What airports looked like in the 1950s and 1960s

Until Jetways were invented, all the passengers had to board airplanes by walking outside onto the tarmac and climbing a set of portable stairs. This was unsuitable for travelers because of weather conditions and the ability to change flights quickly. So the first corridor was installed by Delta Airlines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, and soon all the airports adopted them across the country.

In the golden old days, smoking was acceptable in public places, including airports. Airplanes were equipped with ashtrays in armrests so passengers could enjoy a cigarette during the flight. Still, soon the airports started to restrict smoking. Hence, the most congested area at the airport wasn’t the baggage claim but rather the first pedestal ashtray.

Tightened security at the airport nowadays prevents relatives from greeting arriving passengers or hugging them tightly before they depart. However, this was very common in the 50s and 60s, and many of you might still remember meeting people at the gate.

Watching airplanes take off and land was also a common thing. It was a free and exciting activity that many kids enjoyed with their parents back in the day. Every airport back then had an observation area outside the security checkpoint where the public could sit for hours and enjoy watching the play flying in and out.

Through the 1950s and 60s, being an air hostess or an air stewardess was seen as an elite career. However, the conditions for becoming a stewardess were stringent. Only young unmarried females were accepted, and their appearances were significant.

In the 50s and 60s, airlines would generously hand out food to travelers. However, airline food was something everyone always complained about. But once it was gone, the travelers wanted it back. You still find payphones in airports, but no one is waiting in queues to make business calls or inform your relatives like in the 50s and the 60s decade.

In those days, if your flight was delayed and you did not feel like reading, watching TV was one way to make the time fly quickly. Flying on airplanes was considered a privilege. The whole family would wear the best outfits to travel for a few hours. However, today’s comfort is how people fly with sweatpants and slip-on shoes becoming the norm.

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What airports looked like in the 1950s and 1960s