The Pan Am Podcast

The Pan Am Podcast

Experience the legacy of the world’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways. Brought to you by the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York, the award-winning The Pan Am Podcast brings Pan Am’s 64-year history to life through engaging storytelling and insightful interviews from Pan Am employees, passengers, historians, authors, fashionistas, and aviation enthusiasts! A 2022 Muse Creative Award Silver Winner, 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Podcast), and 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Best Host). This award-winning program is sponsored by the generous personal support of Mr. Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and we would appreciate your consideration of tax-deductible donations.

Episodes

July 26, 2022 59 min

In this episode we are joined by Frank W. Abagnale, Jr. to talk about his interesting background. He will also provide tips on protecting your identity and wallet and how to avoid scams. 

The 2002 academy award-nominated film by Steven Spielberg, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks was loosely based on Frank’s life. 

This blockbuster film introduced a whole new generation to the wonder, glamour, and nostalgi...

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In this episode Barbara Sharfstein, 92, a veteran Pan Am flight attendant, joins us to talk about her flying career, tragedy over the Amazon, and a concert in the sky with Louis Armstrong. 

Barbara joined Pan Am in 1951 and after 35 years of service with the airline as a flight attendant, purser, check purser, and 747 in-flight director, she was transferred to United Airlines in 1986 when the Pacific Division was sold.  She then wor...

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In this special episode we are joined by Max Gurney, who will celebrate his 101st birthday on June 10, 2022! The Pan Am Museum and the entire worldwide Pan Am community wish him the happiest of birthdays! 

Max is a 45-year veteran of Pan Am and a living legend within the airline community. He is also the godfather to His Serine Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco. 

Max was kind enough to invite host Tom Betti into his home for a cha...

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In this episode we will be exploring Pan Am’s prestigious role in White House Press Charters travelling as part of the entourage of the President of United States and his aircraft, Air Force One. 

 Then we are joined by three special guests. 

Our first guest is Dwight Chapin who was a top aide to President Richard M. Nixon. He recently released a book called The President’s Man: The Memoirs of Nixon’s Trusted Aide. While at the White...

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In this 20th episode, we are joined by Mary Lou Bigelow, a former TWA air hostess from 1959–1962 and a Pan Am stewardess/purser from 1962-1964. She discusses working for the two airlines and what it was like to live in Afghanistan.

In 1964, Mary Lou married a pilot, whom she met in Beirut, Lebanon while working a 14-day NYC-HKG pattern. Pan Am still had a policy that female flight attendants hang up their wings once they married, bu...

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April 1, 2022 117 min

In this episode we explore the fascinating history of Concorde from British Airways. 

This episode is a direct follow up to “Episode 7: Supersonic Transports, An Angry JFK, and Flying the Line.” In that episode we explored the race for the first passenger supersonic aircraft between a British and French partnership, the United States, and the Soviet Union. 

Then we are joined by Captain Mike Bannister, the chief pilot of British Airw...

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In this episode we explore the history of Pan Am in the Movies! 

Then we will be joined by two guests to talk about Hollywood and Pan Am! 

Mark Carlson is our first guest. He is the author of the book, Flying on Film: A Century of Aviation in the Movies, 1912 to 2012.

Legally blind, Mark also wrote the award winning book, Confessions of a Guide Dog - The Blonde Leading the Blind, about his first Guide Dog, Musket.  

And the second int...

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We dedicate this episode to all the 583 victims of this tragedy.  They are remembered.

To the family and friends of the victims...our sincerest condolences.

Special Guest: Dorothy Kelly, a Pan Am Flight Attendant who survived the accident, tells her harrowing and heroic story of survival and helping those in need. 

On March 27, 1977 at 5:06 PM local time on the island of Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands off the Moroccan Coast...

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In this episode we explore the founding of Pan Am and the early years of the airline.

Juan T. Trippe is widely known as the principle founder of Pan Am and rightly so. However, the early history of Pan Am is very complex and at times quite confusing with multiple people and mergers involved. 

Then we are joined by George Hambleton, whose father John Hambleton was a co-founder of Pan Am and close friend and business partner of both Ju...

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In this episode we  explore the only division of Pan Am American World Airways that survived bankruptcy liquidation and emerged as an independent company called the Pan Am International Flight Academy headquartered in Miami, Florida. 

Then we welcome back Pan Am Captains Paul LaCheppelle and John Marshall. 

Captain Lachapelle is featured in Episode 6:  Hijackings and the Dawn of Global Terrorism. 

Captain Marshall is featured in Episo...

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In this episode we will be exploring another innovation of the early 1960s, Pan Am’s worldwide reservation and communications system called Panamac. 

Then we are joined by Julia Cooke, the author of the best-selling book Come Fly the World which was recently nominated for the Goodreads Best Books 2021 Choice Awards.

To purchase this book and support the museum, click here.

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More about Panamac:

  • Check out this 1962 Pa...
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    Welcome to a special TWA Edition of The Pan Am Podcast!

    In this episode we are joined by Pam Blaschum, the director of the TWA Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Then we are joined by Tyler Morse  of MCR Hotels who developed the former TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport in New York City into today’s TWA Hotel

    It is important to point out that Pan Am history is not complete without TWA and TWA history is not complete without Pan Am. The...

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    We dedicate this episode to all the 270 victims of this tragedy.  They are remembered.

    To the family and friends of the victims...our sincerest condolences.

    Special Guests: John Reina, brother of victim Jocelyn Reina, with Pan Am veterans Linda Freire and Myron “Rosie” Rosenstein.

    Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial (Lockerbie Memorial Carin)
    Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA

    Garden of Remembrance
    Dryfesdale Cemetery, Lock...

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    In this episode we commemorate the sad 30th Anniversary of Pan American World Airways ceasing operations on December 4, 1991. 

    To mark this special milestone, we are joined by Ed Trippe, the youngest son of Pan Am’s legendary founder Juan Trippe and his wife Betty Stettinius Trippe. 

    Ed is the founder and chairman of our sister organization, the Pan Am Historical Foundation

    In December of 1991, shortly after the company his father f...

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    In this episode, we explore the history of the Pan Am Building in New York City. 

    This 59-story skyscraper is located at 200 Park Avenue and shares a lot with the beaux-arts icon, and National Landmark, New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

    Later in the program we are joined by Richard Roth, Jr., the grandson of Emery Roth, a prolific New York City architect who designed many notable buildings in the 1920s and 1930s. 

    Richard provides a ...

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    In this episode, we will be exploring the history of the Pan Am WorldPort, and Unit Terminal Building (UTB), which was located at Terminal 3 within John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. 

    Later we are joined by author Wendy Sue Knecht to discuss her book, Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir. Wendy joined Pan Am in 1979, and was with the company until 1991, before joining Delta Air Lines.

    To purchase this bo...

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    In this episode we are joined by a very special guest: Pan Am Captain Dave Bridges, Centenarian. He celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year and he just might be one of the oldest people to ever be on a podcast!

    A 37-year Pan Am veteran, Captain Bridges joined the company in 1943 and retired in 1981. He began as a relief co-pilot on the Boeing 314 flying boat during World War II, and after the war he flew a variety of land-ba...

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    In this episode we will be exploring the 1960s race for the first supersonic passenger aircraft between the United States, the Soviet Union, and a British-French partnership. 

    Then we are joined by Becky Sprecher, a Pan Am flight attendant and co-author with Paula Helfrich of “Flying: A Novel,”  a historical fiction book about Pan Am crews flying over the Pacific in the 1970s.

    To purchase the book, “Flying: A Novel,” please visit the...

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    In this episode we explore the coordinated terrorist hijackings of four passenger airliners all bound for New York on the same day on September 6, 1970.  The events were a watershed moment and aviation would never be the same again. 

    The four planes involved were: a TWA Boeing 707,  a SwissAir DC-8, a El Al Boeing 707, and a Pan Am Boeing 747 named Clipper Fortune.  A fifth plane, a BOAC Vickers VC 10, was hijacked three days afterw...

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    In this episode we explore two of the subsidiaries of Pan Am:  the InterContinental Hotels Corporation and the Pan Am Guided Missiles Range Division. 

    Yep, you read that right, the airline company had its own hotel chain for about 30 years, and Pan Am did aerospace work for the U.S. government including the space program for almost 40 years. Why? Because the American government asked them to do both. 

    Later we are joined by Jennifer ...

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