History in the Making: United Airlines Final Boeing 747 Flight Takes Off

San Francisco-Honolulu Flight Recreates the Airline’s Original Jumbo Jet Service

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United's executive chef, Gerry Gulli, overseeing the Royal Hawaiian in-flight dining experience

United’s executive chef, Gerry Gulli, overseeing the Royal Hawaiian in-flight dining experience

Once underway, in addition to the traditional Mai Tai, United offered something of its own making, Menehune Juice, a rum-based drink “with a blend of tropical flavors” created by Trader Vic’s, according to a contemporary menu. The menu, or papa’iana, started with pupu or appetizers including Oriental Skewered Beef, Barbecued Ribs, Sesame Chicken (termed “delicious” by the person whose menu we came across), and a Kalua Pork Crepe that earned the description of “wonderful.” After a Waikiki Salad with Trader Vic’s basil dressing, entrée options included Roast Strip Sirloin of Beef, au jus. “This favorite will be carved at your seat,” the menu promised.

“First Class was something very special then,” related one frequent traveler who uses the screen name PAClipper on the Flyertalk travel forum who flew the route multiple times a year as a child and enjoyed the roasts carved by the flight attendants.

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The author, prior to take-off

“The first class lounge upstairs was always fun to retreat to and you would find people playing cards or chatting away,” he added.

United Airlines’ relationship with the Aloha State began years earlier, however. The carrier started service to Honolulu 70 years ago in May 1947 and offered a Hawaiian Lounge on its Boeing StratoCruiser aircraft used at the time of launch.

“The enchantment of Hawaii has intrigued travelers for many years,” the airline said on one early menu. “The islands have a magic all their own.”

Click here to continue to Page 3How the 747 Came About

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