Once upon a time, commercial air travel was glamorous, a luxury devoid of pat downs and tipsy with the promise of adventure — not to mention martinis. Harkening back to a day when the friendly skies were just that is the new ABC drama, “Pan Am.”

“It’s escapism at its best, at a time when, for a moment, the world kind of opened and embraced everywhere we were going,” says star Mike Vogel, who plays a bright-eyed pilot flying his way up the company ladder.

The series takes full advantage of his metaphor — “Pan Am,” which takes place in 1963, not only taps into the nostalgia of the industry with gorgeous costuming and set design and stories uninhibited by TSA regulations, but it also delves into the burgeoning cultural revolution of the era.

“For the stewardesses, there was this sense of excitement and freedom,” says star Christina Ricci, whose bohemian character takes the gig as an opportunity to explore the world. “The job allowed these women to have a freedom that they weren’t really given in a regular sort of role in life at that time,” she explains. “Yes, they did have to pass through girdle checks and grooming checks, but by going through those things they were then allowed to travel freely and ... be in charge of their own lives.”

 
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