The Saturday Evening Post History Minute: The Golden Age of Air Travel

In its heyday, commercial flights featured wide seats, lavish meals, and impeccable service…along with a hefty price tag.

Family waving goodby to their father as he boards a plane

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When the Post first discussed the possibilities of commercial flying 100 years ago, it definitely needed improvement. By the 1950s, people were flying in luxury. How does flying today compare to the Golden Age of air travel?

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Comments

  1. The Golden Age of Air Travel is yet another great Post video, Jeff. It’s another example of something that at one time was extraordinary and gradually became ordinary over time, making the extravagances described here, unsustainable.

    In discussing the golden era vs. today it comes down to trade offs, both good and bad. Frankly the public isn’t as sophisticated today as they were then, and wouldn’t appreciate the fine dining and extra luxury now anyway. Things are also too fast-paced and circumstances otherwise completely different socially and economically. Much of this applies to autos as well:

    Cars (in their Golden Age) had many beautiful body styles to choose from. For the past 30 years, it’s been very few other than trucks, truck-based SUV’s, and rent-a-car style 4-door sedans. One of the big (and important) trade offs here is that they’re safer. That’s huge. Still, I miss the eye-candy of GM’s personal luxury ’70-’77 Grand Prix/Monte Carlo, and the equally sleek and sexy ’77-’79 Mercury Cougar XR7 with those beautiful Lincoln touches, is a particular favorite. If you don’t know it, it’s understandable. Simply Google its image.

    Flying now is something you do when you have to, and hope there aren’t any weird/drunk people that will cause trouble up there like we hear about so frequently on Nightly News and World News Tonight, other than the latest crisis in California or involving the President. Tranquilizing your mind ahead of time is wonderful.

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