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-   -   MGM Grand Air - All First Class from LAX-JFK (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1086737-mgm-grand-air-all-first-class-lax-jfk.html)

macabus May 18, 10 6:11 pm

MGM Grand Air - All First Class from LAX-JFK
 
.

It's been 23 years since I flew the All-First-Class MGM Grand Air, and I figured it's about time I write a trip report on it.

The year was 1987 and Kirk Kerkorian had just started MGM Grand Air.

He gutted three 727s and created an all First Class cabin with 33 seats: Huge swiveling barcaloungers, two-passenger love seats and several private compartments.

There was a chef with full open kitchen, luxurious sit down bar, and opulent bathrooms with gold-plated wash basins and faucets. Plus, the six flight attendants all wore tuxedos. Pure decadence.

Did I mention that the only route was between LAX and JFK? The target market was movie stars and entertainment moguls. They were charging about $2,000 R/T, which was the same as what AA charged for this route.

For those who can't wait to see what this baby looked like, here's a link to a YouTube news report video: THE MGM GRAND EXPERIENCE

Okay, on to the flight...

MGM Grand Air had a private terminal at LAX, so the rich and famous didn't have to breath the same air as the great unwashed masses.

***TRUTH ALERT*** The following may seem unbelievable, but I can assure you that everything really happened as I describe it.

I was sitting in the lounge waiting for boarding.

At first I had no idea that the legs I was staring at belonged to Cheryl Tiegs. They went on and on forever. Towering gams that were as mesmerizing as a pair of metronomes syncopating together in harmony.

Then I saw her hair, the porcelain skin, angular jaw. And then... the dog carrier.

As my senses slowly returned to me, I could hear the "YIP, YIP YIP" of her little rat-like dog.

She sat down across from me and began thumbing through a magazine - this was before the age of cellphones and laptops.

I saw the manager beckoning me over to him. Cheryl's rabid little mutt gave me the evil eye as I sauntered past.

"See that guy over there?" the MGM manager said to me conspiratorially, trying to be inconspicuous as he nodded his head in the direction of a gargantuan man flanked by a couple of "Italian Gentlemen" straight out of central casting.

"He's the head guy in New York," the manager said and pressed his finger against his nose as if portraying a mobster. "Flies out here every few weeks to see an actress he's sweet on."

He never told me the man's name, and I didn't ask.

Just then, all heads in the lounge turned at once as if controlled by marionette strings.

It was Bob. Trying to be inconspicuous. Ripped jeans. Tattered T-shirt.

Even Cheryl turned and gave DeNiro an approving nod.

Things were starting to get interesting.

It was time to board. The lounge door opened and we all walked out onto the tarmac and towards the freshly-painted 727.

I settled into my barcalounger in the first row on the right side. Seven seconds later a stunning blond FA in a tux appeared and started pouring me a glass of champagne.

She was completely blocking my view of Cheryl walking past with her mongrel.

I wanted to shove her aside. The FA, not Cheryl.

Bob walked past a few moments later.

Then, right before the door was about to close, some scrawny little guy strutted onboard with two gorgeous women - one on each arm.

I asked the FA who it was.

"You don't know who Chuck Barris is?" she asked incredulously.

I feigned recognition.

"He's got a private compartment," she said with a wink.

Only now, after decades of tell-all books, do I finally understand that ol' Chucky was really an unlikely CIA operative, and our government had paid for his flight that night.

Later, out of curiosity, I walked past his cabin to the rear bathroom and saw some "questionable activities" through the curtain.

I refrain from elaborating further.

Anyway, the flight was incredible. A seven-course gourmet dinner. Amazing Pâté de foie gras. Great Champagne. The food and service were incomparable.

I sat at the bar for a while and met the Chairman of one of the largest record companies in the world.

Bob was fast asleep. Cheryl and her dog had not yet met Rod Stryker. Life was good.

Unfortunately, that's more than I can say for the airline.

