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History Questionnaire Comments/Responses

A few of the hundreds of responses

In 1990 and 1991 an oral history project was conducted and the questionnaire used then was designed to help an interviewer create a conversation regarding the answers on the questionnaire.  The conversations were recorded on cassette tapes.  Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to get interviewers and  interviewees together and after a short time the project was abandoned.  In 2012 a new World Wings/Pan Am History Questionnaire was created based on updated questions from the previous questionnaire and sent to all World Wings International members with the request it be forwarded to friends who also flew for Pan Am but are not World Wings members.  The response was wonderful and 571 questionnaires were sent in.  The questionnaires cover the decades of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and one from 1990.  Pan Am ceased operation on December 4, 1991.  Although the project is now complete, the responses below were echoed by most recipients.

 

The World Wings/Pan Am History Questionnaire asked "What do you consider was the most value to you in your Pan Am experience?  Was there some part of your experience with PAA that helped you in a new career?  In your life?"  Another area asked about "Additional comments, reminiscences and remarks".   Here are a few of the responses:

 

 

I will be forever grateful to have had the experience of flying for Pan Am.  I remember well the reaction from people when they learn I flew for Pan Am.  An intake of air and "You did!".  I never heard that when I flew for years with another airline.  I recently had a Pan Am bag in an airport and became the topic of interest and conversation of all around. 

 

 

I considered the whole world as my home.  What was going on in another part of the world was going to have an impact on me...currency rates going up or down; a strike would affect my layover; weather could ground a flight or delay it.  Meeting people from other countries, other cultures and seeing new places and having them become like a second home because we flew there so often.  Experiencing places most people only heard about was fabulous.  Crews were like family.  

 

 

Although not rich, we lived very well - staying in beautiful hotels all over the world and meeting fabulous people.  I would have flown for Pan Am for free.  It was like a permanent vacation.  I treasure those days.

 

 

I have done a lot of things in my life but none makes me as proud as Pan Am.  I always refer to this airline as the best and it will always have a special place in my heart. 

 

 

Working for PAA was an international college degree preparing any of us for any responsible career in just about any field.  It was a lifestyle that was hard to give up.

 

 

Pan Am was more than an employer; it was a family.  It was the people who worked for Pan Am and were special.  There was a feeling of comradery and loyalty.  We always jumped in to help one another without thinking, "Hey, that's not my job."  You can meet someone from Pan Am and feel an instant connection.  I think I always liked people but Pan Am left me with "wanting to please people". 

 

 

To hear a younger person say "What's Pan Am?" is funny at first, then sad.  It's amazing we have lasted this long but with all the conventions, anniversaries and reunions it has kept us together.  I just count myself lucky to have been involved with such an amazing company and the people who worked for it. 

 

 

I remember Pan Am was a wonderful life and I am grateful to be a member of the Pan Am family.  I will always treasure and reminisce of the old days when we had adventures and fun in traveling and flying.

 

 

I still miss Pan Am and the job.  I have wonderful memories and some great friends.  I was able to see the world and share that with my family.

 

 

Flying with Pan Am was an incredible experience and I am so glad I did it!  The amazing travel experiences, the people I met, and the ability to share these benefits with my family were beyond words.  I became a "jet setter" with a middle class upbringing.  I knew when it was time to quit, but I also realized that I was not just changing a job, but changing a lifestyle.  So many things helped me in my career.  Meeting people from all countries and cultures, feeling comfortable in public, learning how to work as a team & dealing with difficult people. 

 

 

Pan Am was responsible for introducing me to the entire world! It was an education like no other.  I saw the 8 wonders.  I met unique people from many different cultures, stayed in 5 star hotels and ate in 5 star restaurants. 

 

 

Loved working for Pan Am!  It was the greatest airline in the world and I was so privileged to be a part of it.

 

 

I think we were the luckiest Flight Attendants ever!  I believe the period I flew from 1951 to 1960 were the best!  Our getting a whole month of vacation each year after only one year of employment was fantastic.  Pan Am, as I have told many people, was truly a wonderful company to work for and no wonder there are so many loyal former employees around the world!

 

 

Pan Am was and will always be the greatest and the best known airline in the world.  It taught the other airlines how to fly.  It was there to help others when there were earthquakes in Nicaragua and hurricanes in Mexico.  It developed radio and navigational equipment because there wasn't any.  Pan Am was way ahead of the United States Army Air Corps.  Lucky for our country when the war came (WWII) it was runways and airports laid out by Pan Am that gave us a faster start from the islands in the Pacific, Alaska, Africa and trans Atlantic.  First class and tourist on the same flight was introduced by Pan Am.  The first airline to have jet service.  My airline first, best and always!

 

 

When I wore my Pan Am uniform I was not shy.  Armed with that confidence I could speak up when necessary. 

 

 

Will always treasure my years with Pan Am and still feel very much connected like to a big family with similar experiences.

 

 

I truly consider my flying days with Pan Am one of the highlights in my life.  I feel so proud to tell people I used to be part of PAA and now a part of World Wings International.

 

 

I could not imagine my life without the experience of Pan Am.

 

 

Seeing life in so many parts of the world - people are people everywhere!  Different climate, different attire, different food, different languages but the same basic desires and needs.  Also the lasting friendships that I made and , of course, World Wings.

 

 

Of most value were the friends I made.  To this day my closest friends are the women I met 50 years ago at Pan Am.  Working for Pan Am gave me a world view I probably never would have attained if I'd stayed in my hometown.

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my flying career.  Being able to converse with our passengers in 3 languages certainly did not hurt. 

 

 

Educational - you read about it in books, newspapers, etc., but the best was being there - to be part of life.

 

 

It was a wonderful cultural and learning experience to be a stewardess with Pan Am.  I lived in San Francisco, New York, Lisbon and Paris.  I traveled to over fifty countries on six continents around the world during my work and vacation time.  My Pan Am experience has served me well.

 

 

Working with people from different countries and backgrounds.  Every person who touched my life helped me view the world differently than if I had another job.  Pan Am was a good education of culture, food, wine.  It opened my mind.

 

 

It was a great experience being part of Pan Am.  Good job and good pay.  Loved the travel.  Broadened my perspective.  Interesting people and places.  Helped me know that I wanted to aim for "First Class" in my life.

 

 

Pan Am afforded me a wonderful life, variety, chances to live in different places and friends all over the world.  I am grateful.

 

 

Although over 20 years have passed since Pan Am's demise, the airline still remains in everyone's heart.  Both PAA's employees and former passengers remember Pan Am as the pioneer of aviation.