And sure enough, Allen’s plan paid off in November of 1945, when Pan American World Airways – often shortened to Pan Am – purchased 20 of the new Stratocruisers. At the time, the deal stood as the largest order of commercial planes ever, costing the airline $24.5 million for all of their new aircraft.
But Pan Am’s president at the time, Juan Trippe, had great faith in the Boeing planes and their promise. He had, after all, witnessed the success of the 314 Clipper – another of manufacturer’s aircraft. Plus, the Stratocruiser promised to be the most luxurious and largest airplane of its time, which undoubtedly interested Trippe.
The Stratocruiser, in fact, boasted a slew of amenities that hadn’t always come as standard in transport aircraft. For one thing, the plane had a pressurized cabin. This allowed the craft to fly higher without any adverse health effects for the passengers and crew. The Stratocruiser also featured a double-deck layout with space for over 100 passengers, sleeping berths, dressing rooms and even a cocktail lounge.