Sunday, May 9, 2010


My friend Corena essentially writes a private blog. She writes things and finds things on the internet and sends them out to a select few by email. Being lucky enough to be on the receiving end of these emails, I occasionally like to pass something along. Like this one for example. Having spent time recently mooing in line at today's airports and being shoved into the cattle shoot (jetway) and onto the crowded airplane, I find this Life magazine story about the way it used to be nostalgic. Hope you enjoy.

The first 747s had a stairway and cocktail lounges.

Dressed to the nines is right, notice the ties.

Quite a change from today.

I went a trip last week and I noticed that only one guy had on a tie...

and he was probably the sky marshall !

I don’t think this is one pendulum that will swing back.


White-Glove Service

Fifty years ago, flying had a certain glamour:

the luxurious seats, the doting (and beautiful) flight attendants, the gourmet meals...

Today, most of the majesty of commercial air travel has been scrapped,

thanks to cutbacks and tight security.

Miss the old days? LIFE looks back at what it used to mean to fly commercially.

More Bubbly, Sir?

This giant double-decker Boeing 747 seems light-years away from,

the cramped, leg-crunching cabins of today.

Pictured: A Pan Am stewardess serves champagne.

A Tempting Third Course

In-flight fare once included gourmet food delivered on fine china and unlimited drinks...

the alcoholic kind, with cutesy names like "Passion Punch" and "Love Potion."

Today, unless you're lucky enough to be in first class, you get a bag of peanuts and/or pretzels,

and one (non-alcoholic) beverage... MAYBE!

Hot on the Job

Women all over the world aspired to be flight attendants

("stewardesses, " as they were once called).

On Southwest Airlines (pictured), the motto was "sex sells seats"...

and, for better or for worse, the attendants' outfits were fully in accordance.

A Proper Goodbye

Dropping a friend or family member off at the airport was an adventure in itself.

People would actually park their cars, escort their traveler to the departure gate,

and watch the plane until it was just a tiny speck in the sky.

Dressed to the Nines

Forget the T-shirt and sweatpants... flying was a formal occasion.

Pictured: Gossip columnist Cindy Adams and her husband, comedian Joey Adams,

are dressed to the nines as they board a flight to Indonesia , 1966.

Going Up

In 1970, an air hostess greets a passenger before heading up to an upper deck lounge.


Customs? Relatively Calm!

No X-ray machines, no metal detectors, no taking off of shoes:

Customs purely served as a luggage check.

Hard to believe, but this is a 1964 photo of the customs area at the

New York International Airport (the madhouse known today as JFK).

From Aisle to Runway

Going through security check in a wedding dress today would prove to be a nightmare,

but back in 1965, a newlywed London couple wastes no time heading off to their honeymoon,

after tying the knot.

Superstars Mingled With Us Common Folk

In the days before the influx of private planes,

even the Beatles traveled on commercial flights.

Plus: fun, unconvincing costumes!

(That's George Harrison pushing John Lennon, in 1965.)


On a Boeing 747, passengers could stand tall without ducking,

have decent legroom,

and sink into plush seats.

A General Excitement About the Future

Way back when... it seemed anything was possible in air travel...

including a superfast transatlantic jet.

Pictured: In '69, a French model

wears a hairstyle and makeup in tribute to the Concorde,

which has now been retired.

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