Glory days, back again

Talk to the travelers who were flying back “when people dressed up to fly” — say, pre-1980, and you’ll hear tales of wonder.

Hot meals (three choices). On china. With silverware, sterling.

Flight attendants who took your coats to hang them neatly in closets.

Lounges with actual bars. Airline-branded playing cards handed out as party favors.

Buffet tables and free Champagne — in coach.

And legroom — oh, the legroom!

True, far fewer people could afford to fly, but those who could were ruined for today’s bus-in-the-sky experience.

Some pine so hard for those glory days that they go to extremes: One man has collected hundreds of vintage flight attendant uniforms. In-flight menus from the 1960s and earlier are bought and sold on eBay.

And then there’s Anthony Toth, a man who has, in a 3,000-square-foot California warehouse, has collected bits and bobs of his favorite piece of flying history — and rebuilt much of a Pan Am 747 cabin. Just because.

Inside, he’s created a convincing gate area. After “boarding,” it would be hard to convince yourself you’re not ready for takeoff. There are rows of actual Pan Am seats inside actual cabin walls, in front of an actual Pan Am galley. There is the first-class cabin, the “Clipper” cabin and there’s a spiral staircase — just like there used to be — leading to the upper-floor lounge decked out in groovy colors.

It’s a wonderful thing, and you can check out his story with photos and video here.

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Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at and on Facebook at
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