Sunday, November 29, 2015

The 1970s: When air travel was like a big, wacky sitcom

This amusing postcard from the 1970s1 touts the Continental 747s, which were "the only 747s with 2 lounges and a pub." The advertising material on the back further states: "The Polynesian Pub, Continental's new Coach lounge ... a fun place to relax, eat fresh-popped popcorn, drink cold beer or cocktails and meet friendly people."

This postcard makes it look like you'd be meeting characters straight from a sitcom2, which might or might not have seemed attractive at the time. Let's take a closer look at some of these folks; all of the stereotypes are there...

The back of the postcard gives an even better sense of luxury airline travel 40+ years ago. Here's the message that was printed in neat handwriting:
"Dear Mother,
Guess who entertained us in the cocktail lounge of our 747 — two Playboy Bunnies (one being the Int. Playboy Bunny of the 1972 Year)! They are one board for a one week promotional stint.
For dinner we had a choice of Roast Duck à la Maxime's or Prime Rib plus spinach souflée [sic] and braised artichoke hearts! Such red carpet treatment.
We have our fingers crossed that all is going well for you. Thank you for making all this possible.
Love, Fred & Susan"
(I do not, by the way, know what Roast Duck à la Maxime's is.)

Here are links to some other websites that discuss this postcard and the phenomenon of in-flight lounges:

Of course, the smiles would have ended if these fun-filled flights, and those Hawaiian shirts, had been drawn into the Magnetic Plane Destroyer!

1. The postcard was mailed with a six-cent stamp. The postage rate for postcards was six cents from the middle of 1971 until early 1974.
2. Or one of those Airport movies with George Kennedy.