Flying Round-The-World With Pan Am: A June 17th Anniversary

A globe, looking at China, India and the surrounding region. i i
Barbara J King
A globe, looking at China, India and the surrounding region.
Barbara J King

When I first jetted to Kenya for anthropology field work, my Pan Am flight lasted 22 hours: New York to Dakar (Senegal) to Monrovia (Liberia) to Lagos (Nigeria) to Nairobi. Exciting experience, that, becoming a small part of Pam Am's aviation history.

But I missed out on the best long-haul Pan Am flight ever.

Sixty-five years ago today, that's 1947 if you don't want to count, Pan Am launched the first regular, round-the-world airline service. Starting in San Francisco and ending in New York, the plane stopped at eight intermediate cities: Honolulu, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Istanbul, Frankfurt and London.

The best part? As this Wired article explains, the complete journey lasted 48 hours, but passengers could get off at any city, stay awhile, then reboard and continue onwards when the flight came around again.

Can a person feel nostalgia for a flight she never took?


You can keep up with more of what Barbara is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

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