It Was Love At First Sight

The very first time I saw a 747 I was sitting at the end of a runway at Chicago’s OHare field. I was in a Convair 580.

The cockpit crew called me forward. The Captain told me a 747 was getting ready for takeoff. Did I want to watch? Yes!

He made the announcement to the passengers that this 747 was about to take to the skies- and if they wanted they could watch out the left side of the aircraft.

It Was Love At First Sight

We watched while this huge airplane lumbered down the runway.

From our vantage point it looked like it was taking forever to take off. I remember saying “Up! UP!!”

We watched as it appeared to lift off just short of the end of the runway. I’m sure they had plenty of runway left- it was just our vantage point.

The Captain turned to me and asked if I wanted to fly on that. At the time I joked that I wasn’t going to fly on something that was bigger than my home town. We both came from Iowa.

Fast forward to when we merged with NorthWest Airlines in 1987. Training on that airplane was such a fascination for me.

I know I spent a lot of time saying “WOW!”- sort of like the first time this Iowa girl went to New York and saw sky scrapers for the first time. Ha!

I Loved the 747. I had a special fondness for the 747-200.

When my seniority would allow, I loved working the upper deck, which was First Class on that Airplane. There was a lot of up and down trips on the stairs, but I didn’t mind.

It was like it’s own little world up there.

Later it was the 747-400 that I mostly worked. Many of the flights to Seoul, Korea were on that airplane.

Back in those days when NorthWest had fantastic First Class service with meals served in courses with linen table cloths and china, it was a joy to work.

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I find it interesting that my two favorite airplanes were one of the the smaller and one of the largest in the industry.

The 747-400 took me to far off places I only dreamed of. My love of that aircraft was cemented over the years.

Recently I saw a documentary about a retired pilot who purchased a 747 from the scrap yard- had it transported to a large piece of property, and turned into a residence.

I can see- in my imagination- where the kitchen, the lounge, the elegant bath and shower bathrooms, and the bedrooms would be.

Of course, I’ll need to win the lottery first!

And then I’d also purchase my other love- the Convair 580 and turn it into a guest house.

The chances of that happening are– well, slim to none.

But what fun that would be.

An old Stew’s dream…


This story submitted by Marcy Padrta “The Nun”  who has a 39-year career in the travel industry, and was posted on her blog.

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