28 episodes

Experience the legacy of the world’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways. Brought to you by the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York, the award-winning The Pan Am Podcast brings Pan Am’s 64-year history to life through engaging storytelling and insightful interviews from Pan Am employees, passengers, historians, authors, fashionistas, and aviation enthusiasts! A 2022 Muse Creative Award Silver Winner, 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Podcast), and 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Best Host). This award-winning program is sponsored by the generous personal support of Mr. Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and we would appreciate your consideration of tax-deductible donations.

The Pan Am Podcast Pan Am Museum Foundation

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 78 Ratings

Experience the legacy of the world’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways. Brought to you by the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York, the award-winning The Pan Am Podcast brings Pan Am’s 64-year history to life through engaging storytelling and insightful interviews from Pan Am employees, passengers, historians, authors, fashionistas, and aviation enthusiasts! A 2022 Muse Creative Award Silver Winner, 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Podcast), and 2022 Vega Digital Award Arcturus Winner (Best Host). This award-winning program is sponsored by the generous personal support of Mr. Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and we would appreciate your consideration of tax-deductible donations.

    Episode 27: Flight 73 Hostage Negotiations and Hijacking Aftermath

    Episode 27: Flight 73 Hostage Negotiations and Hijacking Aftermath

    This episode is a continuation of Episode 26 about the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73. On September 5th 1986, at around 5:10am local time in Karachi, Pakistan, a Boeing 747 named Clipper Empress of the Seas was hijacked by four armed Palestinian commandos on the ground during the boarding process with almost 400 people on the aircraft. 
    In this episode we will presenting interviews with three former Pan Am employees who were part of the aftermath: Viraf Daroga, Pan Am's Country Director for Pakistan;  Wendy Sue Knecht, Pan Am Flight Attendant and Trainer; and Diane Krumholtz Lyras of the White Plains Pan Am sales office and part of the crisis response team. 

    We are presenting these two episodes about Flight 73 back-to-back to give listeners a complete and objective look at what happen during this historic event, and the immediate aftermath, through primary sources and first-hand accounts. 

    Viraf Daroga will share his perspective on the hostage negotiations and his desperate attempts to save as many lives as he could. The nightmare of Flight 73 did not end on that tragic day in September of 1986, as the terrorist group responsible continued to threaten the lives of him and his family for many years afterward. 
    Wendy Sue Knecht who was stationed in Bombay in 1986 tasked with training new flight attendants hired in India. She is the author of the book "Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir" and is featured in Episode 9 of this program. 
    Diane Krumholtz Lyras, an employee from the White Plains sales office, who was immediately sent to Karachi as part of the airline’s crisis response team to assist staff and families in the aftermath of the senseless violence. 
     A total of 20 people, ranging in ages from 7 years old to 81, included two Pan Am crew members and 18 passengers, were ultimately killed in this act of terrorism.
    22 year old Pan Am Senior Purser Neerja Bhanot died as a result of her injuries and was posthumously  awarded India’s highest civilian peacetime honor for bravery, the Ashoka Chakra, and became a revered national figure in India. 
     28 year old Pan Am Mechanic Meherjee Minocher Kharas was also killed by the terrorists when they opened fire inside the plane. 

    Both served their passengers with great honor, bravery, and valor. 

    • 1 hr 49 min
    Episode 26: Flight 73 Hijacking Remembrance

    Episode 26: Flight 73 Hijacking Remembrance

    On September 5, 1986 at around 5:10am local time in Karachi, Pakistan, a Pan Am Boeing 747 named Clipper Empress of the Seas was hijacked by four armed Palestinian commandos on the ground during the boarding process with almost 400 people on the aircraft. 

    A total of 20 people, including two Pan Am crew members and 18 passengers, were ultimately killed in this act of terrorism.
    We dedicate this episode to all the 20 victims of this tragedy.  They are remembered. 

    Pan Am Employees:
    Neerja Bhanot, 22, Pan Am Flight Attendant and Purser
    Meherjee Minocher Kharas, 28, Pan Am Mechanic 

    Both served their passengers with great honor, bravery, and valor. 

    From the United States:
    Rajesh Kumar, 29, and Surendra Manubhai Patel, 50. 

