Pan American World Airways or more commonly Pan Am was the first airline to order the Boeing 747. They put the first aircraft in service in January 1970 and ushered in the age of the Jumbo Jet. What is interesting is what they did with the upper deck.

The original Boeing 747 featured a spiral staircase up to a smaller upper deck than is currently found on the aircraft. Pan Am decided to make the area the first class dining room.

Dining Room Advertising

As far as I can tell, no other airline used the upper deck as a dining room. Most other airlines used the space as a lounge or bar rather than a dining room.

As per the ad, a feature is the roast beef is carved at the table. Also, you apparently need to make reservations to eat upstairs. I wonder if an extra cost was involved!

Dining Room Picture

You can tell it’s the 1970s with the styling on the upper deck. The dining room also features clipper ships, which is not surprising as all Pan Am aircraft were named Clipper something.

Eventually the dining room was removed and replaced with seats. Most airlines removed their upstairs lounges and replaced them with seats in order to earn more money.

How About A Lounge In Coach?

Something else I came across while looking for pictures of the Pan Am dining room is this excellent ad showing the American Airlines Coach lounge on their 747s.

Now that is an amazing looking space at the rear of the aircraft. What is most interesting about it is how chic it looks even today – I’d be all over trying out that on board lounge!

Overall Thoughts

It is a shame that high oil prices from the early 1970s meant airlines needed to add more seats and remove their lounges and dining rooms. Flying lost a little bit of its glamour when that happened.

Even so it’s fun to look back and see how things were during those few years at the beginning of the 1970s. Did you ever try the Pan Am dining room or the American Coach lounge? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Mick West via
Pan Am Advertisement via The Pan Am Historical Foundation.