CHARTERS WE HAVE KNOWN


Braniff flew some terrific charters in its day. There were always those charters carrying teams for football and baseball games. We were designated as the official Cowboys and Saints carrier. Occasionally a political candidate would require our services - sometimes they were high level aspirants like General Eisenhower, Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. Some charters were glamorous like the time we flew a DC-6 load of Hollywood stars to Sao Paulo for the International Film festival. There were those outstanding ones like the Gibson Charter, the Atlantic Mac, the unforgettable Pacific Mac and that blockbusting world attention-getter, the Perot Charter to Hanoi.

The Gibson charter was exceptional in that it flew for 39 consecutive days from 28 cities to Montego Bay and it carried over 5,000 passengers and was known as the largest commercial airlift in aviation history. That was something to be proud of back in 1961. The Atlantic Mac went into several hostile environments way up north to Greenland and Iceland. Many times it would have to divert to Prestwick, Scotland as an alternate. The yellow 727 landing at the white winter bases brought a bright hope for those about to be rotated States side.

The greatest of all was the Pac Mac to the South Pacific and Asia. This operation ran better than any other in Braniffs history; because it was so far away from supervisory meddling that the rank and file performed unencumbered and with an esprit that never will be duplicated. Do you remember Ocean Station November, the Coast Guard cutter stationed in the Pacific between the West coast and HNL? They were there to provide a radar fix for flights as a cross check and update for the early Doppler and Loran navigation. Those sailors were on board for six weeks at a time and they would hold pools to bet on the color of the Braniff airplane as a form of diversion. Often we would reply by having a flight attendant radio the answer to the ship. This always brought requests for telephone numbers for when they got shore leave. Many times they would gather a group together in the radio room and sing the 'Braniff Song', a parody of Yellow Bird the popular West Indies ballad. Charters provided a change from the more structured line flying schedules and the bidding for them was many times quite intense. I'm sure all this has brought to mind some charters you flew and might have forgotten.

PAC-MAC had its share of stories, but do you think a BI flight attendant would give her Supervisor an X-ray of her pets' broken bones and pass it off as her X-rays to verify missing a trip??…surely not, but said to be a true story!

REMEMBERING PACMAC (Contributed by Barbi Allen Conn and Paula T. Metcalf)

Getting fingerprinted and photographed for our Military ID's…
Trying to find apartments in the huge Bay Area …
Learning what "First In, First Out" really meant…
Learning to drive in San Francisco… Discovering the beautiful Hawaiian Islands..
Trying to master the MOUNDS of government and military paper work and documents..
Learning Mai Tais have more than just fruit juice…
Lining up for our weekly shots of typhoid, tetanus, yellow fever, plague…
Getting passports in order…
Packing up and moving…
The moving caravans from Dallas to San Francisco…
Our Chief Pilot in charge, Wee Willie Walner…
25 cent drinks at Happy Hour in Clark AFB…
Brushing our teeth with San Miguel beer, DON'T drink the water in the Philippines…
2:00 AM crew calls….
Our tears of sadness deplaning the troops in Viet Nam….
Our tears of joy bringing the guys home…
The anxiety of seeing ground fire in Saigon…
Our fighter escorts in and out of Viet Nam…
The smell of the open sewers in Kadena…
Showering with the lizards at the Playadel Motel…
The great "cheap" shopping…
The gracious service at the Tokyo Hilton…
Delivering milk to the hospitals and visiting the wounded…
Serving 2 hot meals and a snack on one leg!!…
Wondering if the terminal building would be there the next day in Saigon….
The incredible barrenness at Ben Hoa….
Crossing the International Date Line 3 times a week or more…
Going from Honolulu to Guam to Clark and only being able to eat breakfast…
Landing at Clark at 10:00 AM and trying to stay awake until dark to adjust body clocks…
Trying to convince Bob Diffee the song was "Tiny Bubbles" and not "Tie Me Double"…
Taking 3 hours to get from the plane through customs on our first trip to Tokyo, due to the hundreds of photographers…
Having celebrities like James Garner ride from Travis to Nam with us…
Those crazy taxi rides through Tokyo…
The "educational" night life in Angeles City…
Having to get flu shots before we could deplane in Korea…
Those incredible 10 hour legs…
The GI's in our Puccinos serving meals…
The heartbreaking, heartwarming stories the guys told…
Watching our navigators take star fixes…
Watching the sun set for hours heading West, and the sun rise and set in minutes heading East…
Realizing seniority meant nothing "on the wheel"…
Understanding the true meaning of "jet lag"…
The stupid tricks we played on our cockpit crews….
The friendships and marriages that were made…
Reba's messages informing us how and how not venereal diseases were transmitted…
Convincing Junior Cox the cocktail Blue Hawaii did not contain Windex…
The wonderful pies for the flight crews from catering in Honolulu….
Napping in the coat closets (who did that)…
Discovering the coed restrooms in Tokyo…
Trying to remember that "yen" is money…
Spending $15 for a shampoo, set, manicure, pedicure, facial and massage and tip at Clark….
Delivering Egg Nog to the hospitals on Christmas Eve…
The tidal wave parties at the Reef Tower…
Being re-routed for 10 days and having only 3 days worth of clothes…
Ed Duncan's motorcycle in Honolulu….
Sewing Hardy's sleeves, button holes and pockets closed with his passport in his pocket…
Gene Standley's white gloves…
Those 4-5 hour mechanicals with no APU's and not being able to leave the plane with temperatures hovering around 110 degrees…
Those delicious Air Force Pilots in those pumpkin suits….
The Rathskellar at Clark AFB….
Our navigators who always got us in trouble…
Picnics in Hawaii and fishing in Okinawa…
REMEMBERING PAC-MAC (Contributed by Reba J. Bradbury, Base Manager 1966 - 1972)