    From Mexico:
    José Álvarez Lamar Nuñez, 57, and Ricardo Muñoz Rosales, 28. 

    From Pakistan: 
    Syed Nesar Ahmad, 43, and Imran Rizvi, 17.

    From India:
    Kuverben Patel, 81, Kala Singh, 36, Seetharamiah Krishnaswamy, 61, Trupti Dalal, 28, Krishna Kumari Gadde, 28,  Ganapathi Thanikaimoni, 48, Boby Thomachen Mulloor, 7, Thomachen Thomas Mulloor, 30, Aleyamma Scaria Nagatholy, 39, Ramakant Naik, 55, Rupal Desai, 26, and Kodiyattu K. Kurian, 25.

    To the family and friends of the victims...our sincerest condolences. 

    For this special memorial edition of this program, we are joined by four Pan Am flight attendants that were on Flight 73 and were eyewitnesses to history: 

    Sherene Pavan, Sunshine Vesuwala, Madhvi Bahuguna, and Samira Goode. 

    These incredible women served their passengers with great courage and bravery and saved hundreds of lives. We salute them. 

    • 2 hr 37 min
    Episode 25: An Airline Romance, Marriage in the Middle East During a Coup, and Neighbors with a Pan Am Connection

    Episode 25: An Airline Romance, Marriage in the Middle East During a Coup, and Neighbors with a Pan Am Connection

    In this episode we are joined by Barbara Morris Wood and Karen Wallin Usas. 
    Barbara will be celebrating her 100th birthday on September 13, 2022! A very special early happy birthday greeting from all of us here at the Pan Am Museum! 
    Barbara worked for Pan Am for five years between 1944 and 1949. Her time at Pan Am, while short, was nothing short of exceptional as she pioneered a path for women to move up the ranks of the airline. She became the first woman to work the ticket counter and Barbara’s can-do spirit never waned. 
    After recognizing other inequalities, she acted on them, bringing benefits to the airline industry many still enjoy today. If you ever worked for an airline and enjoyed flight benefits, you have Barbara to thank! While at Pan Am, Barbara thought it was unfair that only company executives and flight crews had travel benefits with the airline. She wrote a convincing letter to management and advocated that all Pan Am employees regardless of position, including ticket counter, catering, and maintenance employees, should have all the same rights and flying benefits as everyone else. 
    The airline quickly agreed and expanded company travel benefits to all employees. This also set the employee flight benefit expectation in the aviation industry and other airlines followed Pan Am’s lead.
    During the end of World War II, Barbara was tasked with interviewing men returning from the war for jobs within the airline. In this capacity, Barbara would meet and hire her future husband, Ernie Wood, – remarking that he was not like the rest of the interviewees – and even called him weird. Nonetheless, the spark of romance and adventure was in the air and the two started dating a little bit afterward. 
    At their wedding in Damascus, Syria, Barbara and Ernie would be surrounded by Pan Am employees in a faraway land, truly a reflection on the rest of their lives. As a young woman starting out with Pan Am, never having left New England before, the company was the catalyst that would change her life forever. With Pan Am she met life-long friends, and her husband who went on to work for the company for 31 years after Barbara hired him. 
    Karen Wallin Usas joined Pan Am as a flight attendant in 1970. She originally went to school to be a teacher, but a chance encounter with a flight attendant at a wedding intrigued her to apply to Pan Am and change direction in her career plans. 
    Karen grew up in LaGrange, Illinois, a Chicago suburb and  graduated from University of Illinois, Urbana in 1969 with a degree in Education. As a young airline employee, the world was within her reach and Karen was able to travel to many exotic places that before she could only read and dream about. 
    For ten years between 1970 and 1980, Karen always felt comfortable in foreign lands with Pan Am and the excitement of adventure from those times has never waned. And when she looks back on the fond memories of her flying days…traveling the world with co-workers and her husband…it always brings a big smile and a deep sense of pride.
    After Pan Am, she taught in many capacities and currently serves as a docent at the Rhode Island School of Design.
    Barbara and Karen both live in Rhode Island and are neighbors and have become close friends. 
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    A very special thanks to Mr. Adam Aron, Chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., and  Pan Am Brands for their continued and unwavering support! 

