Because of our jobs, it’s easy to forget how fantastic flying actually is. In the 1950s, people didn’t take flying for granted when air travel was only reserved for the wealthy elite. Back then, a plane ticket would cost almost a month’s salary. To convince people, airlines had to offer lures to persuade them that flying was worth the outrageous price of a ticket. For that reason, planes had room to stretch your legs, free drinks, and flight attendants who brought the best meals and alcoholic beverages.

Flying in 1950s

A lot of place

The space in the economy class of 1950 resembles the business class of today in terms of space. Passengers enjoyed more excellent legroom in spacious cabins with wide seats. With more legroom, reclining seats wouldn’t have bothered the person behind you. Even sleeping berths could just be popped open from the overhead compartments. The first class was so spacious that it almost looked like a hotel room!

Flying in the 50's

Skinny flight attendants

In spite of the enormous space in planes at that time, flight attendants were not allowed to take up much space. They were only allowed to weigh 56 kilos(!). Boarding was also a bit different from now. There was no security, no searches, no requests for identification, and no guards. You could walk into the airport half an hour in advance. Sounds chill, right?

Sunday best 

Because flying was considered an “event” in those days, people dressed for it. No sweat pants, legging, hoodies, or sneakers, no men wore suits and women dressed up and would often wear hats and jewelry.

Flying in the 50s

Lobster for you, sir?

Customers would spend their time eating meals that were as good as anything you would be served in a restaurant. Flight attendants used to prepare pre-cooked in-flight meals in the galley. Food was kept refrigerated in dry ice and heated up in electric ovens. Rather than prepackaged in tin foil, steaks were cut seat-side.

Flying in the 50's

Slightly tipsy

Planes had full bars, and drinks were served in real glasses instead of plastic cups. The flight attendants could make you cocktails, and there were even real bars to enjoy your drink. This often led to plane trips doubling as little cocktail parties. It was not unusual that passengers would arrive at their destination a bit tipsy.

The best entertainment

We’re happy that smoking is prohibited on flights nowadays, but people could smoke cigarettes on airplanes until Feb. 25, 1990. Imagine suitcases, uniforms and hair it all stunk from cigarette smoke, ugh. The most popular form of entertainment during the flight was reading, everyone had their head in a book, newspaper, or magazine.

Don’t you think it’s a shame that we can’t go back in time to check it out ourselves?

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