At one point Kirk was planning to buy a 747 and install a Jacuzzi and health spa for the new incarnation of MGM Grand Air.

They went belly-up after a few years.

I flew them a half-dozen times between LAX and JFK.

Nothing has compared since....



.

bitburgr May 18, 10 6:55 pm

That was a fun read.


Originally Posted by macabus (Post 13981863)
Cheryl and her dog had not yet met Billy Joel.

Cheryl Tiegs and Billy Joel? I know about Christie Brinkley...didn't know about Cheryl Tiegs.

macabus May 18, 10 6:59 pm


Originally Posted by bitburgr (Post 13982050)
That was a fun read.


Cheryl Tiegs and Billy Joel? I know about Christie Brinkley...didn't know about Cheryl Tiegs.

Oh, good lord, I got the two supermodels confused.

You're right of course, it was Christie and Billy.

Cheryl was married to Rod Stryker, and director Stan Dragoti, and Tony Peck...

Grunion May 18, 10 7:04 pm

Interesting and exotic tale
 
deleted - answered above

Grunion

CMK10 May 18, 10 8:02 pm

A very interesting report indeed. I love how the news anchor in the video (with great hair piece) talks about people complining in 1986 of worsening air service. That's a laugh.

Here's another video about MGM Grand Air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa2Qz...eature=related

Also, if anyone has ever read the book The Airport about JFK, the last chapter details the author flying the airline when they were using DC-8s and how much he enjoyed them.

zcat18 May 18, 10 8:58 pm

Ha--this was great. What prompted you to write this today (just wondering)?

The scene reminds me of what the Concorde lounge at JFK must have looked/felt like in its heyday. Thanks for the nostalgic trip.

flyphilrun May 18, 10 9:58 pm

Fun read....



Originally Posted by macabus (Post 13981863)
.

MGM Grand Air had a private terminal at LAX, so the Hoi Polloi didn't have to breath the same air as the great unwashed masses.

.

I think you'll find that the "hoi polloi" and the " unwashed masses" are in fact one and the same thing.....

DownUnderFlyer May 18, 10 10:10 pm

Great report macabus! So what brought you on this flight? ;)

bhatnasx May 18, 10 10:16 pm

Nice report & cool video!

InTokyo May 18, 10 10:31 pm

WOW!!

Only $2,000!!!!!!!!
That is a bargain!!!
Maybe that is why they went bankrupt??

camsean May 19, 10 2:05 am

Cool step back in time. Thanks for posting.

kimmielou01 May 19, 10 4:24 am


Originally Posted by macabus (Post 13981863)
.

It's been 23 years since I flew the All-First-Class MGM Grand Air, and I figured it's about time I write a trip report on it.

The year was 1987 and Kirk Kerkorian had just started MGM Grand Air.

He gutted three 727s and created an all First Class cabin with 33 seats: Huge swiveling barcaloungers, two-passenger love seats and several private compartments.

There was a chef with full open kitchen, luxurious sit down bar, and opulent bathrooms with gold-plated wash basins and faucets. Plus, the six flight attendants all wore tuxedos. Pure decadence.

Did I mention that the only route was between LAX and JFK? The target market was movie stars and entertainment moguls. They were charging about $2,000 R/T, which was the same as what AA charged for this route.

For those who can't wait to see what this baby looked like, here's a link to a YouTube news report video: THE MGM GRAND EXPERIENCE

Okay, on to the flight...

MGM Grand Air had a private terminal at LAX, so the Hoi Polloi didn't have to breath the same air as the great unwashed masses.

***TRUTH ALERT*** The following may seem unbelievable, but I can assure you that everything really happened as I describe it.

I was sitting in the lounge waiting for boarding.

At first I had no idea that the legs I was staring at belonged to Cheryl Tiegs. They went on and on forever. Towering gams that were as mesmerizing as a pair of metronomes syncopating together in harmony.

