Pan Am Flight Bags
Below are six flight bags. The top two with the “PAN AM” letters extending beyond the boundaries of the globe would have been produced approximately from 1957 to 1962.
In the middle row are two flight bags from the 1960s. On the left the White House Press bag was given to members of the press corps that traveled on the Pan Am charter that accompanied the President on all trips. From 1943 when Pan Am carried Franklin Roosevelt until 1991 when the company closed Pan Am had an exclusive contract to provide press charters to the White House. To the right is a “Cabin Service” bag. A bag like this would be placed on all flights by the commissary department. The bag contained various customer amenities including but not limited to; stationary, playing cards, aspirin, diapers, kiddie wings and other diversions for children.
On the bottom left of the picture are bicycle saddle bags (given out as a promotional item) and on the right a bag from the 1980s. The “Pan Am’s World” marking represents the name of Pan Am’s inclusive in-house tour program.
The top two bags below were issued by Pan Am from approximately 1970 to 1972. They are of a rectangle shape. In the center position are flight bags issued from approximately 1963 to 1970. This style of flight bag was featured in the recent movie “Catch Me If You Can.” The white lady’s bag on the left has a shoulder strap while the man’s blue bag on the right has hand straps. On the bottom are two versions of Pan Am’s World bags in use from approximately 1975 to 1980.
In the picture below the top two and center left bags show the “Pan Am” letters touching. These bags were issued from approximately 1975 to 1980. The bottom two and the center right bags that show the Pan Am letters not touching were issued by the company from approximately 1972-1975.
All six bags shown below are from the 1980s. As carry on baggage became more popular the Pan Am flight bags got bigger. The top middle bag was one of the last to carry the “Pan Am’s World” branding as the tour product was renamed “Pan Am Holidays” in the mind 1980s (which can be seen on both the top and bottom bags on the right). Unique to the “Pan Am’s World” bag is the marking “People’s Republic of China” on the bottom. Pan Am was the first US airline to begin service to mainland China in 1980 and the company extensively promoted the route.
The picture below has several unique Pan Am bags. In the left column the top bag from the 1960s has an open top and was most likely issued as a promotional piece rather than a flight bag. The left, bottom bag showing the early 1970s style of lettering may not have been issued by the company. In the center column the top bag is quite unique. It is a small plastic briefcase and was issued by the company as a “give away” to some of the first jet passengers in l958 through 1959. The center bottom navy blue cloth bag as well as the similar bag in the right column center position are from the 1980s and were produced internally for employees only. In the right column the white bags on top and bottom were from the 1960s and were designed for mechanics to carry their tools.
The Virtual Pan Am Museum