What Luxury -- a Flying Living Room!

By John Kostelnik

August 2016

My father worked for American Airlines in Cleveland when the first AA 747s went into service. We flew out to LaGuardia in New York to board one of the first cross-country flights. I was taken out of grade school for the family event of a lifetime.

We were seated near the rear in a center section, and from the time of takeoff we were wowed by the luxury of the flying living room. A five-course meal served on real china with real silverware. We flew into the sunset and enjoyed a large-screen movie, followed by an exploratory tour of the cabin and upstairs piano bar. I was amazed at the quality sound of the piano and the talent of the pianist. I also loved the spiral staircase. It was an amazing flight.

As an official airline brat, I was raised in and on the Boeing 707 and 727, but when I hired on with Allegheny Airlines, I had the honor of both working and flying on the 727 and 737 family of aircraft. Again, as an adult, I was amazed by the 747s as I flew out of London Heathrow during their 1981 air traffic controller strike. After an eight-hour ground delay, the military tower control allowed us to take off at a maximum ascent ... SPIRAL up several thousand feet before leaving the airspace directly ABOVE London Heathrow. We were a full boat but climbed up like an empty ferry and even made up time to Toronto on the jump over the pond. What an amazing aircraft!