|Ladies Restroom and Lounge, Pan Am|
Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
Opened: First flight on July 8, 1947
Closed: Retired 1963
From the Virtual Pan Am Museum. Yes, in the days before deregulation, cost-cutting, CEO packages in the mega-millions, and security theater, air travel was different.
The Stratocruiser's basic mechanical design was derived from a World War II troop transport plane, but the end product was far more upscale. This plane had a double-decker physical layout, with the passenger seating on the top level, and a bar and lounge (or lounges in this case) on the bottom level. Only 56 of these planes were built for the commercial airline industry.
The spaciousness of the ladies restroom and lounge is perhaps the most shocking first impression for the contemporary air traveler. The second is that there was any space on board just for women at all. This is almost unheard of these days, though in the last year or so, several Asian carriers, including Korean Air and All Nippon, have introduced women-only toilets on some services.