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Archive for March, 2006

Boat plane across the Atlantic

March 29th, 2006

Recently I was sitting at a snowbound Laguadia Airport in New York waiting for the runways to re-open. I had done my little planes, trains and automobiles routing having had the flight canceled, booked on the Acela high speed train and then had that canceled and gone to the airport to wait. I was at the Marine Air Terminal which is now used for the Delta Shuttle a 134 seater service using MD88s offering hourly routes to Washington and Boston.

The building is a grand old Art Deco building which appears to have been owned by Pan Am. I have always liked the spacious solid structure of the entrance hall and often still enter via it despite the more modern generic 70s building that now houses most of the services. Within the old building however are a lot of the bowels of the airport services. Offices for airline service companies and a small classic cafeteria.

On the walls are photos of old float or boat planes which use to use the waterfront of the marine air terminal. It appears that when the building was built it offered the sole scheduled route across the Atlantic in these large old float planes. I guess runways weren’t built for the size of plane necessary. The building is clearly just retained as a nod to history by what is now a bankrupt airline (Delta not just Pan Am) and it left me nostalgic for the past glories of air flight and wondering what price we should be putting on maintaining our reverence for such things. I would bitterly defend it but on the other hand we pay a high price for our nostalgia.

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