Collection Item Summary:
This Pan Am "First Moon Flights" Club card, number 1043, was issued by the airline to Jeffrey Gates in the late 1960s. Gates acquired the card (as well as reservations for himself and his wife-of-the-future) when he was 20 years old.
Between 1968 and 1971, Pan Am issued over 93,000 “First Moon Flights” Club cards to space enthusiasts eager to make a reservation for the first commercial flight to the Moon. Issued at no cost to the reserver, the cards were numbered in the order they were issued. The Club originated from a waiting list that is said to have started in 1964, when Gerhard Pistor, an Austrian journalist, went to a Viennese travel agency requesting a flight to the Moon. The agency forwarded his request to Pan Am, which accepted the reservation two weeks later and replied that the first flight was expected to depart in 2000.
Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” (1968) indirectly promoted the stunt but Pan Am stopped taking Moon flight reservations in 1971 when financial troubles made it difficult for the company to keep up with new requests. The company declared bankruptcy in 1991.
Gates donated the card to the Museum in 2016.