Clipper Itinerary

The year is 1937 (Do you remember one of the opening scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Our hero boards a floating plane and heads off across the Pacific)

Let's pretend that you just inherited a whole lot of money from your favorite Aunt Marian and Uncle Indy and decide to take an 'across the pacific' trip on the luxurious Pan Am Clipper.

Your job is to try to get a flavor for what aviation AND society was like in the 1930's and at the beginning of the 1940's.

To do that, I'm asking you to create a FIRST PERSON (that would be YOU) day-by-day diary (journal or some other similar sort of thing) as if you were a passenger on a Pan Am Airways flying boat from San Francisco to the Philippines or a destination in China


1) Tell me the technical specifications for the plane you flew (including but not limited to the follow:

  • Name of the Plane
  • Manufacturer
  • Engine Specifications
  • Plane Specifications:
    • Altitude
    • Range
    • Speed
    • ?

2) FLYING EXPERIENCE: Relate in personal terms, the flying experience (including but not limited to)

  • The service on board
  • What it's like to fly on that plane (sights, sounds, sensations)
  • What it's like to fly for multiple 'long hops' (8 hrs? 10 hrs? 12 hrs?)
  • What it's like to stay over night in San Francisco, Hawaii, Midway, Wake Island and Manila (or Canton, Shanghai or "Peiping" (now Beijing)

3) COSTS - This is surprisingly important

  • Ticket Costs
  • Clothing? What did you wear (keep in mind we're talking massive luxury here)
  • In flight costs (if there were any)
  • Example costs to stay overnight
    • Hotels
    • Taxis
    • Meals

Please keep in mind you have WIDE LATITUDE to be creative! Put yourself in the place of a traveler back in those days.... try to shut out your own experiences flying in the modern world (That will be VERY difficult) and keep in mind the alternative was a weeks (or months) long ocean voyage.





PAN AM Flying Boat Page

"The First Transpacific Flight" Smithsonian

PAN AM Historical Foundation

The Flying Clippers

Aviation History Online Museum



Manila Nostalgia

Honolulu in the 1930's

Midway and Wake Island in the 1930's (video)

San Francisco in the 1930's (video)

"Old Shanghai" in the 1930's (video)

1936 Hollywood Movie (with Humph Bogart!) "China Clipper" Video Clip



Cost of Living Calculator

Sears Roebuck Catalog

People History - A great source for pop culture, costs and other interesting tid bits

Cost Comparisons: 1939 vs 2017 (courtesy of Mr W's research)