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Episode 24: Catch Me If You Can…An Interview with Frank Abagnale

    Episode 24: Catch Me If You Can…An Interview with Frank Abagnale

    In this episode we are joined by Frank W. Abagnale, Jr. to talk about his interesting background. He will also provide tips on protecting your identity and wallet and how to avoid scams. 

    The 2002 academy award-nominated film by Steven Spielberg, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks was loosely based on Frank’s life. 
    This blockbuster film introduced a whole new generation to the wonder, glamour, and nostalgia of Pan American World Airways. 

    Frank W. Abagnale, Jr. is an authority on forgery, embezzlement, secure documents, cybercrime, and scams. For over 45 years he has worked with, advised, and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations, and government agencies around the world.
    Mr. Abagnale lectures extensively at the FBI Academy and for the field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is a former faculty member at the National Advocacy Center (NAC) which is operated by the Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Attorneys. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. 
    He has also written numerous articles and books including The Art of the Steal, The Real U Guide to Identity Theft, Stealing Your Life and his most recent book, Scam Me If You Can – Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists.
    Mr. Abagnale refuses to accept payment for any of his government work. 
    Today, the majority of his income is derived from consulting with major corporate clients such as LexisNexis, Intuit, and Experian and his public speaking engagements. Mr. Abagnale has conducted over 3,000 seminars on identity theft, cybercrime, and fraud worldwide. 
     Today, Mr. Abagnale is an advisor to Trusona in developing the world's first and only insured authentication platform eliminating the use of passwords.
    The Pan Am Museum Foundation was  honored to have him as the keynote speaker at the Pan Am Museum’s 2018 annual fundraising gala. 
    For more information on how you can protect yourself from scams and con artists, please visit his website, www.abagnale.com
    Visit Us for more Pan Am History! Support the Podcast!Donate to the Museum!Visit The Hangar online store for Pan Am gear!Become a Member! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
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    Pan Am was a pioneer in air travel, and still stands as one of the most iconic and innovative airlines in aviation history. That legacy lives on at the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York, where you can explore the rich history of the aircrafts and individuals at the heart of the company known as, The World’s Most Experienced Airline.

    The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All proceeds from purchases and donations go to supporting the museum's mission.
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    A very special thanks to Mr. Adam Aron, Chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., and  Pan Am Brands for their continued and unwavering support! 

    • 59 min
    Episode 23: The Stratocruiser, Tragedy Over the Amazon, and a Concert in the Sky

    Episode 23: The Stratocruiser, Tragedy Over the Amazon, and a Concert in the Sky

    In this episode Barbara Sharfstein, 92, a veteran Pan Am flight attendant, joins us to talk about her flying career, tragedy over the Amazon, and a concert in the sky with Louis Armstrong. 
    Barbara joined Pan Am in 1951 and after 35 years of service with the airline as a flight attendant, purser, check purser, and 747 in-flight director, she was transferred to United Airlines in 1986 when the Pacific Division was sold.  She then worked for United for another six years before retiring in 1992. 
    When first hired, Barbara traveled onboard several groundbreaking and innovative aircraft—the Convair CV-240, the Lockheed Constellation, the DC-4, and most memorably, the Boeing 377 “Stratocruiser.” Barbara flew to numerous international destinations and was based in many of Pan Am’s divisions throughout out her career, but she most fondly remembers working the fabled Round the World flights…Clipper 001 and 002.

    Barbara will discuss  Pan Am Flight 202, a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser named Clipper New Hope, that crashed in the Amazon Basin on April 29, 1952 killing her good friend and roommate, Pat Monaghan. All 50 people on board were killed, 41 passengers and 9 crew members, in what was the deadliest-ever accident involving the Boeing 377 Stratocrusier.
    The accident happened shortly after departure from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, enroute to the first schedule stop in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The final destination of this flight was New York. 
    The investigation took place under exceptionally difficult conditions in the jungle, and the exact cause of the crash was never established. However, it was theorized based on an examination of the wreckage that the number two engine had separated in flight after propeller blade failure and debris likely penetrated the fuselage causing a catastrophic in-flight breakup.

