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June 13, 2017

American Airlines Vintage Fleet and Inflight Service: New Passenger Lounge With Piano Bar in the Sky

In 1966, the airline ordered a slow of Boeing 747 Astroliners. These were the biggest commercial airplanes in the sky at the time, and in 1966, air travel was growing, so the order made a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, by the time American received the new aircraft in 1970, the economy was in a recession and there was too much capacity in the industry to justify all these 303-seat jumbos. The solution to this problem was at once simple and radical. American pulled 50 seats off each 747 and used the free space to create a passenger lounge.

American Airlines 707

The airline then installed a Wurlitzer piano in each lounge. Once again, American enlisted Sinatra to help promote its latest musical marketing ploy. This time, Frank Sinatra Jr. performed on a packed red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York. In a time of depressed air-travel demand, the Skylounges – which typically featured well-known singers whose only compensation was free travel – helped generate lots of traffic.

Not surprisingly (and certainly not for the last time), other airlines borrowed this American idea. Alas, the piano-lounge-in-the-sky era didn’t last long, in just a few months, the economy rebounded and American was able to return the 50 seats to the cabin.

American Airlines Boeing 747

American Airlines 747 Luxury Liner

American Airlines Boeing 747 Piano Bar

American Airlines Luxury Liners

American Airlines DC-10

American Airlines DC-10 Coach Class Bar

American Airlines Boeing 707

American Airlines Boeing 707

American Airlines Boeing 727

American Airlines Boeing 727

American Airlines Inflight Service

American Airlines Inflight Service

American Airlines Inflight Meals

(via Airlines Past & Present)



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