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28 Amazing Pictures From The Golden Age Of Airlines

People didn't always travel in sweatpants. ( More...

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Torsten Hoff 23
>> French singer Sacha Distel performs with his band mid-flight, 1959.

Apparently Distel and his band felt that the atmosphere mid-flight had gotten a bit stuffy and decided to let some fresh air in -- the cabin door is open in the background.
Good catch ;)
ToddBaldwin3 2
I noticed that. Then I became concerned about the man in the lower right corner of the door. Either he's the gremlin that William Shatner saw in the Twilight Zone, or he got voted off the plane?
Paul Smith 2
From the shape of the windows it looks like it could be a Caravelle.
Ric Wernicke 1
Of course the door was open. Those 50's TV lights were darn hot, and you needed a way to get the huge ground power cable in the cabin.
Foxtrot789 13
Wish I was flying Southwest in the '70s... wowzers!
scott8733 3
Yup. Herb's marketing strategy was a good one. Serve free booze via gogo boots and they will fly, LOL.
Tony Perez 6
They didn't have to undress to go through security either.
nashcat 5
Those passengers "aboard a Douglas DC-10, 1968" had a long wait for departure as the DC-10's first flight wasn't until 1970, 2 years later.
nashcat 5
...and United didn't have its first DC-10 flight until 1971.
Mike Boote 2
Same goes for that PSA L-1011
indy2001 4
A couple of the best domestic flights I ever experienced were on Ozark Airlines. On DC-9 flights to/from Orlando in 1983 (to see a space shuttle launch) I got to experience their Wine and Cheese Tasting flights. Baskets of bread and crackers were distributed, then the flight attendants brought around a variety of cheeses and wines. They made sure your wine glass was always full, too. And that was in coach! Certainly nothing like that these days.
jmilleratp 2
Loved Ozark! Only went between St. Louis and Chicago, but it was good.
Paul Smith 1
I remember when Ozark had a nonstop DC-9 jet service from Danville Illinois to Champaign-Urbana Illinois in the morning and back at night...
indy2001 1
We were lucky enough to have nonstop service from IND to MCO, as well as a few other cities. There's a route map at
jmilleratp 4
Obviously, VERY different times than the cattle cars we get these days. :-P
sparkie624 3
Very nice.. thanks for sharing.
bettiem 2
Brings back memories. As an "unaccompanied minor" I was a frequent passenger of BOAC and BEA in the pre-jet and early jet era. For all the service and amenities, the aircraft were slow, low, bumpy and VERY NOISY inside.
Ric Wernicke 1
But little was nicer than being helped into pajamas and tucked in a bunk by Pan Am FA on the road to Hong Kong in '56, several times! Too bad I was only five.
KauaiGolfer 2
Several dubious dates in the captions, starting with the very first shot.
Jeffrey Bue 1
yep... of course it's buzzfeed... i've grown to expect it
roberto blanc 2
There's a photo of famous French singer Sacha Distel performing in a passenger jet.
I know what it is all about. The plane was a Caravelle and this was a PR event, to promote the jet as having a very quiet passenger cabin. A recording studio was mounted on board and a record was produced. My parents borrowed that record from a friend of them and I was able to listen to it. Engine and ventilation noise could be perceived only as a hiss. It was a great airliner, passenger.wise, at least.
indy2001 2
For those of you who are interested in the Golden Age (and you probably wouldn't be here if you aren't), here are a couple of interesting things to check out.

1. A 1962 CBS report hosted by Walter Cronkite called "The Airport Jam" ( that shows some aspects of flying during that age weren't always golden. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2. A site called Departed Flights ( that features old OAG airline schedules, airline route maps, flight schedules for various cities, advertising campaigns from days gone by, seating charts, and terminal maps for various cities through the years.
jack olpp 1
TWA Terminal at JFK 1966

