23 vintage photos that show how glamorous flying used to be

BOAC Cabin service 2

Although flying today is cheaper, safer, and faster than it’s ever been, it’s becoming an increasingly unpleasant experience as airlines cram more passengers into planes, causing overcrowding and delays.

It’s enough to make travellers wish for the golden age of aviation.

We found vintage photos from 1946 to 1970, sourced from Iberia, KLM, Delta, British Airways and Air France, that show just how glamorous flying used to be.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”were-grateful-that-smoking-is-no-longer-permitted-on-planes-but-we-cant-deny-this-guys-got-style-1″
title=”We’re grateful that smoking is no longer permitted on planes, but we can’t deny this guy’s got style.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4db6da811994537e6bc”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”with-todays-lie-flat-beds-in-first-and-business-class-not-all-that-much-has-changed-since-1949-on-a-klm-flight-2″
title=”With today’s lie-flat beds in first and business class, not all that much has changed since 1949 on a KLM flight.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4db69bedd9418169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”seats-on-delta-have-definitely-shrunk-since-1959-3″
title=”Seats on Delta have definitely shrunk since 1959.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592cf60ecad044e4e169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.deltamuseum.org/”
]
[slide
permalink=”bunk-beds-on-klm-however-wed-love-to-see-making-a-comeback-4″
title=”Bunk beds (on KLM), however, we’d love to see making a comeback.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4dceab8eab419169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”flight-attendants-used-to-really-dote-on-passengers-5″
title=”Flight attendants used to really dote on passengers.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4daeab8ea3d1d169e92″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”extra-pillow-service-was-a-nice-touch-6″
title=”Extra pillow service was a nice touch.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4da6bb3f7d17b169e91″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”instead-of-staring-into-screens-kids-would-get-a-geography-lesson–at-least-on-this-iberia-flight-7″
title=”Instead of staring into screens, kids would get a geography lesson — at least on this Iberia flight.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4daeab8ea371a169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”plane-food-was-made-fresh-on-klm-in-1958-and-even-hand-delivered-by-the-chef-is-that-caviar-8″
title=”Plane food was made fresh on KLM in 1958, and even hand-delivered by the chef. Is that caviar?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4daecad041763169e92″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”meals-were-decadent-on-this-british-airways-flight-in-the-60s-9″
title=”Meals were decadent on this British Airways flight in the ’60s.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d9da6da811436037e6ba”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”ba-flight-attendants-even-hand-carved-entire-hams-10″
title=”BA flight attendants even hand-carved entire hams.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d9cf6bb3f7c014169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”rather-than-prepackaged-in-tin-foil-steak-was-cut-seat-side-11″
title=”Rather than prepackaged in tin foil, steak was cut seat-side.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4dc69bedd8d18169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”cocktails-on-ba-were-made-to-order-and-there-were-real-bars-to-enjoy-them-in-12″
title=”Cocktails on BA were made to order, and there were real bars to enjoy them in.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d9c3eab8ea6e30169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-whole-set-up-was-just-really-social-on-this-1971-klm-flight-comparatively-flying-today-is-like-being-on-an-airborne-bus-13″
title=”The whole set up was just really social on this 1971 KLM flight. Comparatively, flying today is like being on an airborne bus.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4dcecad040a68169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”people-played-cards-14″
title=”People played cards!”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592da8d6bb3f74f16169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”a-lot-of-cards-thats-probably-the-downside-to-not-having-entertainment-centers-in-every-seat-15″
title=”A lot of cards. That’s probably the downside to not having entertainment centres in every seat.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592cf606da811842837e6bb”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.deltamuseum.org/”
]
[slide
permalink=”hopefully-you-knew-your-fellow-travelers-otherwise-this-set-up-could-be-pretty-awkward-16″
title=”Hopefully you knew your fellow travellers, otherwise this set up could be pretty awkward.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592cf606bb3f75566169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.deltamuseum.org/”
]
[slide
permalink=”pedro-rodriguez-the-spanish-it-designer-of-the-60s-and-70s-designed-the-classy-but-authoritative-iberia-uniform-17″
title=”Pedro Rodríguez, the Spanish it-designer of the ’60s and ’70s, designed the classy but authoritative Iberia uniform.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4da6bb3f7337b169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”these-are-iberias-airline-hostesses-theyre-not-flight-attendants-and-certainly-not-stewardesses-18″
title=”These are Iberia’s airline ‘hostesses.’ They’re not flight attendants, and certainly not stewardesses.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4da6bb3f7627d169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”this-1946-iberia-uniform-on-the-other-hand-has-something-vaguely-nautical-about-it-19″
title=”This 1946 Iberia uniform, on the other hand, has something vaguely nautical about it.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4daecad04a563169e93″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”most-uniforms-included-hats-20″
title=”Most uniforms included hats.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d4daeab8ea8b1d169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”the-hats-were-great-21″
title=”The hats were great.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592cf6069bedd837b169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.deltamuseum.org/”
]
[slide
permalink=”deltas-colorful-summer-uniforms-in-the-late-60s-really-capture-the-essence-of-the-time-22″
title=”Delta’s colourful summer uniforms in the late ’60s really capture the essence of the time.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592cf60eab8ead103169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.deltamuseum.org/”
]
[slide
permalink=”this-cute-little-number-worn-in-1967-was-known-as-british-airways-then-still-the-british-overseas-airways-corporation-paper-dress-23″
title=”This cute little number, worn in 1967, was known as British Airways’ (then still the British Overseas Airways Corporation) ‘paper dress.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5592d9efeab8ea9b2d169e90″
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]