Historic Airliner Travels 500 KM To Become TWA Hotel Bar
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
A TWA Connie takes off.
Vintage plane en route to novel new assignment.
Drivers outside Boston along US interstate I-495 recently got a unique view of an iconic airplane that might very well belong in a museum.
For a short amount of time on 10OCT, a truck convoy carrying the fuselage of a rare Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner was pulled over along the side of the highway to fix a flat tire.
Painted white and stenciled with a bright red "Trans World Air Lines" logo, the 60-year-old plane is heading to New York Airport JFK, where it's expected to be converted into a one-of-a-kind bar and restaurant for the upcoming TWA Hotel.
As CNN reports, there was a time when you were more likely to see this kind of plane flying overhead instead of in pieces on trucks along the side of the road.
In the 1950s, before the Jet Age, the Lockheed's Constellation family of four-engine, propeller-driven airliners were the pinnacle of luxury for travel across the Atlantic and the US, from coast to coast.
Constellations -- aka "Connies" -- were the first airliners in widespread use that had pressurized cabins. Pressurization allowed pilots to fly high above most bad weather, making for smoother and safer travel.
Thanks to that pressurization and fast speed, Connies led the way into a new era of air travel, when flying became almost commonplace — especially for business trips.
After several months of restoration, workers loaded up the 116-foot-long Constellation fuselage and tail separately onto trucks in Maine, at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport for a 500 km journey to New York City.
Once the Connie arrives at JFK, it's expected to spend the winter inside a hangar, sheltering it from the weather. Plans call for the airplane-turned-bar-and-restaurant to open next spring.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.