Coffee, Tea or Helmet?

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There was something about Agnes Braniff Zuver’s maiden name that kept ringing a bell with me and I couldn’t figure out why. I have been researching on her last name for the past couple of days and finally stumbled over the reason that it was so familiar.


Paul Revere Braniff, Agnes’ third cousin was the creator of Braniff International Airways. At the time of its creation he was living in Oklahoma in 1928. Many of the family branches had moved west from the Pennsylvania area to Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington. According to some accounts that I read, P. R. Braniff was trained by and got his pilots license from Orville Wright himself. Ownership of the company would change many times over the years and the Braniff brothers, Paul and his brother Tom, who was an original investor, would remain.


One of the most colorful periods that the airline had was in 1965 when fashion designer Emilio Pucci was recruited to create a new colorful look for the cabins and crew. The craziest part of the costume was the plastic “bubble” helmet that was meant to protect the hairdo of the flight attendants as they crossed the tarmac.  The helmets were retired after a month of use, they were difficult to store inside the plane and tended to crack.


By 1982 the company was purchased by what today is American Airlines and was incorporated into AVCO.


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