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My Pan American World Airways Walk Down Memory Lane

My Pan American World Airways Walk Down Memory Lane

My years with Pan American World Airways were some of the best years of my life. To say that the start of my career with Pan Am was the moment of changing my life, would actually be an understatement.  When I started I didn’t know what was in store. I was a country girl from South Georgia, who grew up traveling around the SE with my father when he was recruiting teachers. And, family vacations to Florida gave me a taste of adventure and hitting the road to see cities and the country side. I knew I wanted to see more.

My largest inspiration for travel came from may days sitting by my father, leaning on his knee, totally entranced in his stories of travel. He fought in World War II and was part of the regiment sent to Europe and North Africa. His stories of cobbled stoned streets, side street cafes and rolling fields were the doorway for my dreams.  I wanted to see those places too. And, the people he described meeting and becoming friends with were all so sophisticated and charming. I wanted to jump into those cultures with both feet ready to explore.

There was no doubting I would want to find a way to see the world. After I graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, I set out to make my mark on the world, still thinking about spinning the globe in my own way. But before that would happen I worked in retail management.  An occupation completely a misfit for my wandering spirit. When I saw an ad in the local newspaper in Houston, TX, I immediate applied for an interview with Pan Am.

Shortly after my interview and with my acceptance letter in hand, I was off to Honolulu for flight attendant training.  Meeting all the other attendants who would be part of my training class was beyond exciting.  Who were these kindred spirits, I was ready to go! We were bright eyed and ready to take the step that would open our world, expand our minds and embrace our experiences with others around the world.  Spinning the globe was no longer a dream; it was happening.  I heeded the saying “buckle up and let the adventure begin!”

Below are several photos which captures a glimpse into my 12 years with Pan Am.

Pan American World Airways
Graduation from flight attendant training was a grand celebration. Now it was time to head off to our flight base. Most of us headed to New York City. That’s me on the back row peeping over the shoulder of another Anita. Look at our faces! Look out world…. here we come!

 

Pan American World Airways
Each flight was an introduction to new friends ready to explore a new city or return to favorite local spots.  South of France was always a fun layover.

 

Pan American World Airways
A trip to Venice was a train ride over from our layover in Rome. It was worth the trip!

 

Pan American World Airways
Oh Moscow… where to begin. So much to say about layovers in this fascinating city. Especially those trips during communist gov. Enjoying dinner at TrenMos Bistro was a favorite spot to meet US business personnel and have fun with the owner, Jeff from Trenton, NJ.

 

Pan American World Airways
London was always a great place for shopping and sightseeing. Harrods bags in hand means I had a great time shopping on this layover.

 

The best layovers were those with an invite to visit a crew member’s home and meet their family. A home cooked meal in Sweden was also filled with tons of fun for the crew.

 

Pan American World Airways
How cool is this. A cake decorated with Pan Am!

 

Pan American World Airways
Ain’t no sunshine in Poland. Each time I flew there the weather was cloudy and rainy. However, Pan Am flight attendants knew how to make the best of any situation.

 

Pan American World Airways
Frankfurt was the gateway to so many Pan Am destinations and it was the hub of activity with so many crews passing through, getting together and having a great time. I had very good friends in Frankfurt and often would go out to dinner with them. I don’t remember the name of this restaurant but I do remember having one of the best dinners (grilled fish) I ever had. It was also white asparagus season. That was always a treat too. On this night the executive chef and the sommelier joined my friend Sharon and I for a photo.

 

Pan American World Airways
The rare layover in the Caribbean. Most of the trips were day trips… leave in the morning and return that evening. This was a great layover a little sun and fun.

 

Pan American World Airways
Long flights allowed for a little fun and games with the crew. Although I don’t remember where we were headed, this was typical fun between services. Here we were having a little joke that someone or something “needs to rest!”

 

Pan American World Airways
I think every flight attendant has a photo beside, inside or in front of an airplane engine. It was/is a rite of passage.

 

Pan Am
Less than a year after I was hired, Pan Am furloughed a large number of flight attendants. I was in the bunch! During my free time away from flying, I decided to visit Egypt and backpack across the country. It was one of the most meaning experiences I’ve had during my years of travel. And, it showed me how quickly things can change. This photo was snapped just mins. before I slipped the camera strap across my shoulders and loss my balance on the donkey, fell off and my friend traveling with me caught me by the camera strap. I would have fallen off the edge of a very, very high mountain. The camera strap saved me! Donkey and young boy were fine.

 

Scarlett and I at the Flight Academy. We were both trainers and partners in crime. Man oh. man did we have fun together at the training academy.
Pan Am
Great friends on the planes and off. And all these years later Sharon, Camille and I remain very good friends.

The airlines present the perfect place for developing friendships.  Above are two examples of great friends.  But, there were many, many more as well.

 

Pan American World Airways
A large part of my Pan Am career I was on a special assignment to the Training Academy in Miami. I developed courses and taught classes for flight attendants and Pursers.

 

Pan American World Airways
During my time in the training department we also developed training for flight attendants stationed in other countries. Although there was some controversy around it initially, I can definitely see now, my experience working in the training department was the catalyst that changed my career path and skills; allowing me to make a positive transition into the “real world” when Pan Am ceased operations. I didn’t know at the time, but those skills would take me into the corporate world and secure a new career for me.

 

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