The saying it’s not the destination, it’s the journey holds true for the Pan Am Experience. It’s an immersive dinner and show experience on a recreated Pan Am jet, located in a LA sound stage at Air Hollywood. From the time you check-in to the time you disembark, you are immersed in the Pan Am flying experience of the ’70s albeit, an upper-class experience.
You can purchase tickets for three sections of the plane: Clipper Class which was the original business class, First Class and the Upper Deck Lounge. These tickets can be hard to come by as they sell out quickly. To find out when they go on sale sign up to the Pan Am Experience email list and you’ll be notified when new dates are available.
Once checked in at the replica check-in counters complete with computers of the day, paper boarding pass and ticket jacket, you can relax before your flight in the Clipper Class lounge.
While this area was not a replica of lounges or pre-boarding areas back in the day it’s pretty cool – there’s a circular bar made from an old jet engine offering complimentary drinks, a collection of vintage Pan Am memorabilia, uniforms, bags and airline seats to relax in. There’s also a large map showing all the airline routes flown by Pan Am in its heyday.
After relaxing in the lounge for a drink or two, boarding starts and you're shown to your seats by Pan Am flight attendants who are aptly dressed. After being seated, you are free to walk around the plane to check out the other classes. The detail in furnishings and decorations truly replicate Pan Ams’ cabin décor during this period.
Once seated for take-off a safety video is played featuring the creative genius behind the experience, flight attendants wheel out magazine carts, take drink orders and bring out hot towels. There is a menu of cocktails from the ’70s to choose from with drinks such as the Old Fashioned, Tom Collins, Grasshopper and Brandy Alexander plus more to choose from all served in vintage Pan Am glasses. Complimentary Pan Am packaged smoked almonds and movie cigarettes that puff out fake smoke are also shared out to enjoy during this time. They’re really bringing the ‘70’s to life, when smoking was permitted on planes!
A maître-d brings out menus while flight attendants set up your retractable table and dress it with Pan Am branded tablecloths, dishes and silverware – a lot of which is authentic. Appetizers are served: shrimp cocktail (so ‘70’s) or caprese salad and if you’re in first class there is also a caviar service.
Then the fashion show begins with the flight attendants walking up and down the plane showcasing Pan Am vintage uniforms from the ‘’60s and ’70s. The flight attendants are a hoot and interact with the guests, making it a fun part of the experience.
Dinner is served - Chateaubriand sliced tableside or chicken breast with peppercorn sauce, both served with garden fresh vegetables and potatoes plus there’s a pasta option for vegetarians as well.
After dinner, there is a quick trivia game where you guess the Pan Am route destinations listed on the vintage luggage tags, some from far off places like Douala (DLA) and another fashion show, this time with Pan Am flight attendant uniforms from the ’80s.
Wine & cheese is served with after-dinner drinks and dessert. On offer for dessert was a fruit tart or chocolate torte. The final fashion show of the night is a collection of vintage uniforms from a variety of airlines, representing one of the largest collections of vintage flight attendant uniforms in the world.
Next is the “duty-free” section where the flight attendant wheel round goodies to buy – perfumes from the ’60s and ‘70’s such as Charlie, Pierre Cardin and Old Spice and replica Pan Am merchandise such as carry-on bags.
When it seems like the fun is all over, there is more to be had. You can go on a tour of the studio where you can see the plane sets used in movies. Fun fact, we sat on the same plane sets that Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were on in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on their flight back from Italy. You also learn about the excellent work done here with their program to help people who are afraid of flying and children with Autism to help them become comfortable with the airport and flying experience. They also do an air travel training program for service dogs.
When it really is all over, you get to take away with you the prop cigarette, menu, boarding pass, luggage tag and postcards as reminders of the luxurious heyday of air travel.
This was a truly unique experience, and for those that love aviation history is well worth the price. When you think of what you spend on dinner and a Broadway show, this pricing is not too bad. There is a limit of 42 people, which means you get the intimate experience and great service from the flight attendants!
Ticket prices are sold in pairs (for two) and are currently:
- Upper Deck Lounge: $875 for pair
- Main Deck First Class: $675 per pair
- Clipper Cabin Dining Room: $475 per pair
There is a dress code and dressing up is highly recommended either in your finest flying outfit or ‘70s attire!
You can sign up to the Pan Am Experience email list here https://panamexperience.com/tickets/
For a similar experience of traveling back in time, you can visit the TWA Hotel at JFK. Here’s a post of our stay in pictures
Our entire goal at Jet&Bo is to make the journey as enjoyable as the destination and our products are designed to take you back to a time when travel was more luxurious as well.