Flight No. 30 Carries the Goodies

The scene looks like a department store's Christmas rush. The floor is piled high with television sets, videocassette recorders, audiocassette players and sewing machines. Nervous energy and thick cigarette smoke swirl through the crowd. On a Saturday evening, these giddy shoppers have converged in front of a check-in counter at New York City's Kennedy Airport, where they will board Pan Am's nonstop to Moscow, the famed Flight 30.

What the medieval silk-and-spice caravans were to Western Europe, Flight 30 is to Soviet consumers today. The few who can afford the 1,762-ruble ($2,800) round-trip ticket gain an opportunity to outfit their homes...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!