Lounge Act

By Michael Pelchat

September 2016

As a young U.S. Army Private E-2, having graduated Air Traffic Control school at Keesler AFB, I was given orders to report to Vietnam via Oakland Army Terminal. I had just completed my 30 days of leave and I was driven to JFK Airport in NYC.

Having orders for air travel, making my way to the gate and waiting to board, I had no idea what type aircraft I was going to fly on. It was October 1968 and I was about to experience a flight that relatively few passengers would ever experience. Today I know that these early flights were a unique opportunity that were soon discontinued, as the airline needed to move more passengers and generate more revenue.

Much to my amazement and enjoyment, I boarded a TWA 747. Although most of the details escape me now, the one thing that I do remember was sitting in the lounge, enjoying a beverage and listening to tunes that were being played on a piano while traveling on a westbound jet route. The flight arrived in San Francisco much too soon. However, I remember how wonderful that experience was, and I certainly will never forget it.

What I would really love to do at some point in time would be to visit our Dreamliner plant in North Charleston. It's one of my favorite aircraft, and I light up like a 6-year-old when one of them flies overhead.