Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies in the 60's and 70's

It's summertime and travel time for many,so I thought that this would be a good time to reminisce about flying the airlines back in the 1950's 60's and 70's.  My Dad worked for United Airlines at San Francisco from 1956 to 1994 at the maintenance base at San Francisco as a jet mechanic.  As a perk, employees could travel on "passes" with their family members for a nominal price.  (I seem to remember my Dad paying $8  for each of us to fly to Seattle to see my Grandmother).  Check in was quick...the security measures of today were not needed.  As employees on a pass, we would have to wait to see if there were seats available for us, which 99.9% of the time there were.  The stewardesses were always attractive, thin and very charming.  The "stewies" had very strict standards to follow.  If a stewardess put on a few water weight pounds, she could be grounded until the weight came off.  I'm talking 5 lbs!  The seats and leg-room were comfortable.  Meals and beverages provided were top notch and included in your air fare.  On many a flight from SFO to Seattle, we were offered eggs benedict, coffee, orange juice on heavy china, nice silverware and cloth napkins.  There were little disposable plastic salt and pepper shakers for each passenger.  The stewardesses would push these heavy metal carts up and down the aisles with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, peanuts, or macadamia nuts.  Kids would receive either a Junior Stewardess or Junior Pilot wings (of course the girls received the stewardess pins and the boys received the pilot pins, ha ha).    They were metal in the 50's and 60's, then transitioned to plastic in the 70's.  If you were chilly, they offered a wool blanket with the United Airlines Shield on it.  A complimentary magazine was available in the pocket of the seat in front of you.  On longer flights, movies were available.  United used to offer "red carpet service" where they would actually roll out a red carpet for passengers to board a flight.  In the 1950's, there was a "Men Only" flying club.  Wow.  Here's a few photos that might bring back a few memories...I've included photos of other airline stewardesses too...they look like they could be models or Playboy Bunnies.
Do you remember these commercial jingles, "Fly the Friendly Skies of United!" or "Take me along, if -you- love- a- me?"   These are great memories for me.....I don't think that I will ever enjoy flying like I did back then. 

Lastly, cut and paste this link into your address bar to view a great old  1970's United TV Commercial, stewardesses graduating from school!  Tres cool!


  1. Love this. As mentioned b4, my dad worked for UAL too. He was a mechanic and later a mechanic inspector. I have a feeling our dads may have known each other. He was there from 1948 til about 1987. Your dad sure had some serious seniority! Do you also recall the jingle, "United we fly. Ruling the sky. 50,000 strong we're gonna see you're satisfied. Working together...come fly the friendly skies!" I think that's how it went. My mom still has the plastic blue flimsy record with that song on it.

  2. Hi Margaret Oh my gosh Lynda and I just bought a 1947 Boles Aero today and I wqas on here looking for a 1947 Boles and ran in to your web site. I did not know you had a Boles. We sure had fun in Tahoe.I well have to call you this week some time and chat. We are headed out for the OR cost on Wed night.
    Chuck Riffle Bosie ,Idaho