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Airlines: Jazz for the Jumbo Jets

2 minute read

With in-flight movies, martini lunches, champagne dinners and hostesses waking people up to offer eyeshades that might help them sleep more soundly, some passengers feel long-distance air travel is already sybaritic enough. The airlines, however, disagree; already they are turning their minds toward tomorrow’s jumbo jets. And in their visions there are many-splendored pleasure domes that even an oil sheik could envy. “Imagine an airliner with a penthouse—with staterooms or offices,” glowed two-page American Airlines ads showing interior sketches for its Boeing 747 models last week. “There will be a spiral staircase to the upper deck, room for a special theater section, and even a drawing room that can accommodate sofas and club chairs.”

While American was ahead with the ads, most of the ten airlines that have ordered a total of 81 of the whalelike Boeings (at $20 million each) have expansive notions about how to compart them. Pan American is pondering whether to put a piano bar aboard. TWA is contemplating a cocktail lounge and a nursery for children. To make room for such amenities, the airlines will sacrifice payload. Though designed with a 490-seat capacity, the 747s due for delivery starting in 1969 will actually carry from 340 to 390 passengers.

Still, Boeing has suggested that the 747 is large enough for “a nightclub complete with stage and live entertainment” and “even a fireplace—but no outside chimney.” So far, none of its customers have picked up these ideas.

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