Flying the B-314, Pursers and Stewards
A significant part of Pan AM's reputation came from our Flight Service. I capitalize on purpose. On the B314 they often chose the food,cooked it, served it in courses on linen table clothes using specially designed silverware. We engineers were close to Flight Service because we fixed their galleys, controlled the temperature, fixed clogged toilets etc. They were males until the end of WWII. They were trained to help with engine changes. They were in charge of the ships papers and smoothed our entry through customs, immigration and public health in occasional unfriendly countries. Certain countries required bribes for short entry times, even today. Since they had many shore contacts, the pleasure of layovers in a mans city like Lisbon depended on how well you got along with the purser. They knew everybody. During long flights when we were using low powers, it was necessary to speed up #3 engine because that's where the galley got its heat. During the engineers periodic inspections inside the wing, we paid special attention to leakage from the glycol lines that carried the heat to the galley from #3. They also conducted 'Clipper Dice'. There were 3 dice and six bets. Whenever pairs were rolled the odds favored the Purser and the passengers were HAPPY. Tips were normal in those days until the Captains found out that the Pursers were making more money than they were. No tipping continues since then. Whenever a B314 had an engine failure and had to come back with its untouched foods, everybody was devising ways to get to the food before the beaching crew. These guys were gorillas. I had to train with them and I remember a wintry day when we raided the galley for steak and ice cream and after we filled up, the gorillas allowed the rest in. This 'custom' continues to this day. After WWII, women were hired and this bachelor was in heaven. I would have paid them to fly. They didn't have to pay me. Our stewardesses came from every country in the world. There is a great story about our Nisei. I salute Pan AM's great Flight Service.