Golden Age of Flying

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It was expensive

  • It was more expensive, back then you could expect to pay 40% more than you would pay today.
  1. An average person in the 1950s would pay 5% of his yearly salary.
  2. “Varying on the route, it was four or five times as expensive to fly in the Golden Age” (de Syon).
  3. “If you were a secretary, it might cost you a month’s salary to take even a short flight” (de Syon).


It could have been considered scary and dangerous

  • You had a greater chance of being killed because back then there were a lot more plane crashes and flight accidents
  1. Back then there were glass dividers that looked nice, but could break and hurt the passengers during accidents or even during the regular flight.
  2. The planes interior wasn’t thought through, it wasn’t very safe. You could land on a sharp edge or jag of a chair or table just walking to the bathroom.
  3. “In the 1950s, people were afraid to fly, and for a good reason” (de Syon).

Flights became somewhat boring

  1. At the time the passengers were given postcards when they boarded to write about their flight to the people on the ground.
  2. After the postcards ran out, there wasn’t much to do besides read a book, newspaper, or magazine, or even talk to the person next to you. If nothing else to do most just smoked, and drank.

Most would find flying in the Golden Age to be gross

  • You could smoke on the flights. Cigarettes, pipes, and even cigars.
  1. The only time you weren’t allowed to smoke on airplanes was when you were on the ground because the airlines were afraid the smoking might ignite refueling fumes.
  • There was a lot of alcoholism
  1. To fly back then you were served as much free booze as you could drink
  2. People tended to drink just to keep themselves entertained
  • Alcoholic air rage didn’t exist then as it does today. But all the other drunken behavior still occurred. People still would stumble down the aisle, molesting stewardesses, singing loudly, and profusely vomiting

It was racist

  • Only whites really flew, many minorities just couldn’t afford it.
  • Even if you could afford to buy a ticket as a minority there was a big chance you wouldn’t be allowed into the same planes as whites.
  • “It wasn’t until the late 1960s and 1970s when things started changing. It may have been the Golden Age of Flying, but it was also a very racist age” (de Syon).
  • “In the 1950s, some airlines would train their phone operators to try to identify the voices of African Americans, then put them on certain flights, and not on others” (de Syon).

The Good

  • Airline security didn’t exist
  1. Compared to today when it was recommended to get there 3 hours ahead of time in order to be able to catch your flight, back then it was only 30 minutes that you had to be there ahead of time.
  • You had plenty of legroom even the people in the lower class
  • Once abroad all the service was complimentary
  • It should be mentioned that “the Golden Age of Flying meant paying an exorbitant amount of money to lock yourself in a pneumatic tube full of smoke and vomit, where the only possible relief from the mind-numbing boredom of travel was the significantly greater prospect of your own death or dismemberment.” (de Syon).
  • “The Golden Age of Flying was an age where very few of us could have flown, and when only slightly more of us would likely have wanted to” (de Syon).