#FlashbackFriday The Golden Age of Travel

Civilized air travel

 Those of us of a certain age remember when air travel was a major event. I remember my first flight -- New York to London on Pan Am in the early 1970s. My sister and I were dressed up, complete with hats, purses and gloves. Our New York cousins were also dressed up when they came to JFK Airport to see us off. Below are some photos I found on my Pinterest board, The Golden Age of Travel.

And please follow my travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with my fellow About Travel Experts; and Travel-Go! There's Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air. You can also find my travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow me on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet.

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    These BOAC passengers are comfortable on an early precursor to sleeper seats on a relaxing on the sleeper seats on a new deHavilland Comet jet during a demonstration flight at the aircraft manufacturer's Hatfield, UK facility. 

  • 02 of 12
    Photo courtesy of the Kitschy Living blog

    Even if you didn't see the people in this photo, you'd know this was a flight taken in the 1970s. There are actual curtains on the aircraft window and the seats sport those autumn colors that were so popular in that decade.

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    Photo courtesy of the Daily Beast

    A couple enjoys service with a smile on an Air France flight, from the 1950s. Check out that amazing spread!

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    Photo courtesy of the Argonauticos Tumblr

    Can you imagine being able to fold down the seat next to you for extra space to hold your food, drinks and other sundry items on your next flight? It was possible in the 1960s.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    Photo courtesy of Air & Space magazine

    On January 11, 1943, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first president to fly on an airplane. He took a Pan Am Boeing 314 flying boat from Miami to Casablanca, Morocco, via stops in Trinidad and Brazil. 

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    Photo courtesy of rchappo2002 via Flickr

    United Airlines wanted to show off its new four-engine Douglas DC-8 jet with this ad. That seat is almost loveseat-like, and the large windows gave you a great view. The jet went into service for United on September 18, 1959.

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    Photo courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Florida

    These ladies are sitting aboard a Pan Am Boeing 307, circa between 1940 and 1947. The four-engined 307 had sleeping compartments and a pressurized cabin. The aircraft could carry 33 passengers in day flights and 25 at night, offering full course meals and dressing rooms.

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    Photo courtesy of North Carolina Modernist Houses

    This is the iconic home of TWA at John F. Kennedy Airport's Terminal 5. I had the chance to explore the terminal on a TWA flight I took to Tel Aviv in 1997. And who hasn't wanted to roam its halls after seeing the movie "Catch Me If You Can?"

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12
    Photo courtesy of the Daily Beast

    This woman is preparing for bed onboard a Boeing Stratocruiser. The aircraft set a new standard for luxurious air travel with its tastefully decorated extra-wide passenger cabin and gold-appointed dressing rooms. A circular staircase led to a lower deck beverage lounge, and flight attendants prepared hot meals for 50 to 100 people in a state-of-the-art galley. As a sleeper, the Stratocruiser was equipped with 28 upper-and-lower bunk units. Information courtesy of Boeing.

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    Image courtesy of Dovima2010, via Flickr

    This model standing in front of a vintage Pan Am aircraft just screams the golden age of travel. Remember when travelers used to dress for flights?

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    Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

    The date of this flight is unknown, but if I were guessing, I'd say it was the 1950s based on the clothing. It looks like it was the cocktail hour aboard this flight. 

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    Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

    The three-engined Lockheed L-1011 widebody jet is one of my favorite aircraft of all time. The first of the type was delivered to Eastern Air Lines in April 1972. It could carry up to 250 passengers from coast to coast and featured glare-resistant windows, full-sized hideaway closets for coats, and a below-deck galley, which lifted filet mignon and lamb chop dinners up to the main cabin via two elevators. It also had extra-wide aisles and overhead bins. History courtesy of Lockheed Martin.