The Way It Was: Nostalgic Images from the Glory Days of Air Travel

Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet by Keith Lovegrove is a tribute to that the era of luxury air travel. Using ephemera, promotional images, and fashion shoots, it brings back the time when the trends broke first amidst the clouds and the center aisle was the catwalk of its day. This was the world of travel when Frommer's first began publishing. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
It’s one thing to hear stories about how glamorous airline travel used to be. Seeing it with your own eyes—and seeing the style and dignity that’s been lost—can all but break your spirit. The new book Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet by Keith Lovegrove is a tribute to that era. Using ephemera, promotional images, and fashion shoots, it brings back the time when the trends broke first amidst the clouds and the center aisle was the catwalk of its day. This was the world of travel when Frommer's first began publishing.
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Lufthansa flight and ground crew, 1933. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
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Betty Lou Rubie, of Pan American Airlines, was presented with The Stewardess Who Has Travelled The Longest Distance in a Week Serving Drinks prize. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
The Dorchester Hotel, London, 1955: Betty Lou Rubie, of Pan American Airlines, was presented with The Stewardess Who Has Travelled The Longest Distance in a Week Serving Drinks prize. A pedometer strapped to her leg recorded the miles travelled.
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Japan Airlines’ retro line-up Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
Japan Airlines’ retro line-up, designed by, from right to left: 1951-54 Minoru Kadota; 1954-60 and 1960-67 Mohei Ito; 1967-70, 1970-77 and 1977-87 Hanae Mori; and 1988-96 Shigenobu Motoi.
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Court Line Aviation livery Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
Mary Quant echoed the colors of Court Line Aviation’s livery for her uniform design. A camel-colored overcoat or jacket was worn over a cotton blouse in bright pink, magenta, orange, or turquoise. A pink denim apron was worn for cabin service. The uniforms were modeled by Anne, Claire, Jenny and Lorraine at Luton Airport, U.K., in 1973.
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Breakfast in bed for a ‘Monarch’ class passenger on board a BOAC Stratocruiser, 1950s. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
Mealtime on a ‘Monarch’ class passenger on board a BOAC Stratocruiser, 1950s. The airline later became British Airways.
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Lunch in first class on board a BEA Vickers Viscount, 1953. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
Lunch in first class on board a BEA Vickers Viscount, 1953. Flying was still a luxurious mode of transport, with space for congenial eating and seating arrangements; one could also enjoy an after-dinner smoke.
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A wood-and-plastic travel agents’ model shows the two decks and seating configuration on board the ‘double-bubble’ Stratocruiser. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
A wood-and-plastic travel agents’ model shows the two decks and seating configuration on board the ‘double-bubble’ Stratocruiser. Travel sellers used these models to give customers a preview of the luxury that awaited them on their flights.
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Proud parents look on as their son demonstrates smooth flying on board the jet-propelled de Havilland Comet IV, 1958. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
Proud parents look on as their son demonstrates smooth flying on board the jet-propelled de Havilland Comet IV, 1958.
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American Airlines stewardesses Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing, Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
American Airlines stewardesses face the press in the mid-1970s. Today, we'd call them "flight attendants," and they are fond of reminding us they are primarily there for your safety, not necessarily your service.
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