Pan Am: The ride of a lifetime

Linda Awkard is not just a pretty face. She was a chemistry major at Florida State when Pan Am hired her.

Her mother was horrified and told her that she was ruining her career.

Awkard was one of only a few African-American stewardesses in 1970 - a problem for flights to apartheid South Africa.

“They had to stay on the plane,” she says. ”They could not stay in a hotel because there were no blacks allowed in hotels.”

See Pan Am photos.

It was the era of hijackings, and the bomb that downed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbee, Scotland.

But, Awkard says, nothing like today.

“The fear I had mostly was taking off and landing,” she says.

She's kept the dark navy Adolfo suit - with its Pan Am wings. and it still fits today - a size 4:

Awkard never became a chemist. she became a business lawyer. Instead, whose world travels with Pan Am have helped to mold her practice.

“I have … a global sense that allows me to analyze things a little differently,” she says.

The Lockerbie bombing, deregulation and changing times all ultimately ran Pan Am out of business Dec. 4, 1991, ending what Awkard and thousands of other loyal employees say was a class-act operation - and the ride of a lifetime.