More than forty years ago, Anthony Toth began a life long love affair with Pan Am Airlines. Today that passion has turned into a thriving business.
For Toth, it all started with a childhood fight to Europe back in the days when the majestic airline synonymous with luxury ruled the skies. Over the last 20 years, Toth has spent tens of thousands of dollars recreating an exact replica of the aircraft he fell in love with back then.
The hobby has paid off. Toth’s replica is now part of a business called Air Hollywood, a business offering services including aircraft interiors and other aviation related sets for the film and television industry. The company also offers special classes for both pets and humans trying to get over the fear of flight.
Toth’s replica is now featured as part of the company’s Pan Am Experience service which whisks customers back to an era when air travel still represented the height of sophistication.
Some of Toth’s vintage Pan Am artifacts are even featured in this year’s season of the TV series Mad Men set in the late 1960s, L.A. Airspace reports.
Before going bankrupt back in 1991, Pan Am offered guests gourmet meals and executive lounges. And Toth’s recreation allows guests to take a step back in time. Twenty-five years ago, Toth began making nightly trips to a warehouse where various Pan Am memorabilia and artifacts were stored, hoping to one day rebuild his favorite aircraft.
Today his full-sized replica of a Pan Am Boeing 747 — complete with second floor — has cost him over $100,000 to build.
The project began small in his garage, and quickly grew so large his home could no longer contain it.
Toth’s re-creation of the Pan Am experience is meticulous right down to original vintage stewardess uniforms which cost a hefty $1000 each, and a replica of the original Pan Am Boeing 747 cockpit costing upwards of $6000 without transportation and installment.
Today, Toth’s Pan Am replica offers ‘flights’ at $150 or more a ticket and a nostalgic journey that has impressed even veteran flight attendants who used to work for the airline.
Although the plane never leaves the ground, it does offer the experience of a Pan Am flight. Guests are expected to dress the part, with jeans and sandals discouraged, to maintain the feeling of flying in the 70’s.
And for four hours guests are treated to drinks and gourmet meals served by hostesses dressed in vintage Pan Am apparel. Every effort has been made to re-create the feel of the era, with the only real difference between then and now being the strict no-smoking policy.
What began as a passion has evolved into a business filling a very unique niche. For those wishing to re-live it, Toth’s attention to detail makes the Pan Am Experience a magical journey back to the ‘golden’ years of flight.
Images: Air Hollywood Pan Am Experience