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. American Way August 15

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.

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Courtesy of Airlines Past & Present:

AA 747 3

Any of our more seasoned readers get to experience the Coach Lounges?

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paulrich January 3, 2019 - 9:59 pm

I enjoyed those coach lounges while they lasted, (my dad worked for TWA at the time and mostly the domestic fleet had them), Pan Am didn’t as they few mostly international. They were actually installed around 1971 and removed during ’73 but it was the CAB not the airlines they wanted them out (for whatever reason). Continental had a unique one which they called a “Polynesian Pub” and proved so popular they resisted the pressure to remove them. But in the end, the other carriers were all to eager to reinstall seats and that was the end. One was not allowed to use the lounge until aircraft was a cruising altitude. At the time I was a teenager so could neither drink nor smoke (common on aircraft back then) but unlike today, the air was constantly exchanged so one really did not notice. Food service was top notch, the cabins themselves were roomy, crew always around to cater to your needs. Security nonexistent! Flying then was pure pleasure and one actually looked forward to those 6 hour trips. Image that today!

Jeff Cody Morris May 12, 2019 - 12:18 am

My step dad had a radio show out of Las Vegas, Rod Gregory Presents the Stars. He did an in flight interview of Frank Jr while he played in the Sky Lounge.

William Cramer February 29, 2020 - 10:59 am

When I was 10 – 1974 – I flew home to New York from Los Angeles with my parents on a TWA 747 in first class. There were only six passengers in first and the stewarsesses (who were still BEAUTIFUL) and they spent hours in the upstairs lounge pouring me every alcoholic drink they could think of! Those were great times!!!


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