Pan Am Lives—in Man's Garage

Trips to Thailand net vintage headphones and the like for cabin mockup
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
Toth works for United, a decidedly less luxurious concern in the eyes of some.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – To Anthony Toth, Pan Am was the epitome of airline class, with its top-notch, martini-pouring first-class service and in-flight music so excellent that the United Airlines employee brought along a tape recorder to record it on trips as a boy. Now that he’s 42 and owns a home, he’s built a full-size mockup of a Pan Am 747 first-class cabin in his garage—complete with headphones in their original packaging, Pan Am china, and a red-carpeted staircase.

“The brand was so powerful,” Toth tells the Wall Street Journal. “They had this uncompromising standard of service.” He uses his flight perks from United to travel the world, searching for relics of those pre-1991 halcyon days. Sure, his version has one big deviation from the original—his vintage headphones pipe in sound from a flat-panel TV—but he’s never forgotten the formative experience. “I didn't want to sleep when I flew,” he says. "I wanted to spend every minute enjoying everything that was happening."