Braniff International Airways may have died in 1982 when the Dallas carrier went out of business, but its image is getting a second life on purses, pillows, an office building and soon on a boutique hotel at the site of its former flight attendant dormitory.
Centurion American, which developed downtown Dallas’ swanky hotspot Statler Hotel, bought the former Braniff “hostess college” in 2019 and has worked a deal to put the Braniff name on a new boutique hotel, along with other nods to the defunct company and aviation history.
Braniff, the Texas airline that grew into an international competitor in the wild early days of commercial aviation before a pilot strike pushed it into bankruptcy, is getting a second life as travel enthusiasts look to recapture the yesteryears of flying and marketers turn to bygone brands.
Developers decided to keep the name on the old Braniff Centre building at Dallas Love Field for a new retail, office and restaurant development that reopened earlier this year. Braniff joined a list of former airlines enjoying a recent revival.
A TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport in New York opened last year in the former airlines’ retro-futuristic headquarters building.
At a shop at SeaTac International Airport south of Seattle, the Pan Am Airlines logo is featured on T-shirts and purses for sale to travelers looking to show their love for airline history. A short-lived drama series on ABC called Pan Am showed there was popular interest in the aviation era, even if the program only survived 14 episodes.
“Airlines like Braniff and Pan Am had a very important connection to people,” said David Banmiller, who was CEO of Pan Am for a short time during an attempted reincarnation of the brand that originally ceased operations in 1991. “Pan Am connected the world. People had images of seeing their grandparents for the first time coming off a Pan Am flight or seeing their parents after years apart.”
Along with mega-carriers American Airlines and Southwest Airlines based in North Texas, Braniff was a major contributor to the aviation world during the early deregulated era when there were dozens of competitors. In time, many of those airlines went out of business or merged with larger competitors to make way for the consolidated handful of carriers available to flyers today.
For the most part, the new group of airlines is a vast improvement for flyers. Today’s airlines are more reliable, cheaper and much safer than older carriers and planes, not to mention smoother to ride on.
Braniff was started in 1928 and grew from a Texas-centric carrier to an airline with worldwide reach, including flights to Europe and South America on one of the