It's a Secret, No Doubt

If American Airlines had its flight attendants wear the old Braniff uniforms, we'd be more forgiving of its service.

There's an Associated Press story that moved this afternoon about airline museums and how poorly they do. In the case of, oh, Delta Airlines, people can't even get into its museum in Atlanta, because it's attached to the company's headquarters, which ain't open to the public except by appointment. So there. And in the case of American Airlines, well, nobody even knows it has a museum. But, yeah, says here it sure does: on the south end of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which is as close to a no-man's land as you can get. That's why it can't even get 35,000 visitors a year to the C.R. Smith Museum, which actually does sound kinda cool (you can see Charles Lindbergh's old flight logs and a 1940 DC-3 passenger plane, for starters).

"It's kind of hidden back here alongside the American Airlines conference center," museum curator Jeffrey Johns tells the AP. "We like to say it's one of Dallas-Fort Worth's best kept secrets." Can't agree with him more. According to the AP story:

"Because few know about these airline museums and they don't really generate revenue, their curators constantly work amid uncertainty caused by the industry's financial woes. For example, the Delta museum must wait out the airline's current bankruptcy problems to learn whether it will be able to use a nearby office building to display more artifacts.

Officials with American's C.R. Smith Museum are trying to raise money to make it more independent of the airline industry's financial ups and downs.

'The airlines are there to transport people and make money and even though this history is important to many, the business aspect is probably always going to be the most important. History can take a second seat, especially when you're struggling financially,' Johns said."

In related news, it says here that a gay couple travelling from Paris to New York were recently told by an American Airlines flight attendent to stop ''the touching and kissing.'' That comes from TV journalist George Tsikhiseli in the New Yorker, which, if I am to believe Bright Lights, Big City, has an extensive fact-checking department, so I believe it--hard. In unrelated news, the far more accessible Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field has an extensive Braniff International Airways exhibit. In short, best uniforms ever. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky