World Airways – A Video Tribute

On March 29, 2014, World Airways ceased operations. Here’s a small tribute to the rich history of this airline: commercials, movie scenes, and an uncommon video presented on some flights.

As you may have heard, on March 29, 2014, World Airways ceased operations. Here’s a small tribute to the rich history of this airline. Let’s start with some commercials, followed by scenes from air disaster movies, and finally, an uncommon video presented on some flights. Click on the title of this post to view all of the videos and their descriptions.

TV Commercials

In the 1980’s, World Airways operated scheduled domestic and international flights.

Per the first commercial, World Airways touted itself as an airline offering lots of service for low fares. The commercial features employees proclaiming “I’m World Airways”. I particularly like commercials featuring real employees, and in this case, employees who are immensely proud to not only work for an airline, but to be that airline!

In 1985, the late George Burns made the second commercial in which he acknowledges that he does “go around with a beautiful model”… that is, a model airline: World Airways. My favourite part is when he says “Fly World. The airline that’s so good, they named the whole planet after it!”

Air disaster movies

Remember seeing such fictional airlines as Global Airways, Transcon Airways and Trans Allied in the movies? Those were in fact World Airways planes!

The first clip, from the 1972 movie Skyjacked, shows the takeoff scene from Oakland International Airport, which was World Airways’ base at the time. You will notice that the Boeing 707 uses practically the entire runway length, that the aircraft retains World Airways’ basic color scheme, and that the credits say “Boeing 707 Intercontinental Jet provided by the world-wide World Airways“. You will find a complete movie review of Skyjacked right here on

The second clip, from the 1976 movie Mayday at 40,000 Feet!, is in Japanese, but it’s still great footage of a World Airways Boeing 727-100 aircraft taking off fom Los Angeles. The “World” title was replaced by the word “Transcon”, along with a basic logo on the tail and fuselage. In case you are interested: well after this scene, the plane lands in Salt Lake City during a snowstorm and boards new passengers, including a prisoner escorted by a Federal Marshall. A fight breaks out between the two, the captain and a passenger are wounded by gunfire, and the aircraft’s hydraulic lines are severed…

The third clip is from the 1985 movie Hostage Flight, aired in the wake of the hijack of TWA Flight 847 and shows a terrorist threatening to kill hostages if the plane isn’t refueled, or if it is stormed by SWAT teams. The aircraft is a DC-10 bearing a basic World Airways color scheme. Incidentally, the terrorist is played by Kristina Wayborn, who portrayed a flight attendant in the movie Victory at Entebbe about the hijack and rescue of Air France flight 139.

The stowage video

Before viewing this last video, please keep in mind that World Airways operated a lot of flights for the military, and that the typical “one carry-on item” rule does not apply!

Now you understand why this video is so casual when it tells its passengers how to stow their weapons in the cabin!

Goodbye, World Airways. We’ll miss you.


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