There used to be a lot of amenities, but they were gradually eliminated after President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978 and cost-effectiveness suddenly became a corporate concern. Here are 11 things that we never see on most commercial flights today that were common in days of yore.
Traveling by airplane is a lot different than it used to be. And we’re not just talking about the elaborate and cumbersome security restrictions that get added every time some wacko sticks a bomb in his BVDs.
1. Sleeping Berths
In the late 1940s, the Boeing Stratocruiser was described by the company as being “just like the magic carpet.” Besides a beautifully appointed ladies’ lounge and reclining springy club chairs, every seat in the main cabin (not just first class) could be adjusted and manipulated to form enough sleeping berths (top photo) to accommodate each passenger.
3. Champagne in Coach
4. Table-side Meat Carving
Pan Am’s 707 Clippers used to offer restaurant-quality meals served seatside by an on-board chef on their trans-Atlantic flights.
From 1970 to about 1974, American Airlines featured a piano lounge in the rear of their 747s. The instrument in question was a Wurlitzer electric piano that required frequent repairs due to over-enthusiastic music lovers spilling their cocktails on the keys. What could be more relaxing on a cross-country flight than a gaggle of intoxicated folks singing “Shine on Harvest Moon” off-key?
6. Flight Attendants in Hot Pants
Some changes are for the better.