Pan Am stewardess relives glory days through ABC show

She spent two decades flying as a stewardess for Pan Am, but Cheryl McDonald feels like she's reliving all of it when she watches ABC's new series.

"It was quite glamorous and very much like what I see on the show. In fact, I'm amazed at the level of authenticity," McDonald tells Action News.

In 1968 when she was barely 21-years old, McDonald graduated from International Stewardess College and was ready to take off with Pan Am. She wore a pill box hat and blue-grey uniform that was similar to those seen on ABC's Pan Am. And don't call her a flight attendant. "Oh, I prefer stewardess, that's what we were called," said McDonald.

McDonald's travels even brought her closer to the stars, like John Lennon. "I couldn't resist reaching down and pulling up a fluffy blue Pan Am blanket, and tucking it around his neck and saying ‘Goodnight,'" remembers McDonald. "And as I was walking away after turning the light off, he said ‘Good night and thanks, love.'"

Her twenty years in the air also included some scary moments. The flight she was on once made headlines when it had to make an emergency landing in Nicaragua after the landing equipment got stuck.

Since she left Pan Am in the 1980's, McDonald has held a few different positions at various companies. She is currently working at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Detroit, but plans to retire in the near future. But you probably won't catch her on a plane any time soon. "I miss the flying as it was then,"

McDonald said. "But I have to admit that when I have to fly now, and I say have to because I really try to avoid it, I don't enjoy it so much anymore because I know how it used to be."

You can catch ABC's Pan Am television series Sunday nights at 10pm on Channel 7.

Print this article Back to Top