History of World Wings
World Wings International is the philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants. Starting out as a mostly social organization in 1959, World Wings International has grown over the decades into a strong philanthropic force that actively supports charities at home and abroad. Since 1994, World Wingers have joined forces with CARE in the battle to end global poverty. CARE is one of the world’s largest international humanitarian organizations and the principal charity and partner of World Wings International.
A Brief History:
At a time when few people ventured abroad, members of World Wings were traveling the world and were exposed to foreign customs and cultures during good times and bad, during war and peace. As Flight Attendants of the world’s premier airline and de facto American flag carrier, they were often in areas of conflict and witnessed many world-changing events.
They learned from their experiences while on layover abroad and had a first-hand look at the abject poverty and great need existing in so many areas of the world. They had time between flights to explore cities, enjoy food and shopping, visit museums, go to the theater and visit cultural sites. They had time to take side trips to other areas and came away richer for the experience.
They took military personnel on R & R flights, only to have to return them again to the areas of conflict. In 1975, Pan Am flight attendants braved the advancing Vietnamese army to take part in the Vietnam Babylift, evacuating hundreds of AmerAsian war orphans to safety and to new homes and adoptive parents in the USA.
In their travels, our members saw the best and the worst. The poverty and great need of the people in developing countries made them want to make a difference and share some of their advantages. During the 1960’s, many flight attendants signed up to help at the Tom Dooley orphanage in Nepal during their vacations or by taking short leaves from flying. Many visited wounded military men and women in hospitals in areas of conflict to thank them for their service and to offer a bit of cheer and a touch of home.
World Wings International, Inc. had its beginnings in 1952 on the West Coast, when former Pan Am flight attendants based in the San Francisco Bay Area organized to keep in touch with friends from their flying days. In 1957, former flight attendants on Long Island did the same, creating World Wings and incorporating the organization under the laws of the State of New York. In 1958, the two groups merged and World Wings International officially took flight – the same year that Pan Am introduced jet travel with the first transatlantic flight of the Boeing 707.
World Wings International was incorporated in 1959 and became a 501(c) (3) philanthropic organization in 1966. Today, there are 2300 members in 30 chapters in the US and Europe and unaffiliated Members at Large.
Members of World Wings wish to remain deeply involved in the world they once traveled so extensively. They are proud to have raised over $3.5 million in donations since redefining their mission in 1966. They want good work to continue…