Then I saw her hair, the porcelain skin, angular jaw. And then... the dog carrier.

As my senses slowly returned to me, I could hear the "YIP, YIP YIP" of her little rat-like dog.

She sat down across from me and began thumbing through a magazine - this was before the age of cellphones and laptops.

I saw the manager beckoning me over to him. Cheryl's rabid little mutt gave me the evil eye as I sauntered past.

"See that guy over there?" the MGM manager said to me conspiratorially, trying to be inconspicuous as he nodded his head in the direction of a gargantuan man flanked by a couple of "Italian Gentlemen" straight out of central casting.

"He's the head guy in New York," the manager said and pressed his finger against his nose as if portraying a mobster. "Flies out here every few weeks to see an actress he's sweet on."

He never told me the man's name, and I didn't ask.

Just then, all heads in the lounge turned at once as if controlled by marionette strings.

It was Bob. Trying to be inconspicuous. Ripped jeans. Tattered T-shirt.

Even Cheryl turned and gave DeNiro an approving nod.

Things were starting to get interesting.

It was time to board. The lounge door opened and we all walked out onto the tarmac and towards the freshly-painted 727.

I settled into my barcalounger in the first row on the right side. Seven seconds later a stunning blond FA in a tux appeared and started pouring me a glass of champagne.

She was completely blocking my view of Cheryl walking past with her mongrel.

I wanted to shove her aside. The FA, not Cheryl.

Bob walked past a few moments later.

Then, right before the door was about to close, some scrawny little guy strutted onboard with two gorgeous women - one on each arm.

I asked the FA who it was.

"You don't know who Chuck Barris is?" she asked incredulously.

I feigned recognition.

"He's got a private compartment," she said with a wink.

Only now, after decades of tell-all books, do I finally understand that ol' Chucky was really an unlikely CIA operative, and our government had paid for his flight that night.

Later, out of curiosity, I walked past his cabin to the rear bathroom and saw some "questionable activities" through the curtain.

I refrain from elaborating further.

Anyway, the flight was incredible. A seven-course gourmet dinner. Amazing Pâté de foie gras. Great Champagne. The food and service were incomparable.

I sat at the bar for a while and met the Chairman of one of the largest record companies in the world.

Bob was fast asleep. Cheryl and her dog had not yet met Rod Stryker. Life was good.

Unfortunately, that's more than I can say for the airline.

At one point Kirk was planning to buy a 747 and install a Jacuzzi and health spa for the new incarnation of MGM Grand Air.

They went belly-up after a few years.

I flew them a half-dozen times between LAX and JFK.

Nothing has compared since....



.

Great report!

sobore May 19, 10 5:57 am

Very Cool! Thanks for posting!!

macabus May 19, 10 6:24 am


Originally Posted by zcat18 (Post 13982557)
Ha--this was great. What prompted you to write this today (just wondering)?

It's been a few weeks since I've flown somewhere, and I was just reminiscing...



Originally Posted by flyphilrun (Post 13982823)

I think you'll find that the "hoi polloi" and the " unwashed masses" are in fact one and the same thing.....

Yep, you're right. Don't know what I was thinking...



Originally Posted by DownUnderFlyer (Post 13982859)
Great report macabus! So what brought you on this flight? ;)

At the time I was consulting a half-dozen regional airlines, and my firm secured the contract for MGM Grand Air.

Since I was on business, I always wore a suit and tie. Meanwhile, all the other passengers were attired in jeans, old T-shirts and track outfits.

Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Seat 2A May 19, 10 7:44 pm

MGM Grand Air was the follow up to Regent Air, whose 727s went on to serve for MGM Grand Air upon Regent Air's demise. Interestingly, I too flew one of those MGM Grand 727s, though it was in the service of Braniff International before being sold to Regent Air.

Thanks, macabus, for the stroll down memory lane. Flying around America sure was alot more fun back in those days.


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