In the 21st century, flying on airlines isn’t the best experience for some. From TSA to the cliché crying baby on board, it is becoming cumbersome to step foot on anything with wings. Gone are the days of truly great chair-side service with cocktails, fine china plated with good food, and, hell, even your own smoking section.
What if I told you there’s a company in the greater Los Angeles area who is set on bringing the glory days of such things (no smoking section though, sorry folks!)?
Where the drinks flow as freely as the wings that carry the planes we travel on?
My friends, you won’t have to look much further.
Air Hollywood, a hangar/soundstage based in Pacoima, a city in the San Fernando Valley, have recreated one of America’s greatest airlines that have graced the skies. Pan Am. If you’re within the ages of 23-32 (ahem, millennials), it’s more than likely you haven’t set foot on this airline. It was once regarded as one of America’s treasured travel experience and was truly dedicated to setting the standard of great customer service.
We were the first ones to arrive and were greeted immediately. Given a few minutes to look around the plane and take a few shots of the interior, as well as the lobby, we made our rounds and were introduced to some of the lovely staff and made our way to the bar.
Aside from getting free cocktails along with the flight experience, you are also given complimentary drinks before you even board. Huzzaah!
Being young and incorrigible, I took full advantage of the bar situation. Kevin and I sat amongst the rest of the guests while they found their way inside. Amidst the white noise, you could hear sounds from the ’60s and ’70s with an old Pan Am radio ad thrown into the mix.
We found our way to our seats and, luckily for Kevin and I, the host gave us both seats in the first class section of the experience. We sat down and perused the cocktail menu while enjoying a tiny film on how Alex recreated the whole plane by memory, including some of the fabric for the seats, wallpaper, and even the uniforms. The flight was about to take off but first, we were given the proper safety instructions.
The menu on board looked promising. I received my whiskey sour, and I totally recommend it if you’ve never had one. Kevin and I went with the shrimp cocktail. It was simple.
The shrimp was sweet and the cocktail sauce was served in the perfect amount. After the delectable prawns came our second course. We went with the Chateaubriand tenderloin served with veggies and a demi-glace sauce.
The tenderloin was tender, juicy, and served medium rare. The demi-glace was at the right consistency-not too thick and definitely not watered down. Whoever is behind the kitchen, please stay. Do not leave.
Throughout our dining we weren’t just left to eat. We were treated to the different and amazing decades of fashion the airline has gone through. We were also tested on our Pan Am knowledge and awarded various prizes. Since Kevin and I were completely stumped, we received a really awesome Pan Am passport book . See kids? Sometimes not studying still pays off.
With our flight preparing to land, I was little sad the experience had to end. For once, I felt like an adult and it wasn’t because of the demographic aboard the plane. Surely it could’ve been because of the fancy cocktails and dinners served on rustic plates alongside polished silverware. Is this what’s been missing from my life?
Rather, am I just enjoying the smaller things now and taking much less for granted?
It’s still a blur at this point, but it was all rather wonderful. The staff went above and beyond customer service and were nothing short of polite. The food surpassed my standard for what I originally thought it would be and the drinks, well, they just came appearing in my hand. Next time you step foot into sunny Los Angeles, be sure not to pass this one of a kind experience and take it to the skies.