Back during the golden age of travel, airlines around the world pulled out all the stops to use advertising to tempt people to fly to their top destinations. In these ads, they used tricks including high-end art, pretty women, fantastic destinations, modern aircraft and amazing claims to get butts in seats. Below are 10 of my favorites found on my Pinterest board, Classic Airline Advertisements.
This ad, from the 1970s, is touting the Dallas-based carrier's Boeing 747 service from Los Angeles International Airport to points in South America. The airline took its first 747 in 1970 and began using it to fly from Dallas to Hawaii. It became the flagship aircraft in the Braniff fleet, with 11 of the type. Before its demise in May 1982, Braniff created hubs in LA and Boston and boosted Dallas flights to offer 747 flights to cities including Guam, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels Santiago, Buenos Aires and Lima. You're welcome, Henry!
The New York-based carrier used the Oscar and its trademark Constellation aircraft in this 1957 ad to highlight its global reach. The Connie was a 44-seat pressurized high-speed turboprop built by the Lockheed Corporation that became the star of TWA's fleet. The company created the aircraft in hopes of attracting TWA, then owned by Howard Hughes. He demanded that the company keep plans for the aircraft secret, and got the manufacturer to agree that it couldn’t sell the Connie to any other airline until TWA had 35 in its fleet; it eventually had 40 of the type before retiring it in 1967.
The U.S. foreign flag carrier used a pilot and a family in this 1956 ad to show all the destinations travelers could reach via its iconic Boeing Stratocruiser Clipper aircraft fleet, which was created from the military B-29 Superfortress. The aircraft, which seated between 50 and 100 passengers, also had 28 upper-and-lower sleeper bunks for first class passengers. Pan Am introduced the aircraft type in 1949, and eventually had 28 Stratocruisers that it used for long-haul flights.
This 1950 ad by the Chicago-based carrier highlights its "modern" Boeing Mainline Stratocruiser fleet and puts its flights to Hawaii in the spotlight. The airline’s plane featured a spacious three-compartment cabin, lower deck cocktail lounge, private stateroom and sea level cabin pressure at 15,500 feet. United wanted to cater to female flyers by offering two onboard dressing rooms, accommodating up to six travelers, that featured a sofa, two mirrored make-up tables with cleaning tissue dispenser, disposal unit and ash tray, two separate toilet compartments, a dental basin and mirrors that allowed for full-length viewing.
The U.K.'s flag carrier used a minimalist, but effective approach to sell its' Concorde supersonic jet service in the 1970s. The seven jets in the fleet could accommodate 100 passengers and six cabin crew, flying at a top speed of up to Mach 2. British Airways could fly Concorde between New York and London in under three hours. The first BA Concorde flight was London Heathrow to Bahrain on Jan. 21, 1976, while the last was JFK Airport to London Heathrow on October 24, 2003.
This 1950s ad from the Atlanta-based airline makes me want to hop a Douglas DC-7 right down to Miami. The initial routes on the DC-7 were Chicago-Miami. The airline expanded that to San Juan and Caracas from New Orleans; and to Washington, D.C. and New York from Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. Delta introduced DC-7 Golden Crown Service on February 1, 1956, with extra onboard amenities, including a typewriter and shavers. The carrier ended up with 21 of the type before retiring it in 1967.
The now-defunct Belgian flag airline used an iconic image of one of its stewardesses to ease travelers' fears about air travel in this ad from the 1950s. In the background was one of the carrier’s 40-seat Convair CV-240, first operated in 1949, which replaced a fleet of Douglas DC-3s.
The Miami-based carrier helped Boeing develop this Boeing three-engined jet that it dubbed the Whisperjet. Eastern, along with United Airlines, were the launch customer for the 727, ordering 40 each. Those carriers, along with American Airlines, helped develop the jet. It was designed for airports that couldn’t accommodate the four-engined Boeing 707 jet. The manufacturer took a big risk in launching the jet, hoping to sell 250 of the type. But Boeing ended up building 1,832, with the last one built in September 1984.
The Los Angeles-based carrier -- which merged with Delta Air Lines in 1987 -- used this 1950s ad to tout its Douglas DC-6 service to Palm Springs. The DC-6 is a four-prop aircraft, built between 1946 and 1958, that seated between 52 and 102 passengers and three crewmembers. In a history of Western Airlines, flight attendant Mary Grace Mahey said the DC-6 changed the carrier because it was a “sociable airplane.” There was a lounge that seated six and it offered champagne.
The St. Paul, Minnesota-based carrier -- which merged with Delta Air Lines in 2008 -- used this ad to show off all the domestic and international flights flown by its fleet of 16 Boeing 747s. The airline was one of two U.S.-based carriers -- United being the other -- to operate the 747-400. The airline used its 747s on routes including Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, Guam, Saipan, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. Delta Air Lines took over the Northwest fleet after its merger in 2008, and will retire the fleet in 2017.
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