Of Corset Was by Jet

Posted 07/09/04

By Gloria Ohliger

The following story by the Women’s Editor is from the August 12, 1969 issue of the now-defunct Washington (DC) Daily News. TWA’s Juanita Maddox passed away in 1976.

A Weekend Trip Around the World

Juanita Maddox was wearing her girdle when she left on a globe girdling weekend trip by jetliner.

Once out of the snappish garment, Nita, as her friends call her, found she couldn’t stretch her imagination or the restroom facilities aboard the plane sufficiently to allow her to put one back on.

The lurching of the plane was no help either while trying to accomplish a complete change of clothes. That coupled with the lack of a bath while going around the world in 66 hours are the only complaints she has about her 22,878-mile journey.

"I know what it’s like to take a sponge bath," she said yesterday. "And that’s what I did. Of course I got the giggles when I had all my clothes off and thought it would be just my luck for the light to go on that says you must return to your seat."

What Nita did stretch was her company’s air lane route around the world. She’s a government affairs representative for Trans World Airlines in Washington and worked closely with the Navy and Air Force to obtain airport licenses for flights into Guam and Okinawa.

Ever since she was a little girl she wanted to go around the world. So when TWA inaugurated its round-the-world service on Aug. 1, she asked her boss, Vice President T.K. Taylor, if she could go along. Mr. Taylor, she related, didn’t think she’d have the stamina for such a physically exhausting trip. But she took a physical, the doctor pronounced her fit and she was on her way.

Had all gone well she could have made the trip in a scheduled 61 hours. As it turned out customs and mechanical delays in Honolulu and stacked-up traffic at Kennedy International (the plane was 45th in line for takeoff) lengthened the tour to 66 hours.

Nita said she amused herself by watching three movies in flight, eating, talking with the passengers, attending airport ceremonies at some of the 13 stops along the way and shopping for souvenirs at airports in such places as Frankfort, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Bombay and Hong Kong.

Because she’s an employee of the airline, she traveled first class at no cost. Her weekend outing cost her under $50, over half of it spent for gifts. An ordinary passenger would have to pay $2,052.90 for a first class ticket; $1,280 coach fare.

Nita doesn’t recommend her jet-setting weekend for anyone else. She did it as a lark and said her office cohorts thought she’d be a basket case on her return to work Monday morning.

"I guess it did throw off my equilibrium," she admitted about spending so many hours aloft in a pressurized cabin, and sleeping only an hour or two at a time in a seated position. "After returning home I would walk along and run into things."

Nita said TWA has applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board to make flights to the moon when that distant day arrives. But the application was turned down because of lack of jurisdiction.

Now that she’s returned from around the world on a weekend, she’s recommended that airplanes be equipped with a bathtub. She didn’t say how far her suggestion got.

home.jpg (1124 bytes)

back.jpg (1127 bytes)