Vintage Airline Seat Map: American Airlines Boeing 707-123

It’s time for another Vintage Airline Seat Map, and I’ve gone even more vintage than normal bringing you an American Airlines Boeing 707 (type 123) “LuxuryJet” from the 1970s. Keep in mind this was back in the days of generous seat pitch in coach, and service to match. First class seated 14 passengers in a 2 x 2 configuration, and included a bar forward of row 2 as well as a carry on luggage rack. Coach seated 123 passengers in the typical 3 x 3 layout. My guess is that smoking was allowed plane-wide. For those not old enough to know any better, this bird typically had open “shelves” above the seats and was flown during a time of more civility, as well as when most (all?) people actually checked their luggage. Could you imagine the carry on situation today with such a setup?

Sadly, although I was alive when this aircraft was in active use, I did not fly on it. If I had the chance, you’d find me in the back of first class away from the galley, probably row 5. In coach, I’d try for the exit rows in case they offered even more room, and would likely also have a good view of the movie screen (and yes, I bet it really was a pull-down screen!) I wonder if you could hear the movie over those engines?

Where would you sit?

Image courtesy American Airlines

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  1. Hiya

    I would sit in the back row of First (like you) or near the back of economy. I have flown on dozens of 707s in Iran – all in the 21st century – and they are no louder than a 737 on the inside (outside, I fear, is a different story). In fact running at idle on the ground, you can’t hear the engines at all. I hope to get a few more rides before she goes to seven-oh-heaven. Thanks for this interesting AArtifact. Peace Charlie x.

  2. Interesting to note that one of the forward lavs had been converted to a closet. I’m guessing this was the late-70s. Does anyone have a seat map from a 707–any airline–still with a forward lounge?

  3. My line of work puts me in Arab countries fairly often, and when I’m not being flown from place to place by British Airways, an Iranian carrier which flies 707s is my mode of transport. I always sit at the back of First Class, in the Smoking section.

  4. I flew AA across country every summer to visit my grandparents in the 60’s and 70’s. The 707 Astrojet version had the open shelf above the seats but 707 LuxuryJet version had enclosed overhead compartments. They were MUCH smaller than the overheads of today and the plane had a widebody feel (at least to a kid). You could fold the middle seat down to make a table if nobody was siting there. I remember flying first class one year and the stewardesses tossed the salad on the cart at your seat and played cards with me after the meal service. GREAT memories and how I caught the aviation bug!

    • Thanks for your comment… great to hear you criss-crossed the country on the 707s & service was amazing. Thanks for the clarification about the overhead bins vs. shelves, too. I wish I had flown in the 60s & 70s.

  5. I’m 50 and grew up flying Pan Am, TWA, United, Delta to places like Hawaii etc.. A bygone era when as s a kid you always got little tin pilot wings and got to go see the cock pit. WTF has our society turned into?! Theres no class anymore, only whether you got money or not. The adventure and awh of travel is all but gone.

    And yes, it was a pull down projector screen. And the stewardess were young, single and pretty compared to so many married old battle axes you see today. (sorry to all those women who maybe started out gorgeous but got literally burned up/out in a job that should only be for the young.)

    I miss it. And maybe my reflection is a skew. But I do believe that there really were “good ole days”.

  6. I remember the Boeing 707 quite well as my father was a captain for American Airlines. He flew the 707 for many years before going to the 727 for a couple years then finishing his career (1957-1988) on the DC-10. Seating configurations changed over the years and coach got tighter and first class got smaller. There was a time when first class had a lounge as well as a place to stow carry on bags and a closet for coats. In the 1970’s I remember that even coach class had printed menus usually with a choice of three entrees on the now defunct LAX-CLE route.

    It was on the defunct LAX-CLE route AA flight 72 that my father was the pilot and I was a passenger in first class along with my mother. I was in High School between my junior and senior year at the time. Service was great and I remember having eight cokes on that flight. I do not remember the exact date unfortunately but the year was 1979.

    • @Dale: Thanks for stopping by and leaving your experience. I bet your Dad loved the DC-10 – most pilots I know really enjoyed that aircraft. Eight cokes flying LAX-CLE?! Whoa 🙂

  7. I flew fairly regularly from LA to NY and Chicago in the early to mid 70s. I remember on more than one flight we sat at a table in the far back on the left side. Can anyone identify this seating configuration and which airline? I think it may have been UAL.

  8. I started my busines flying in 1972 on a BOAC 707 commuting from London to Montego Bay. I would love to see if anyone has a seating chart for one of those.

    CB

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