What Your Typical Day Was Like During ‘The Golden Age’ Of Commercial Flying

From the 1950s to the 1970s, flying was a luxurious experience. Aviation historian Graham M. Simons recalls it as a time of elegance, with spacious seats and stylish crew. Passengers dressed up, adding to the sense of occasion.

Flight options were limited and costly. A round-trip ticket from Chicago to Phoenix in 1955 cost $138, about $1,200 today. Aviation expert Guillaume de Syon notes that flying was four to five times more expensive than now, making it accessible only to the wealthy.

Airlines served lavish meals with delicacies like caviar and foie gras. Some even hosted fashion shows on board. Former flight attendant Suzy Smith remembers serving beluga caviar during flights.

Flying felt like a cocktail party. Passengers dressed formally, and relaxed security allowed unusual items like pet birds in shoeboxes. This freedom contributed to a laid-back atmosphere.

Pan Am epitomized luxury and glamour. Former employee Joan Policastro recalls star-studded flights with exclusive lounges.

Flight attendants had strict appearance standards, wearing high heels, white gloves, and corsets. Airlines imposed rules on appearance, hair length, weight, and marital status.

Despite its end, the Golden Age of flying is fondly remembered. Groups like World Wings, former Pan Am employees, cherish memories of when flying was an adventure synonymous with luxury and excitement.