You may remember, or at least have heard of, the Golden Age of flying, when lounges had piano bars and took up large sections of the plane, and good food was free in all classes. And although passengers didn’t have touch-screen TVs to keep them entertained, there were other ways travelers busied themselves on long- and short-haul flights during the 50s and 60s.
Although many passengers read while flying, there were other interesting activities people indulged themselves in, some of which we still wish existed today! Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting ones:
(Video source: Daniel Reynolds) / YouTube
One of the best types of onboard entertainment was the dining experience. It was served in multiple courses and everyone, in every class, were able to enjoy fine dinging—from white tablecloths and nice dinnerware to flight attendants wearing white coats coming down the aisle with a large cart full of food. You could see almost all the meal options right in front of you like a mini buffet. If you were in first class, you can head over to the lounge and enjoy your meal there, accompanied by other travelers and even the pilot. Conversations were endless, drinks continued to pour, and smoke from cigarettes filled the space.
If you had an economy ticket, relaxing in the designated lounge was not an option, however, travelers found other onboard entertainment options, including card games or even board games. At times, pilots would sit down with kids who were interested in becoming a pilot themselves, explaining them the flight route the airplane was taking. Children could become part of Junior Flyers, which was a club for kids who were interested in flying. Coloring books, storybooks, and wing pins were handed out to them, which many collect throughout the years.
Other onboard entertainment options included tea time (which was popular in all classes), knitting (although this is now prohibited due to safety), and working on typewriters (although we can’t imagine how much of a hassle that would have been to carry around).
One thing was clear, onboard entertainment options 70 years ago were much more community-oriented, and although we may never see any of the above ever again, we can at least reminiscence of how it used to be.
How do you currently entertain yourself while flying short- and/or long-haul flights?