Braniff’s first 747 was nicknamed ‘The Great Pumpkin’ or ‘Big Orange’ due to its bright orange scheme and was decked out internally with the finest leather seats and furnishings. The cabin was split into five rooms with its own colours and lounge space and was branded the 747 Braniff Palace ‘The Most Exclusive Address in the Sky’. Revenue service began on 14th January 1971 between Dallas and Honolulu. For the next seven years the airline’s sole 747 (a second was cancelled) operated the daily Hawaii service recording record utilisation rates for the type.
Braniff did some crazy stuff at the end of the 70s. Harding Lawrence was convinced that deregulation would be a disaster and end up with a return to regulation (as it had in the 1930s) so he went all out for market share, attempting to grab as much as he could before the window closed. This crazy expansion would be the end of Braniff, but the craziest thing they ever did was start Concorde operations on transcontinental routes across the USA.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: