PACOIMA (CBSLA.com) — There was a time when checking in for a flight was a glamorous and elegant experience.
Lesleigh Tolin was just 24 when her dreams of seeing the world took flight as a stewardess for Pan Am.
The year was 1970, and the 747 fleet was new.
“It was an elegant time in the sky. It was a beautiful experience,” Tolin said. “I have fabulous memories of that decade.”
It’s an experience that Tolin and others can recreate every Saturday night in Pacoima. Passengers pay $295 to $355 for a ticket to leave 2015 and fly back to 1974, when original stemware, china and silverware were used during a flight.
Passengers board an airliner cabin designed to look and feel just like a 1974 jumbo jet. It’s an experience that Anthony Toth of Redondo Beach marveled at as a child.
“When I was 5 years old, I boarded a Pan Am 747, and that experience actually changed my life forever,” Toth said. “I instantly became obsessed with aviation.”
Forty years of obsession turned into a cache of Pan Am paraphernalia and Air Hollywood’s Pan Am experience.
When it’s time for pretend wheels-up, Captain Toth and his crew serve up the finest. Passengers seated in wide seats with generous leg room are treated for four hours to a four-course feast, complete with champagne and chateaubriand.
There’s an occasional reminder that the experience is not reality as passengers are given faux cigarettes to smoke on board and there’s an occasional snap from a smartphone camera.
Before the “final approach,” there is a fashion show of the original stewardess outfits.
The flight may be fake, but the passengers’ high is genuine.
“For 10 years, I was always the one serving others. So, to be on a jet, a facsimile of a jet, on this side of service, is like awesome. Delightful. Fun. Luxurious.
“It’s elegant. It’s nostalgic. It’s the ’70s relived,” Tolin said.
Get more information about the Pan Am Experience here.