Classic Airline Advertisements

View from the Wing offers a great look through different TV commercials for Airlines.  I love checking out old airline advertisements, and the Air & Space Museum DC location has an exhibit with old ads, old flight attendant uniforms, and classic cabin layouts that is just awesome.


TWA ad (Source: TNGG)

Selling the experience of eating a meal on the plane.  Actually, that probably looks like my face when I get served a meal in First Class on US Airways, right before I actually taste it!


(Source: Etsy)

TWA circa 1954.  This is a reminder of how much airlines had to convince people that they actually wanted to fly.  While ads nowadays focus on what you can get from the airline specifically (low cost, great first class, etc), this ad is focused on explaining how you can get to places faster and easier when you fly.

Luckily for airlines now, people see them as a necessary evil, at the very least.  They can fight over who’s the best instead of convincing us it is faster to get to California from NYC via plane.

(Which reminds me of this Louis CK bit I’ve linked to before — “New York to California used to take 30 years… you’d be there with a different group of people by the time you got there!  Now you watch a movie and you’re there!”)

british airlines

(Source: Air Odyssey)

British Airways ad targeting the business traveler for their Concorde flights.  First of all, I love their depiction of what a business traveler looks like–Robert Morley.  In fact, that’s what I look like when I get on a plane.

Robert Morley, who as a child I only knew as that guy in that Muppet movie, was the spokesperson for British Airways for a while.


(Source: Aviation Explorer)

Okay, okay–this isn’t an airline, but the first sentence cracked me up.  “Obviously cost per mile is not your only criteria…” Yes it is!

Okay, okay, you don’t earn EQMs on a private jet.  And if they did earn EQMs, that would be a terrible cost-per-mile.  But I love this ad overall.

It reads like a sales call script, all the way up to “Sound like something which might interest your company?”

(Source: Vintage Ad Browser)

Northwest Orient Airlines ad from 1954 advertising their Boeing 377 Stratocruiser–which sorta makes me think of the “Dreamliner” tag name the 787s are getting.

The double-decker lounge idea of the 377s intrigues me, and I’ve always wanted to fly a flight with a bar/lounge on board (if anyone wants to help get me into Virgin’s new first class, let me know!).

If you like these ads, check out more from Vintage Ad Browser.  They have a whole section on airline ads, and I love scrolling through it.  Also, check out the Airline History section of the DC Air & Space museum.  That’s my favorite part!

Disclosure:  I do not have a relationship with any of these airlines, but I do have a relationship with the son of a retired airline pilot.  Hi, honey.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. If you want an awesome collection of the old uniforms check out Flight Path LAX next time you’re in LA. It is just off the south side of the airport and has some spectacular history and exhibits there. Not as well presented as the Smithsonian, perhaps, but still pretty cool. I visited Flight Path LAX back in 2010 and had a blast.

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