Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Retro Photos From the Golden Years of Flying

Written by Christopher Alm • September 14th, 2009
Retro Photos From the Golden Years of Flying

You love stewardesses don’t you? So do I. Flying today is not the way it was used to be, so to remind you all of how elegant, exciting and swank traveling by airplane used to be here are a bunch of photos taken from the golden years of flying circa 1950s to the 1970s.

For a real life story on how flying used to be, check out the story I did with former Pan Am stewardess Valerie Waterman.

Which is your favorite still in operation airline?

Source Vacations    Thanks Chester

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • Cam
  • There was a lady who came into a store I used to work at that worked for Braniff Airlines in the 60’s I believe. I didn’t get to talk to her personally, but now I wish I had of.

  • Not everything is as it would seem. Sex sells. In reality, a transcontinental flight in the early 1960’s would have (more often than not) been aboard a smoke-filled, non air conditioned Douglas DC-3. And the cabin wasn’t pressurized. Not the most enjoyable thing I can think of. But still probably better than the endless amount of security BS you have to go through today!

  • @Bryan Interesting. I thought they would have used a 707 or a DC8 in the early 1960s though?

  • They were all being used. Braniff actually began using the 707 in ’59. But propeller-driven aircraft was still the mainstay for many years. It’s funny how new technology is always slow to catch on. To put it in prospective, in 1960, 40 million Americans still used outhouses! That was only 20% of the population. But still, that’s a hell of a lot of people. (ok, it’s becoming obvious I have waaay too much time on my hands….I’d better shut up now!)

  • bigmallrat

    Wasn't Braniff known for it's high-fashion attire? Not only flight attendants, but also the fabrics used in the aircraft? I guess with the airline industry regulated at the time, a firm's differentiator could be style. After deregulation, price became the new focus. Nevertheless, flight attendants still adorn fashionable clothing, but not the kind that ends up in magazines. How practical is a mini-skirt in the unlikely event of a water landing? :)

  • Indeed, they hired Emilio Pucci to do their uniforms and style their aircraft fleet. Branniff was certainly “out there” in the 1960s and 1970s. But they went bankrupt like so many other airlines after the oil crisis.

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