What a wonderful memory. I had just returned from one year in Vietnam a couple days earlier. I took the "redeye" from SFO to JFK. Needing a place to "sack out for a couple hours I was directed to the TWA Terminal where the most comfortable sofas could be found for sleeping. Later that day my wife of 2 years flew in from Columbus, Ohio for our reunion & 2nd honeymoon in NYC & Bermuda. She was wearing a travel suit & I was in my Army Class A uniform
I remember like it was just yesterday.
Jack Carson 1
Jack,I remember back in the late 60's if we traveled in uniform it was Class A's. Today they can wear fatigues, much more comfortable.
sparkie624 2
I was not back that long ago, but I remembered back in the Day you have to wear a suit and tie to fly NON-REV... They only changed that because anytime anyone was dressed up everyone knew they were worked for the airline! I think having everyone dressed up overall made things better... Now days everyone just takes a non-caring attitude and doesn't care about anyone else but themselves... As a society as a whole, I think we have really digressed over the past 30 years... IMHO!
Paul Smith 3
Another child of airline employee here. We wore ties and sport coats in the mid 60s when were were in grade school. I still wear nice pants and a dress shirt when I fly commercial. Even in the later days when I had the time to fly non-rev I still wore nice clothes, was upgraded to first a number of times because I was dressed nice. Best upgrade was A scheduled 73 flight to Denver was upgraded to a 74 for repositioning purposes. First class, and we were even fed! It was the best meal I ever had on a flight... a medium rare teriyaki rib eye steak. Memories!
dee9bee 2
Yes! As an employee, I felt ridiculous arriving at someplace like Cancun in a coat and tie. In the 60s, yea, maybe. The 80s, no.
Joseph Holt 1
I remember having to wear a tie and look professional, I worked for FedEx and that was company policy. If you got caught breaking the rules you weren't allowed the discounts. They were great benefits on a lot of airlines. Keep in mind this was for fun travel not just business.
s20609 1
What No Chic-lettes! Gum given in the '50s for pressure relief during climb and descent.
Jacqueline Dubut: French pilots usually, almost always, wear they wings on the right, not on the left. Can anyone explain why Dubut is wearing them "English-style"?
As for epaulettes, not shown here, they always have a "Nelson" (a loop), said to be a naval tradition honouring an enemy for his courage in battle ... Admiral Nelson.
Randy Marco 1
The best of times were the AA 747 piano bars in coach in 1972 Phx to Ord. I had great times on those flights at Christmas when 3/4 of the plane were fellow ASU students in full party mode!
dee9bee 1
'Gee Whiz, we're in a pressurized aluminum tube with wings filled with gasoline...Let's light up a cigarette!' While I fail to admit it at times, some things have improved over the years. Even in the early 90s, our crew rest seat on long flights was in the back of the smoking section.
Pierre Cantin 1
De nos jours, quelqu'un pourrait reprendre la photo avec Photoshop et fermer la porte !
bbabis 1
Ahh, Before deregulation when profits were guaranteed.
Yeah, baby! Shagadelic!
They were certainly more comfortable than the ones offered today!
GraemeSmith 1
So the Russians don't have galleys. They have kitchens.
And the media's perpetual calling the Apron or Ramp "tarmac". In at least one shot the ramp is clearly constructed of concrete.
Golden Age? I thought that was the 50-60's?......
skylab72 2
Golden Age for Acft Mfg 50-60. For Passengers, I think early jet age, 70-80 was much more pleasant.
Terry Isom 1
Trans Texas Airways flight attendants were dressed like the Southwest attendants in 1968! ;-)
Flew TTA on my way to basic training 1968. They were referred to as Tree Top Airlines as I recall. Lol.
darn spell check - or was that my age ?
James Simms 1
Nice leg....oh well, nevermind. ;-)
Jon Vanmeter 1
Inbound or outbound?
El Kabong 1
Golden Age it may have been, I for one prefer the automation and safety of today's flying compared to then.
James Simms 1
Maybe this is what you were trying to post
El Kabong 2
Actually, looks like a direct link to the graph is disallowed. The following should take you to the general page I was trying to reference:

The graph shows fatal air accidents are lower these days than ever before in the history of air travel.
n9341c 3
I'd still take my chances with the hotpants in 1969. It would be worth it.
Peter Maas 0
Those were the days to FLY. I was called "SIR" then. Now I am called "HEY YOU".
Scott Campbell -1
I tried to get my kid to use sir - never wood, but for five year enlistment he figured it out :-)
Peter Maas -1
my father was career Army. He taught us to say "SIR".
ToddBaldwin3 0
I'm with you on that one. My dad retired with birds on his shoulders. I'm glad to say my kids grew up saying sir.
Great Article.
Paul Hurford 0
Extraordinary Photos from the Golden age of 1960's and 70s. When Flying was a good experience and a pleasure. I remember some of the best airline food served to perfection during that time. The Hot Pants outfits were appropriate for that time period and the 'stewardsess,' preferred them over the old granny looks of the past. They were bright and cheerful and the passengers were well attended too. Great times lost to history.


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