SUU Base (Travis) was an "isolated island" of Braniff personnel!! ("Isolated" because at that time the farthest west BI flew was DEN). The office was located just outside of Travis AFB gate at Fairfield, CA which is 35-40 miles east of SFO.

May 1966 - The formation of Travis Flight Attendant base began in earnest. Months prior to that Braniff had begun the negotiations on an international contract and had researched various airlines military operations.

June 1966 - The SUU base opened with about 60 Flight Attendants and two B707 planes. The next 4-6 years these figures mushroomed to 175 Flight Attendants and 8 to 10 planes.

It was a CHALLENGE, (to say the least), for everyone…exciting, exhilarating, frustrating…charting an airline course into the "unknown". A military department at Braniff had been created under the watchful eye of Col. Claude Duke.

SUU (Travis) Base - Manager of Operations was Dick Knight; Chief Pilot was Bill Walner; Flight Attendant Manager was Reba Jay (Bradbury). All three departments shared ONE big room just outside Travis AFB. From the FIRST day it was "one big family-oriented" operation…cooperative, friendly, everyone helping each other to make it a success! As time went by, the pilots and flight attendants got their own offices next door to the original building.

Everything was new and different. (We were cut off from our peers in Dallas and strictly on our own). Report time was 2:00-2:30 hours before departure. Limousine service was provided to and from the office to the plane on base. Trips were from 2-12 days..average was 5-6 days. Flights operated into HNL, Guam, Philippines, Vietnam, Okinawa, Japan and Bangkok. Passengers were combat troops, support personnel and dependents. Literally 24 hour operations with departure times and trips given to us by the Military; we routed the crews accordingly. Meals served at "specific" intervals according to the Military. Because of "close" working conditions and long hours and trips, the crews had to be compatible. Scheduling was first-in/first-out..known as the "wheel" concept. Seniority didn't count on PAC-MAC.

During peak operation there were three flight attendant supervisors:
Mary Caldwell Nancy Egan Selna
Cathy Nolan Antes Quida Godwin - secretary

Operations started winding down in 1972. It was a unique operation because we were dealing directly with the Military and as long as the Military was happy, Braniff was happy! ! !
IT WAS THE HIGH POINT AND MOST GRATIFYING EXPERIENCE OF MY BRANIFF CAREER!
REMEMBERING PAC-MAC (contributed by Pat Birch Hardaway)

The fun of dressing up and decorating the place for different holidays -
Squirt gun fights -

Sitting in the galley playing cards with as many people as would fit in the galley -

Singing songs -

Everyone clapping, shouting and crying when we landed back in the U.S. -

Being called "round eye" and hearing the phrase "What's new back in the world"? -

Having the GI's appreciate everything including a clean glass of water -

1968
We began ATL-MAC in March flying out of McQuire AFB to Gander and Goose Bay,
Newfoundland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Sonderstrom and Thule, Greenland; Prestwick, Scotland;
Loges, Azores; Puerto Rico and Howard Field in the Canal Zone. Our magnificent lynx and
fox coats kept us warm way up north. Betty Atchison was in charge of this operation
and did a smashing job. She could always get you a good deal on a case of wine in the
Azores - no problem to bring back - just have it loaded on the airplane and when you arrive
in Dallas it would be waiting for you. Sometime it didn't work exactly like that!! The "Yellow
Bird" tri-motor was eagerly awaited by those troops and families returning to the States...
especially those in the Northern climates.