When Airplanes Were Like a 'Luxurious, High-Speed Bus'

Many people will be flying over the next two weekends, in hopes of squeezing the last goodness out of summer. That will require trudging through airports and cramming into winged tin cans. As you settle into an uncomfortable chair with a $6 bagel to wait for a plane that’s three hours late, think of this British Movietone newsreel from the early days of air travel.

The announcer cheerfully takes us to an international air travel fair at Biggin Hill, in the U.K. “The purpose behind it is to sew the idea of air travel to those who’ve ever flown before, either because they think it’s too expensive or too dangerous.”

“Visitors were invited to come aboard and see for themselves that the modern airliner is really just a luxurious, high-speed bus.” Truly a more innocent time.

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Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

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DISCUSSION

I remember flying as a kid. We’d get all dressed up. I’d have a Pan Am bag packed with Barbies and Mad Libs. Your vacation started the minute you walked down the gangway. The pilot would greet you. The stewardess would give you plastic wings, a deck of cards. Blankets and pillows. The food was great, eaten with real silver (Mr.r still has a knife and fork from Eastern Airlines). They had great radio channels. You could listen to Mantovani, Mancini, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Miles Davis or Alan Sherman (Bill Cosby too. POS). Out of all my memories of “The Good Old Days” these make me the most nostalgic. It’s so hard for people who never experienced it to imagine it as a treat, but it was like an adventure. I realize that there are plenty of airlines/destinations where luxury still abounds, but back then it was every queen a traveler and every traveler a queen. (I still get “dressed” up to fly. Mr.r gets a kick out of it and indulges me by wearing pants)