It sounded a little too good to be true.
Burlington International Airport was going to let me, Seven Days designer Celia Hazard, photographer Andy Duback and three former Pan Am stewardesses have our way with a JetBlue plane during the hour it sat on the tarmac between flights. They'd fling open the back door, wheel up a staircase, and we could take all the pictures we wanted for our cover story this week.
All the airport wanted from us were our driver's licenses.
Half an hour before we were set to meet at BTV, I got a call from JetBlue marketing: They wanted a synopsis of the story. They didn't want their logo appearing in anything they hadn't pre-approved. I assured them the story wasn't scandalous and that we might even Photoshop their logo out entirely.
They were not happy about this. "OK, we won't Photoshop anything, we'll just avoid logos altogether," I told the JetBlue marketing woman. She was very sweet, but had clearly already decided she was not letting us anywhere near that plane.
She called back 10 minutes later with the bad news (we couldn't use the plane), but our team headed to the airport anyway. We'd figure it out. Heather Kendrew, director of maintenance, engineering and environmental compliance, had assured us we could at least get out on the tarmac. And she'd set us up with airport operations specialist — and our awesome escort — Andrew Jones.
We arrived at the check-in area to find the three ex-Pan Amers — Nina Falsen, Daphne Walker and Susan Barron — dressed to the nines. In the short time they'd been there, the women had already been mistaken for on-duty flight attendants multiple times. It wasn't hard to see why; they were decked out in crisp, white, button-down shirts and navy-blue blazers, with Pan Am wings — and one golden clipper ship — pinned to their lapels.