September 24, 2018

20 Vintage Photos From Between the 1940s and 1970s Show How Glamorous Flying Used to Be!

Although flying today is cheaper, safer, and faster than it's ever been, it's becoming an increasingly unpleasant experience as airlines cram more passengers into planes, causing overcrowding and delays.

It's enough to make travelers wish for the golden age of aviation.

Here are some vintage photos from 1946 to 1970, sourced from Iberia, KLM, Delta, British Airways and Air France, that show just how glamorous flying used to be.

We're grateful that smoking is no longer permitted on planes, but we can't deny this guy's got style. We're grateful that smoking is no longer permitted on planes, but we can't deny this guy's got style. (Courtesy of KLM)

With today's lie-flat beds in first and business class, not all that much has changed since 1949 on a KLM flight. With today's lie-flat beds in first and business class, not all that much has changed since 1949 on a KLM flight. (Courtesy of KLM)

Seats on Delta have definitely shrunk since 1959. Seats on Delta have definitely shrunk since 1959. (Courtesy of the Delta Flight Museum)

We'd love to see bunk beds (on KLM) make a comeback. We'd love to see bunk beds (on KLM) make a comeback. (Courtesy of KLM)

Flight attendants used to really dote on passengers. Flight attendants used to really dote on passengers. (Courtesy of Iberia)

Extra pillow service was a nice touch. Extra pillow service was a nice touch. (Courtesy of Iberia)

Instead of staring into screens, kids would get a geography lesson — at least on this Iberia flight. Instead of staring into screens, kids would get a geography lesson — at least on this Iberia flight. (Courtesy of Iberia)

Plane food was made fresh on KLM in 1958, and even hand-delivered by the chef. Is that caviar? Plane food was made fresh on KLM in 1958, and even hand-delivered by the chef. Is that caviar? (Courtesy of KLM)

Meals were decadent on this British Airways flight in the '60s. Meals were decadent on this British Airways flight in the '60s. (Courtesy of BA Speedbird [Heritage] Centre)

BA flight attendants even hand-carved entire hams. BA flight attendants even hand-carved entire hams. (Courtesy of BA Speedbird [Heritage] Centre)

Rather than prepackaged in tin foil, steak was cut seat-side. Rather than prepackaged in tin foil, steak was cut seat-side. (Courtesy of KLM)

Cocktails on BA were made to order, and there were real bars to enjoy them in. Cocktails on BA were made to order, and there were real bars to enjoy them in. (Courtesy of BA Speedbird [Heritage] Centre)

The whole set up was just really social on this 1971 KLM flight. Comparatively, flying today is like being on an airborne bus. The whole set up was just really social on this 1971 KLM flight. Comparatively, flying today is like being on an airborne bus. (Courtesy of KLM)

People played cards! People played cards! (Courtesy of BA Speedbird [Heritage] Centre)

A lot of cards. That's probably the downside to not having entertainment centers in every seat. A lot of cards. That's probably the downside to not having entertainment centers in every seat. (Courtesy of the Delta Flight Museum)

Hopefully you knew your fellow travelers, otherwise this set up could be pretty awkward. Hopefully you knew your fellow travelers, otherwise this set up could be pretty awkward. (Courtesy of the Delta Flight Museum)

These are Iberia's airline "hostesses." They're not flight attendants, and certainly not stewardesses. These are Iberia's airline (Courtesy of Iberia)

Most uniforms included hats. Most uniforms included hats. (Courtesy of Iberia)

Delta's colorful summer uniforms in the late '60s really capture the essence of the time. Delta's colorful summer uniforms in the late '60s really capture the essence of the time. (Courtesy of the Delta Flight Museum)

This cute little number, worn in 1967, was known as British Airways' (then still the British Overseas Airways Corporation) "paper dress." This cute little number, worn in 1967, was known as British Airways' (then still the British Overseas Airways Corporation). (Courtesy of BA Speedbird [Heritage] Centre)

(via Insider)




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