Alaska Airlines went full Russian back in the early 1970s with the Golden Samovar service. Designed to celebrate the airline doing charter flights to the Soviet Union, stewardesses wore full length black maxi-coats and the on board menu was totally on brand.
Goodness knows what an unsuspecting passenger would have thought, coming across all this on board an American airline. Personally, I would have been awestruck and you can see why in the videos below.
Golden Samovar Service Videos
Running for just under two minutes, this colour video comes from 16mm film that someone shot of the actual Golden Samovar service on board. Check out the elaborate meal and service, not to mention the “Gay Nineties-Gold Rush” cabin decor! The main feature is the giant Samovar from which comes the tea.
According to the advertising, authentic Russian balalaika melodies were played to set the mood. Either way, I’d like some of that delicious looking caviar, please! There is one more video below which is an Alaska Airlines television commercial from 1970. It runs for one minute and is kooky to say the least.
I can’t help but laugh at the airline’s slogan at the end of the video. “Because we’re more fun” isn’t something I can see the airlines of today using with any success!
The Golden Samovar Service Deconstructed
Passengers in First Class started with cocktails, followed by hot hors d’oeurves. These included things such as a Russian pelmeni dumpling, king crab leg, cheese balls, and spicy meat patty. Next was a salad course with hot black bread on the side. The entree came next (or main course for non-Americans) which was veal or steak, served with string beans and potatoes.
Red and white wine was available and following that was the Pie Odessa (pecan) for dessert. Rounding out the repast was fruit and cheese. Those interested can see the full detailed breakdown on Jon Proctor’s Golden Samovar Service page. To cap off the whole thing, the samovar was brought out with dry ice creating smoke from the top of the pot. Stewardesses would offer passengers tea in glasses.
The Golden Samovar service on Alaska Airlines apparently took 2 hours and 30 minutes all in. Clearly the meal was the main event on these flights and you know, I’d love to have experienced it.
Doing something to a theme with real attention to detail and panache is something airlines today never do. It would be totally fun to see Alaska do it again as a one off special. I know I’d pay to experience it!
Did you ever experience the Golden Samovar service? What do you think of the whole concept? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image via Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines ads via WorthPoint.