perform and connect with the passengers.  And lots of hilarious announcements throughout the evening.  And enjoyable 70's music although the speaker right over Mrs. SFO777's head made our seats not the best choice.

And the magazine cart...

... with vintage 1977 period magazines.

With the tobacco industry the biggest advertisers back then.

 

And Allegheny Airlines, flying as far west as Minneapolis and St. Louis!!

Drinks and nuts to start...

Our Purser presenting the menu.

 

Showtime, Pan Am style.

Cool hot towel service with dry ice.

Caviar service.

With chilled vodka.

Between courses, one of the many fashion shows with our stewardesses wearing Pan Am uniforms thru the ages.

And offering prop cigarettes.  LOL.

During a pause in service, I popped downstairs to take some pics of the front cabin...

And Clipper Class, which looks far more comfortable than today's slimline Economy seating

Back upstairs, a pic from the flight deck.

And ready for the main show with Chateaubriand carved tableside.

Yes, perfectly prepared.

And another fashion show of vintage Pan Am uniforms.

Even a "Duty Free" cart.

By this time, Mrs. SFO777 had pretty much had enough of the Pan An experience especially in the uncomfortable lounge chairs.   So we had a little fruit and cheese...

... and left before dessert as we had a 90 minute drive back to The OC.

For an airline geek, this is a really cool experience and one I would highly recommend.  For the non-geek, not so much.  The meal drags on a little too long especially in the somewhat uncomfortable lounge seats on the Upper Deck.  And neither the food nor wines are that memorable.  Mrs. SFO777 reached her limited about mid-way thru.  If you are interested in visiting, unless you are going with a group of friends, I would recommend holding out for the Lower Deck First Class seats which are going to be far more comfortable for a 3 hour event like this.

For more information on this fun experience, visit panamexperience.com.