Flying "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime"

Diaper Specials

During the late 1940s and early 1950s Transocean's aircraft were chartered by various groups in the U.S. to fly English, French, and German war brides back to Europe to show off the grandchildren. Members of the Britannia Club of Oakland were the first to fly Transocean's "Diaper Specials" in August 1949 from Oakland to London and France via Idlewild International Airport in New York. Of the passengers on board, 17 were British girls married to American soldiers, and 3 were French brides. Also along were a number of older women who were World War I brides, 27 children, 12 of them infants in arms, and 3 uncomfortable men.


Newspaper headlines proclaimed: "War Brides, Tots Fly Abroad-Males Find WAH! Is Hell"' One of the men had accepted a job in England, and one was on his way to propose to his British girlfriend. The third refused to be identified when he climbed into the passenger cabin with the babies, and the myriad cartons of canned milk, emulsified menus, and boxes of cloth diapers on board for the babies' comfort.


Transocean perfected its technique of transporting infants by using DC-4s equipped with "cloud cradles," special bassinets invented and manufactured by TAL which could be suspended in rows from overhead baggage racks.


On the return flight, 6 weeks later, the New York Herald Tribune reported Idlewild in chaos during the nearly 6 hour lay-over as airsick babies screamed, toddlers fell off counters, and older children clambered through windows when their mothers' attention was diverted to customs and immigration procedure.*

Transocean's "Cloud Cradle" for safety for babies during flights.  Testing the cradle is TAL
Captain Andres Madsen's daughter, Lisa, who is with her mother, Marian Madsen. photo: Ralph Lewis

War brides and their children going to see grandma and grandpa in Europe aboard a
Transocean DC-4.  photo:  Albert "Kayo" Harris

A "Diaper Special" War Bride flight to Europe with plenty of diapers on board. photo: Leo's Photo Studio

* Story from Folded Wings, A History of Transocean Air Lines by Arue Szura