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June 21, 2022

These 16 Vintage Photographs Show How Glamorous Flying Used to Be in the 1950s

Before the 1980s, flying was a much classier experience. Back then airlines aggressively competed with each other to treat you like you were on a luxurious ocean liner and people acted like it was one.

Passengers dressed up in the nines. Men wore tailored suits and ties and ladies often wore heels and a skirt. Getting from the entrance to your flight was quick. No TSA. Your family and friends could see you off at the gate.

After you boarded, you were greeted by beautiful women wearing uniforms made by fashion designers. Airlines hired only young women as their stewardess. “When a tired businessman gets on an airplane, we think he ought to be allowed to look at a pretty girl,” one executive said.

Flight attendants served meals on china plates, passengers relaxed in lounges on the plane, and most seats turned into sleeping berths – these vintage photographs below show how glamorous flying was in the 1950s:


  1. my god dude, you fall for this everytime. you know most of these are staged shots, composed inside a mock-up plane in a phtographer's studio .......

  2. These images, although staged, give a feel for air travel back in the day. The worst thing to me was the cigarette smoke. The ashtrays in the arms were sometimes grimy. But the passengers dressed well and were behaved. Even the folks meeting you at the airport were courteous to each other... standing right there at the gate. Each seat had an airline bag with travel accessories. Kids were allowed to speak with the pilots in the cockpit (and get their "wings"). I think the posting is a good representation of the time period. i enjoy your site.

  3. Most of the shots are inside a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. You can find them here.

    Lots of in-flight shots too out there. All "staged" shots would have been done on the ground. In an actual aircraft. Apart for marketing shots done for new model which used engineering interior or cabin crew training mock-ups. Nearly always cheaper to use the real aircraft. Although lighting to could be a problem back then.




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