These Vintage Photos Reveal What Flying On A Plane Was Like In The Past

Posted by Editorial Staff in History On 15th February 2017

What was it like to fly in the 1950s? Dangerous, smoky, boozy, boring, expensive, and racist. Still think you got it bad today?

1. Flying Used To Be Fun

Remember the good ol' glamorous days of flying? Probably not, because chances are you weren't alive to enjoy them.

2. Check Out This Swanky British Airways Flight

During the "Golden Age" of air travel, passengers had a lot more leg room and they didn't have to worry about hitting their heads on the overhead compartment every time they stood up.

3. But Some Of The Planes Were Small

Like, really small. I don't know how anybody sat in these wicker chairs and flew thousands of feet above the ground without popping some Xanax first.

4. An Era Where Taking A Flight Was A Special Occasion

This photo was taken in 1936 at Newark Airport as a male steward (one of the very first!) welcomed passengers aboard. This was also a time when people dressed up to fly rather than wear old yoga pants, an oversized sweatshirt and Uggs.

5. Designed For Comfort

So I'm happy that smoking is no longer allowed on airplanes, but can we agree to bring back those headrests? Those are some primo napping headrests.

6. When You Could Light Up In The Sky

File this photo away in the folder "Things You Will Never, Ever, Ever See Again. Ever." Unless you're, like, binge-watching Mad Men or something.

7. The Perfect Spot For Babies

Want to travel but don't want to deal with your crying, squirmy baby? Well, that's too bad, because we no longer have these cool hanging cribs where people used to stow their babies right next to their carry-ons.

Want to travel but don't want to deal with your crying, squirmy baby? Well, that's too bad, because we no longer have these cool hanging cribs where people used to stow their babies right next to their carry-ons.

8. Catch Up On Some Zs In Flight

In the olden days, you and your bestie could book bunk beds on a flight so you could have a slumber party in the sky! Then you'd flip a coin over who gets top bunk, of course. Sigh. Flying used to be so civilized.

9. Kids Were (Probably) Well Behaved On Flights

I like to imagine that there was once a time when kids didn't cry, scream or throw temper tantrums in the middle of a long flight. Judging from this photo, I think such a glorious, calm time did actually exist. You just need to give kids their own bunk beds and they'll behave like angels.

10. And How Would You Like That Cooked?

Medium? Medium rare?

And then the steward cuts up your steak right in front of you.

Again, flying used to be so civilized.

11. The Food Was Exquisite

Tired of eating stale rolls and microwaved rubbery chicken on flights? Well, stop complaining, because you're lucky if a flight even provides you a meal these days.

12. Meet Me At The Bar

This would have been everybody's favorite part of flying, obviously. Nowadays, you just have to sit in your small, cramped seat and order tiny bottles of wine, drink by yourself and watch some crummy sitcom on the small screen in front of you.

13. Bon Voyage!

Anyway, if you're traveling anywhere in the near future, I hope you enjoy your flight. Fingers crossed you'll have good in-flight entertainment, because apparently that's the only thing that's better now in air travel than it was 50 years ago.

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