Vintage 1970s Airline Lounges Make Us Dream of Retro Travel

The 1970s were a time of flashy colors, swank music, and a retro-futuristic feel that pervaded everything — including the travel industry, which was just then becoming more accessible to the middle class. And what better way to market this new form of travel to the masses than by showing the public how the high-rollers lived: in First Class luxury.

The above slide show contains images and video from 1970s airline lounges. Many of them are just publicity stills and not actual planes, but some are, and it’s stunning to see how much space was dedicated to enjoying yourself when compared to the sardine-line cramped quarters most people are forced to fly on today.

As the website Sploid (a subsite of Gizmodo) put it:

The idea of the Boeing 747 started in the 1960s, when Pan Am asked Boeing for 400-seat plane.Pan Am’s chairman Juan Trippe had a flying ocean liner in mind, a double-decker jet. But the design team at Boeing didn’t think this was a good idea. They favored a wide-body design because, back then, it made more sense from an engineering, economical, and safety point of view. The Airbus A380 changed this decades later.

The slide show above also contains three videos. The first is a vintage American Airlines 747 Coach Lounge Commercial. It’s narrated by NBCs evening news’ Chet Huntly, and features Henry Winkler, better known in those days as The Fonz from the TV series Happy Days. They focus on the airline’s piano bar.

The second video shows footage of the Boeing 747’s First Class Lounge, where a stewardess (because that’s what they were called then) will cut you a piece of prime rib right at your table / seat.

Finally, we have a video rounding out the shole thing, which features a bunch of Boeing 747 Classic Cabin Schemes.