“It was the airline everyone loved to hate, but you know what? People are starting to miss it,” said Bruce Kitt of the NWA History Centre in Bloomington, Minnesota. The curator of the Delta museum is seeking NWA items such as children’s airline wings that represent the “passenger experience.”
The airline once jokingly referred to as “Northworst” joins other defunct airlines such as Pan Am, TWA, and the Concorde (technically a part of still-flying Air France but a big draw for aviation enthusiasts) as brands with hotly-demanded memorabilia. “Airline collectors are a dying breed, but if you go to any shows, the strangest one I’ve ever seen is a guy in a bright yellow baseball cap that says, ‘I buy barf bags,’ ” Kitt said. “Here’s a guy who just collects motion-sickness bags, including the first ones from the 1920s.” Airplane models, brochures, and safety cards are popular items, and silverware and china (they weren’t always plastic) are often for sale at New York’s Fishs Eddy home store.
The Pan Am name may have gone down in history with painful memories of the Lockerbie terror attack, but the iconic airline has roots that stretch back to the very early days of commercial aviation.
The airline that was such an important part of history may be making a comeback – in a TV show. ABC has commissioned a pilot for “Pan Am – the series”, and its development is being spearheaded by executive producer Nancy Hult Ganis – who flew Pan Am as a stewardess in 1968.
The days of flying back in the 60’s and 70’s were fantastic – flying was still glamorous, flight attendants were picked based off their skills and looks, and the experience of long haul international travel was still special.
No date has been announced for when you can expect the pilot, but the producers already revealed that it will be an anti-Mad Men – showing women breaking out of their traditional roles. For more on the upcoming series, head on over to our friends at AOL Travel News.
The battle for New York’s John F. Kennedy airport continued in earnest this week, as Delta Airlines announced plans to remodel and expand it’s currently leased footprint.
With current operations now taking place in both terminal 4 and the former Pan Am Worldport (aka, terminal 3), the airline plans to expand all of their operations to terminal 3 with a full remodel, all set to be complete by 2013. The somewhat legendary yet sorely outdated Worldport will be demolished and used for taxiway and aircraft positioning.
Delta’s remodel at T4 will play a key role in expanding their presence at JFK, both in integration of passengers, gates and operations and in increased capacity for a stronger flight network out of the largest city in the nation. For New Yorkers, the good news is that you’ll have better access to Delta’s cities around the globe. In turn, competition from other carriers may also mean lower prices across the board.
For everyone else, more flights from the delay-prone New York corridor means that we may experience more trickle-down delays from the east coast.
Expect operations at terminal 3 to wind down as the year comes to a close. Fans of the nostalgic Worldport best book your tickets and bring your cameras while there’s still time.
Remember Eastern? Pan Am? Well, the next one to join the list of airline has-beens will be Northwest.
Northwest Airlines may have made it to the beginning of 2010, but won’t see another New Year’s Eve. The carrier, which was acquired by Delta in October 2008, has received permission from the FAA to ditch the Northwest name and operate the whole deal as Delta. The cutover process for “legacy Northwest” is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter.
There are, of course, some kinks to be worked out. The entire Northwest operation needs to be folded into that of Delta, and everything from routes to labor to the codes on boarding passes need to be sorted out. Though some groups within Northwest have sorted out contracts and seniority lists, flight attendants, gate and reservation agents and ramp workers still have some work in front of them. Prior to the merger, Northwest was, according to The Associated Press, “heavily unionized,” and Delta wasn’t.
Fortunately, a lot of heavy lifting has been done already. More than 80 percent of the planes once labeled Northwest have been repainted for Delta, the two frequent flier programs have been consolidated and crews are standardized on one set of uniforms.
On November 24th 1968, Luis Armando Soltren and two others, hijacked Pan Am flight 281. Using guns and knives, Soltren and his accomplices forced their way into the cockpit and demanded that the plane land in Cuba.
Of course, back in that era, hijackings were a little more common than they are nowadays, but that does not mean the crime was easily forgotten. For 40 years, Soltren lived in Cuba, away from his wife and two sons. His two partners in crime were arrested back in the mid 70’s, and each served their time.
Soltren decided that being the number one fugitive on the FBI list for 41 years was long enough, and his deteriorating health forced him to surrender and return to the United States. He was accompanied by security personnel, and was arrested when he landed at JFK airport.
He’ll have to answer to a court today, and chances are his old age and poor health won’t get him much leniency in sentencing – he committed a horrible crime, and probably changed the lives of all those involved on his flight. It took a State Department chartered plane to get them back to the US.