11 Oct 2011

Pan American World Airways

Occasionally I will cover not only James Bond locations but also how Bond gets there. Numerous airlines have featured in the films and first out on the James Bond travel section, in honour of the new TV-series Pan Am, is suitably Pan American Airways, Bond's choice of airline in four films, including the first two.

Dr No
Flight 323 from New York to Jamaica
Bond's very first assignment in Dr. No, takes him to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of Mi6 operative Strangways. He travels there from New York on a Boeing 707-320 from Pan American. The tail number is not visible but the flight number mentioned is PA 323.

Pan Am was founded by Juan Terry Trippe in 1927 and is today famous for its exclusive luxury and charm. In this case famous means famous. During the 50's Pan Am was second, after Coca Cola, in name recognition.

The airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century and shaped the international airline industry and was well regarded for its modern fleet and experienced and professional crews.

Pan Am's onboard service and cuisine, inspired by Maxim's de Paris, were delivered "with a personal flair that has rarely been equaled."

Jamaica achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in August 1962 and was still a British colony when filming begun in January. So why Mi6 didn't use a British airline like BOAC for their agents traveling within the empire is unknown but in one of the novels Bond tells Monepenny to "schedule his flight with Pan Am as always" and it is likely that this had a significant impact on the producers. In the novel 'Dr No', Bond flies a Super Constellation.

From Russia with Love 
A year later, when Bond traveled to Istanbul, Pan Am was again Mi6's choice of airline. Moneypenny hands over Bond's air ticket in the office. The tail number on Bond's plane is N762PA and the flight number mentioned in the film is PA1, which was actually a real flight number used by Pan Am.  
Flight PA1 from London to Istanbul
The aircraft Bond is arriving on is a brand new Boeing 707-320B, delivered to Pan Am on the 4th of December 1962. It was given the name: Clipper Endeavour, and remained in active duty with Pan Am until 1976.  

In the novel Bond is flying to Istanbul with BEA, British European Airways, an airline that merged with BOAC to form British Airways in 1974.

Live and Let Die
In 1973 when traveling to New York, Bond flies Pan Am's brand new Boeing 747.

When Boeing launched the development programme of the 747 it was a unique innovation, that would never have seen daylight without Pan Am. The 747 was in fact a custom made aircraft developed to meet the demands of Pan Am. 
Notice also the 007 pattern on Solitare's tarot cards
The tail number is N747PA. It was the second 747 made and actually the very first jumbo jet ever delivered and used for commercial flights. The first 747 was never used for other purposes than flight-tests at the Boeing plant.

The aircraft was delivered to Pan Am on the third of October 1970 and was named Clipper Juan T. Trippe. It served as the Pan Am fleet flagship for many years, until the aircraft was sold to several new owners before marking the end of its career, as well as an era, serving as an on-ground restaurant in South Korea.

Bond is arriving at the Pan Am Worldport at JFK airport in New York, once the centre of the airline's New York operations. This terminal is still in use today, serving as the Delta Airlines terminal, named Delta Flight Center.

Licence to Kill

In 1989 Bond is on leave in Florida as the best man at Felix's wedding. The next morning he is about to fly to Istanbul on a mission. He arrives at the Key West International Airport on South Roosevelt Boulevard in Florida.
Bond is checking in First Class but runs away from his ticket and bags when he learns that Sanchez has escaped. Licence to Kill was the last time Pan Am featured in a Bond film and marks the end of an era, even though only the logo was seen. The airline ceased operations in December 1991.
An interesting note is that the woman at the check-in counter asks Bond if he wants smoking or non-smoking since smoking was still allowed on board in 1989. 

In the late 80’s Pan Am was an airline with financial troubles, although not unique nor unconquerable. That all changed overnight with the terror attack against Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Pan Am 103 was a daily flight between London and New York departing on the evening of December 21, 1988. Half an hour into the flight a bomb detonated and killing the 259 passengers and crew aboard the flight as well as eleven people on the ground. After the attack Pan Am lost many passengers and the airline eventually became unable to pay employee wages and soon had to sell what they had. Most of the airline was sold to Delta but some routes were sold to United Airlines and American Airlines.

Thanks to D. Kolm for valuble information. 

James Bond locations travel section will return


  1. Does anyone know the name of the beautiful blond Pan Am counter attendant in License to Kill? She has the most beautiful blond eyes and I was wondering if she grew in film fame or not.

  2. Yes, her name is Teresa Blake. Played in various films and TV-episodes throughout the 80's and 90's. You can find her profile on imdb.

  3. It seems that you have missed out Casino Royale (1967). It is one of the more obscure Bond movies. Most people don't seem to bother to even consider it one.

  4. Hi Arjun, I actually made another Pan Am post regarding Casino Royale (1967) too. You find it here: