“Ladies and Gentelmen, TWA is pleased to announce boarding for TWA Flight 1962 with nonstop, first class – Ambassador Service back to the year 1962. All passengers holding tickets for flight 1962, please proceed to gate #1. Thank you.”
Hello and welcome aboard. Thanks for joining me on a historic flight back in time. We will go back in time when flying was prestigious, glamorous and fun. Today is the first of five parts – the hotel accommodations. Before we board, I want to thank the following people for their assistance to make this historic journey possible:
- Andrew Gala – Director of Hotel Sales for the TWA Hotel
- Chris Betz – Events Manager for the TWA Lounge and TWA memorabilia curator
- Edith Morris – Berlin Rosen Administration for arranging my visit to the TWA Lounge at #1 WTC
- Katie Groenke – Berlin Rosen Administration for her guided tour of the TWA Lounge at #1 WTC
- Kara Herbeck – TWA Hotel Front Office Director for her behind-the-scenes details
- Simone Watson & Kara Johnson – TWA front desk for their gracious help with my early check-in
A special thanks to Berlin Rosen for making their photo library available for this five-part series.
Please sit back, relax and enjoy your flight back to the year 1962.
TWA – Trans World Airlines (1930 – 2001)
TWA actually began as Transcontinental and Western Airlines in 1930. In 1939, billionaire aviator, engineer and Hollywood film producer Howard Hughes bought TWA and began world-wide route expansion. Under the direction of Howard Hughes, TWA became a leader in flying legendary aircraft:
- Douglas DC-3
- Boeing 307 Stratoliner which was first to feature four-engines and pressurization
- Lockheed Constellation which began world-wide route expansion
- Boeing 707 jet airliner
- Convair 880, the fastest jet airliner at the time.
The airline industry was deregulated from Federal control in 1978 increasing competition in the industry. In 1988, investor Carl Ichan took TWA under private ownership for which he had no airline experience. TWA filed for bankruptcy in 1992 and 1995. In 1996, there was a mid-air explosion of TWA flight 800 which resulted in a complete loss of life. After the terror attacks in 2001, TWA filed bankruptcy for the last time and was bought out by American Airlines.
Terminal 1 at JFK – The Forgotten Terminal
Finnish architect Eero Saarinen designed what was to be the iconic centerpiece at then New York International Airport. The terminal opened on May 28, 1962 featuring a two-winged roofline and massive glass prows in a futuristic design.
Problems for the terminal began in 1969 with the introduction of the jumbo jet. The terminal was not able to handle terminal operations for jumbo jets like the Boeing 747, Lockheed L1011 and the Boeing 767. In the mid-1980s, TWA started experiencing financial problems. When American Airlines took over TWA in 2001, the terminal returned back to the control of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The terminal remained dormant for over a decade. The terminal was named to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2005 which saved it from the wrecking ball.
Tyler Morse and Morse Development to the Rescue
Like a knight riding in on his white horse to save the day, Tyler Morse had a vision. His vision was to return Terminal 1 back to its glory in the 1960s. His plan included:
- a 200,000 square foot hotel lobby, the largest in the world
- a museum to showcase the “Golden Age of Flight”
- 515 retro 1960s guest rooms
- a roof-top observation deck with an edgeless pool
The vision which became the TWA Hotel opened on May 15, 2019.
The hotel has rooms in 16 categories from a standard room to the Howard Hughes Presidential Suite with Runway Views. We stayed in the Deluxe King with Historic TWA View. Let’s take a look at this room from the 1960s.
Where is TWA Flight 1962 Headed Tomorrow?
Join me tomorrow when this nostalgic flight explores the TWA exhibits and memorabilia at the hotel. See you onboard tomorrow.