Pan American World Airways wasn’t merely a successful airline, it was THE aviation company that helped create what Time publisher Henry Luce called, “The American Century”. The life of this company encompasses not just the story of twentieth century commercial aviation, but America’s rise to world dominance.
Great as it was, Pan Am fell prey to unfair international tariffs, government interference, internal corporate blunders, and a 1988 terrorist bombing. The airline filed for bankruptcy in 1991. Today, we think of Pan Am’s trademark blue globe as a bold American symbol of traveling in style—the way we remember the legendary trans-Atlantic ocean liners, or the fabled railcars of the Orient Express.
We take a look at some of Pan Am’s most memorable moments. (Photos provided by- Pan Am: An Aviation Legend by Barnaby Conrad)