    Barbara's story is featured in the book tilted “Pan American World Airways: Aviation History Through the Words of Its People” by James Patrick Baldwin, Jeff Kriendler, and Leslie Giles. 
    During her aviation career flying around the world working for the airlines, Barbara also found great success in San Francisco real estate when she was not on duty in the air. Her crowning achievement was the development of a one-acre parcel of land in the Twin Peaks neighborhood of San Francisco into a subdivision of twenty condos. Many say it has one of the best views of the city! 
    Today, Barbara volunteers at the San Francisco International Airport Aviation Museum. As a volunteer, she enjoys sharing her stories and lending her time ever since the international terminal was rebuilt in 2000. 
    Additionally, she served as the editor of the World Wings International San Francisco Chapter newsletter, having excelled in that position for the past twenty-five years.
    Barbara  resides in San Francisco.

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    Visit Us for more Pan Am History! Support the Podcast!Donate to the Museum!Visit The Hangar online store for Pan Am gear!Become a Member! Follow us on Facebook, 

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Episode 22: Max Gurney - WWII Hero, Airline Legend, and Renaissance Gentleman

    Episode 22: Max Gurney - WWII Hero, Airline Legend, and Renaissance Gentleman

    In this special episode we are joined by Max Gurney, who will celebrate his 101st birthday on June 10, 2022! The Pan Am Museum and the entire worldwide Pan Am community wish him the happiest of birthdays! 
    Max is a 45-year veteran of Pan Am and a living legend within the airline community. He is also the godfather to His Serine Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco. 
    Max was kind enough to invite host Tom Betti into his home for a chat.
    He tells us about his childhood, serving in the U.S. Army under General Patton during World War II, and then beginning his storied career at Pan Am after the war. 

    Max Gurney joined Pan American Airways in 1946 as a ticket counter agent at the Marine Terminal at La Guardia Airport, located in Flushing, New York. 
    Because of his ability to speak four languages, he was quickly promoted to Sales Manager in Dakar, Senegal with jurisdiction over five countries in West Africa.
    In 1949, Max opened the Pan Am office in Milan, and was reassigned shortly after in 1950 to Beirut as Sales Manager on loan to Middle East Airlines (MEA), as part of a management contract with Pan Am. He was responsible for airline operations in six Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia.
    In 1951, he was appointed Assistant District Sales Manager in Rome, Italy covering six countries, and then transitioned in 1957 to Senior Representative and District Sales Manager for Southern France based in Nice where he formed a very close personal friendship with Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and his wife, Princess Grace, the former American actress Grace Kelly. 
    Their friendship grew so close that when their son Prince Albert was born, the Prince and Princess asked Max to be the child’s godfather.
    In 1972, Max was transferred to Nassau as Managing Director for the Bahamas, including the Freeport and Rock Sound stations, until the Bahamas offices were closed in 1976. 
    He subsequently became District Traffic and Sales Manager in Oslo, Norway until 1980, and then once again returned to Monaco as Pan Am Sales Manager. This was because of his close personal friendship with Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
    He held this position until the closure of Pan Am in 1991 and assisted with the transition to Pan Am’s successor in the market.
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    Visit Us for more Pan Am History! Support the Podcast!Donate to the Museum!Visit The Hangar online store for Pan Am gear!Become a Member! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!

    The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. 
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    A very special thanks to Mr. Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., and  Pan Am Brands for their continued and unwavering support! 

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

RichGoon1980 ,

My favorite

Absolutely love this podcast! Interviews with real former pilots is the best part.

AA User1 ,

Thrilling and Inspiring

I have listened to all of the Pan Am podcast, with great appreciation and amazement. However, Episode Six raises the bar to an even higher and extraordinary level. Captain Paul Lachapelle’s account of Flight 93 is both riveting and inspiring, while adding a lite dose of unique (yet typical) pilot personality and humor. As a current cabin crew member for a major/international airline, I cannot even imagine how each crew member even began to truly processed such a complex and constantly evolving event. The Flight Director’s frank response to the hijacker after learning of the ultimate goal to blow up the aircraft (while humorous today) is most likely the same words that would have come from my mouth if faced with a similar catastrophe! Bravo Pan Am Museum for keeping alive the legacy of a once great American institution which pioneered today’s commercial avaition. Cheers to Episode Six and the many more historic adventures yet to be shared about the great people behind a once world class airline called Pan American.

Pan Am Fan! ,

Love, love, love it!!

Thank you, Tom! The history of Pan Am is fascinating.

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