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Top 6: Awesome Vintage Airline Lounges ON Airplanes
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Top 6: Awesome Vintage Airline Lounges ON Airplanes

by jeffreyOctober 27, 2014

Allegedly, flying used to not be all about getting violated by bureaucratic civil servants at the TSA–it used to be fun, exciting… even downright glamorous… or so I’m told.

We decided to brush up on our aviation history (some of you might consider it a trip down memory lane) and outline some of the most awesome and badass wonders of aviation we’ve ever seen.

…A time when the flight attendants wore short shorts and bought you liquor drinks two at a time.

70's Flight Attendant - Southwest

1. The Qantas Captain Cook Lounge – Boeing 747

First up is the Captain Cook lounge aboard Qantas’ Boeing 747s. Situated on the top deck, the lounge offered space for a full luxury dining experience.

Source: aussieairliners.org/

Source: aussieairliners.org/

Source: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/3969134/

Source: airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/3969134/

Source: aussieairliners.org/

Source: aussieairliners.org/

2. The American Airlines “LuxuryLiner” with Piano Bar and more!

For those (like me) that needed to do a double take for the photo below:  yes, that is a piano installed on a Boeing 747! Sometime around 1972, American Airlines introduced their new “LuxuryLiner” fleet.

American Airlines’ new “LuxuryLiner” fleet featured many of their McDonnell Douglas DC-10, Boeing 707 and Boeing 747-100 aircraft. The Boeing 747-100s were probably the coolest in that the airline removed 60 seats and placed a living room-sized lounge and piano bar for its coach passengers to enjoy. Just look at how much fun they’re having (in this staged photo by a professional photographer):

american airlines 747-100

Source: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/3969134/

The lounges were all equipped with Wurlitzer electronic organs:

Source: http://www.710kmpc.com/photo.htm

Source: http://www.710kmpc.com/photo.htm

And, flying in First Class didn’t suck either:  passengers were able to reserve a table for up to 4 people to eat dinner, hangout etc…

Source: http://airlinespastpresent.blogspot.com/

Source: http://airlinespastpresent.blogspot.com/

Here are a few commercials touting the new “coach lounge”:

And even when American Airlines wasn’t installing very nice Wurlitzer electric organs in its planes, it didn’t skimp out on the awesome lounges:

American's 747 Coach Lounge

aa 747 luxury liner

3. Continental Polynesian Pub on the DC-10

Continental first rolled out their new “Polynesian Pub” concept on their fleet of 747s and then, in the early 1970s also included the lounge/bar on their DC-10s. Unfortunately, as a result of the 1973 oil crisis, more seats were needed and the DC-10 pubs were removed.

Either way, looks like a pretty great place to pass the time on a flight. The DC-10 pubs we located in economy class and open to all passengers.

Source: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1344151-traveling-back-70s-3.html

Source: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1344151-traveling-back-70s-3.html

4. TWA’s 707 Coach Lounge

“In October of 1971, TWA introduced a coach lounge on its 707-131Bs. This was an extension of the Ambassador service theme, first introduced in November 1970. Note the bar and the coach ‘twin seat’ with center table folded down. Seat covers 12 (fuschia), 15 (brown) and 9 (gold-orange).”

TWA's 707 Lounge

5. Braniff Boeing 747 Upper Deck

“Braniff operated a sole Boeing 747, affectionately titled ‘Big Orange’ and ‘Fat Albert’ from 1971 to 1978. The 747 flew exclusively on DFW-Honolulu until the arrival of additional Boeing 747s when it embarked on its fatal deregulation ‘route gorge.’

When the Boeing 747 was introduced in the early 1970s during the throes of a recession, passenger capacity exceeded demand. Also, the Upper Deck was not initially certified to carry paying passengers during take-offs and landing. Thus, airlines used them as premium lounges. Continental and American Airlines even added pubs and organs in theirs. Braniff went for a very stylish (for the time) approach. A side note, at the time Braniff’s “Big Orange” was the highest utilized Boeing 747 in the world.”
Airwaysnews.com

Braniff Boeing 747 Upper Deck

Source: airwaysnews.com

Braniff Boeing 747 Upper Deck

Source: airwaysnews.com

6. Singapore Airlines B747 “Slumberette”

The upper deck lounge on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 747 started in 1976:

In 1976, Singapore Airlines redesigned its first class upper-deck to create 'slumberettes' - 6 custom divans that turned into beds.

In 1976, Singapore Airlines redesigned its first class upper-deck to create ‘slumberettes’ – 6 custom divans that turned into beds.

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  • Retired Lawyer

    I also remember going to/from undergraduate school on UA in 1966-68. Flight 647 from ORD to LAN in the evening was a DC-6 (4 engine prop) – all First Class (A). The rear of the UA DC-6 had a lounge with about 7 very comfortable seats around a circular table. Since the flight took one hour plus (props were slower), dinner was served on the flight – choice of filet mignon or lobster tail as the main course. And, of course, the fare for this flight using my student standby card (for those of us who remember those days) was a whopping $7.82, Unfortunately, I took no pictures.

    • greetbigball

      back in those days gas was cheaper.
      now there are 7 billion people using gasoline

      • Paulrich

        Actually the recession caused a large decrease in air travel and all major airlines had purchased those 747’s as well as L-1011’s/DC-10’s in anticipation of an uptick in passengers. So the carriers responded with pulling seats out of their 747’s coach cabins (it was divided into zones) and creating the “coach lounge” using one of the zones. They tried to outdo each other with who had the best one. While it lasted was a great way to travel. As a side note please look at the seating for the coach cabins. Back then it was 2-4-3 not the 3-4-3 one finds today in the few remaining carriers that operate 747’s. Food was plentiful and free, charges for mixed drinks depended on the carrier and flight otherwise beverages were complimentary as was checked luggage.

  • canuck_in_ca

    The American Airlines B747-400 (winglets) picture you used is a fake. American never operated that variant, only the -100 and -SP ones. The lounge was in a B747-100.

  • toxicair8

    The article misses out the wonderful 1970’s Gulf Air 5* Tri-Star which had their lounge and bar behind the First Class cabin featuring the Gold Leather seats and games/dinner tables for 4 persons!

  • BernieFlatters

    I have had an idea that the airlines could bring back lounges on certain flight by monetizing the experience: The airline sells upgraded snacks and liquor and gives people the opportunity to hang out in an open space.