What Flying on an Airplane Used to Be Like

PHOTO: A stewardess serving drinks whilst passengers have lunch aboard a BEA Vickers Viking passenger plane, circa 1958.
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Remember when flying was fun?

In a week that saw three planes diverted because of passenger disputes over reclining seats, you probably don't. But before seats shrank, legroom all but disappeared and endless security lines inflicted panic, taking a flight was an adventure -- a fun one.

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In case you don't believe us, these photos are proof:

PHOTO: Twin sisters having breakfast aboard a Clipper of Pan American Airways flight during the crossing of the Atlantic, after the U.S. carrier inaugurated the line between New York and London, May 1952.
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PHOTO: Twin sisters having breakfast aboard a Clipper of Pan American Airways flight during the crossing of the Atlantic, after the U.S. carrier inaugurated the line between New York and London, May 1952.

Are those satin robes? And smiles? These sisters look like they're having a blast on a flight from New York to London in 1952.

PHOTO: An interior view of the first-class compartment of a commercial passenger plane, 1950s.
Authenticated News/Getty Images
PHOTO: An interior view of the first-class compartment of a commercial passenger plane, 1950s.

This is what first-class used to look like.

It's hard to believe there was ever that much legroom on a commercial plane. This photo was taken in the 1950s.

PHOTO: The interior of a BEA Vickers showing the passenger section, where the stewardess is about to serve lunch, circa 1960.
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PHOTO: The interior of a BEA Vickers showing the passenger section, where the stewardess is about to serve lunch, circa 1960.

Take note, everyone. There are no screaming, punching or crying passengers to be seen.

Also noticeably absent? Tablets, smartphones, headphones and portable game devices. This photo was taken about half a century ago, when people quietly read newspapers and books on airplanes.

PHOTO: An interior view of the first-class compartment of a commercial passenger plane, a Boeing, 1950s.
Authenticated News/Getty Images
PHOTO: An interior view of the first-class compartment of a commercial passenger plane, a Boeing, 1950s.

Wait a minute -- is that real silverware? In the 1950s, passengers were treated to actual forks, knives and glasses for dinner and cocktails. Today, we're lucky if we get peanuts.

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