Has anyone read the August 15th edition of American Way? If you flip to page 10, you’ll see Tom Horton’s column on “entertaining history”. I actually found the article really interesting, especially the part about American’s 747 coach lounges.
In 1966, the airline ordered a slow of Boeing 747 Astroliners. These were the biggest commercial airplanes in the sky at the time, and in 1966, air travel was growing, so the order made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, by the time American received the new aircraft in 1970, the economy was in a recession and there was too much capacity in the industry to justify all these 303-seat jumbos. The solution to this problem was at once simple and radical. American pulled 50 seats off each 747 and used the free space to create a passenger lounge. The airline then installed a Wurlitzer piano in each lounge. Once again, American enlisted Sinatra to help promote its latest musical marketing ploy. This time, Frank Sinatra Jr. performed on a packed red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York. In a time of depressed air-travel demand, the Skylounges – which typically featured well-known singers whose only compensation was free travel – helped generate lots of traffic. Not surprisingly (and certainly not for the last time), other airlines borrowed this American idea. Alas, the piano-lounge-in-the-sky era didn’t last long, in just a few months, the economy rebounded and American was able to return the 50 seats to the cabin.
Courtesy of Airlines Past & Present:
Any of our more seasoned readers get to experience the Coach Lounges?