Anthony Toth built a 747 replica inside a warehouse. Here, he stands in front of the first class cabin. Photo: Stephen Carr.
You may remember Anthony Toth. He’s the California man and United Airlines executive who built a replica of a Pan Am 747 inside a Los Angeles-area warehouse.
This is not a joke. He dedicated years of his life to his pursuit because Pan Am was the airline Toth loved to fly as a child.
As of a year ago, when I wrote a long story on him, Toth had hired a contractor and spent more than $100,000 on his life’s dream. At the time, Toth had a first-class section, complete with 18 seats, and a Clipper Class section — sort of like premium economy — with 26 powder blue seats. He had also built an upper deck lounge. And Toth had all the soft goods — the Pan Am branded napkins, the drink stirrers, the headphones, the glassware — to go with it. He even piped in the sounds of aircraft noise.
But Toth wanted more. I caught up with him recently and wrote an update for our main website. Here’s some of what I learned:
- Playboy did a one-week shoot on his plane for an upcoming issue. There were 12 naked women around. “It was a shocking week for me,” Toth said.
The cockpit, with help from some special effects. Photo: Anthony Toth.
Toth bought a cockpit for $6,000 off a retired Air Canada plane and had it installed on the front end of the upper deck. Before, Toth had a cockpit door, but if you opened it, it actually just led to a storage area.
- “Mad Men” rented some props from Toth. It was a top secret mission. Someone from the show called Toth and asked him for stuff from a specific airline and specific time period. He says he is not allowed to say anything about what he rented out because it might give away a plot point. But he said he loves the “Mad Men” gigs. “They want everything to be validated,” Toth said. “They are true to their craft. They re-create vintage aviation in the way I want it to be recreated.”
- Toth is now partnering with a company called Air Hollywood that specializes in aviation sets and props for airplane-related entertainment shoots. The company is based in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley and Toth is considering moving his replica there. Why? It would give him a lot more room. Perhaps enough for a full 747 mock-up. “If I want to play in this space,” he said, “I’m going to need a bigger airplane.”
- He is in the market for old airline uniforms for his rental business — not just Pan Am, but other airlines as well. The acquisition costs are high . A Pan Am uniform hat? That runs $700 to $800, he says. A Pan Am uniform? Toth says he recently bought two — for $1,000 apiece.
The Clipper Cabin on Toth’s mockup.
Reports are circulating that United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.
United Airlines is expected to announce a new flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia that will start in October, according to Airchive, an aviation blog. (We have since confirmed it — see below.)
United will fly the route six times per week using a Boeing 787-9 aircraft starting Oct 26, Airchive reported. The news is being warmly greeted on Flyertalk, the message board I profiled in a feature story earlier this week. Posters on the website, who are probably airline employees, are talking like it’s a done deal, though they note the international flight is subject to government approval. (Flyertalk members get this stuff wrong occasionally, but not often.)
I reached out late Thursday to United for a comment, but I have not heard back.
Qantas already files between Los Angeles and Melbourne using an Airbus A380. United for now offers one-stop service to Melbourne. The plane stops in Sydney.
UPDATE: 10 p.m. The flight is now available for purchase on United.com.
Also, the reputable Airlineroute.net website says the flights start on November 3. It starts Oct. 26, as we originally stated.
United Airlines had computer problems on Tuesday morning. Photo: United
United Airlines computer systems were down on Tuesday morning (L.A. time), leading to some flight delays and inconvenienced passengers.
When I inquired at about 10 a.m. United said in an email that the problem had been fixed.
“This morning we experienced intermittent issues with our passenger service computer system, causing some flight delays,” the airline said in a statement. ”With the system now restored, we are working to get our customers to their destinations as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
At least one passenger at LAX was taking it pretty well, according to a Tweet.
If you get the feeling that this happens a lot, it does. And not just for United. It seems that just about every airline has this problem once or twice a year. Sometimes more.
United will no longer call its Cleveland operation a hub. Photo: United.
United Airlines will no longer operate a full-scale hub in Cleveland, many news organizations reported today.
The hub in Cleveland — a former Continental stronghold –was not profitable, United CEO Jeff Smisek told employees and was not feasible to operate such a robust operation there. By June, when the reductions are complete, there will still be 72 departures on peak days to 20 destinations. But now there are about 200 flights on peak days. Midwesterners will now do even more of their connecting on United in Chicago. (72 flights from Cleveland is still a lot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is further cut in the coming years.)
Sadly, this is becoming a thing for once vibrant hubs in the middle of the country. Cincinnati (Delta), Memphis (Delta), Pittsburgh (US Airways) and St. Louis (TWA) have all lost significant flights in the past decade. Meanwhile, major hubs, like LA, have stayed the same or gotten stronger.
Read on to see the letter Smisek sent to his United “Coworkers.”
Can you name this plane, seen last month at LAX? Photo by your blogger.
We wrote last week about Biman Bangladesh Airlines retiring the world’s final passenger DC-10. But do you know where planes like this go when they’re done with passenger service? To cargo operators, of course.