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raveling by air has become the second most common mode of transportation in the world, but this wasn’t the case back in the 1970s as traveling by airplane was very expensive. In the early 1970s, many people did not see it as a safe means of transportation, although today this is considered the safest mode of transportation in the world.

The average price of a ticket was around $550, if we take into consideration inflation, that would be $3200 today. That is a lot of money with which the average Joe could have bought a good second-hand car. However, these flights had this price point for a reason, they were glooming in luxury. Today’s common flights are seen more like a long bus ride, but back in the day, you were welcomed in what seemed like the lounge of a fancy hotel.

People were allowed to walk freely in the aircraft even if light turbulence occurred. They enjoyed meals that were actually cooked on board the plane in what looked like small restaurants. The bathrooms were quite spacious and looked more like the bathrooms that you would see inside a house rather than how bathrooms look in normal planes. These sections were inspired by luxury train wagons from the 1950s.

The restaurant section from a Boeing 314 (Source: The Boeing Company)

What is imperative to mention is that these were not first-class tickets, this was what every passenger was receiving. Once again, the planes didn’t need to have a lot of seats because there were only a few people that were using this means of transportation. As time passed, the industry became hungrier for profit by turning common planes into containers that could fit as many seats as possible and having separate planes for business class passengers that pay half of the price of a brand new car for a ticket.

Music band playing in an airplane circa the 1970s (Source: The Boeing Company)

Yet, besides all the technological advancements I think it was more luxurious back in the day, or at least more groovy. In some airliners, the lounge even had a piano or even a full music band for entertainment. As we know, the 1970s were all about music, something that was enjoyed by everyone and made the flight more pleasant. Some of the bigger airliners such as the Boeing 747 even had a couple of separate rooms with full-size beds.

The bedroom section of a Boeing 747 (Source: The Boeing Company)

For that period, flying was more than a means of transportation, it was an entertaining experience that made it worth every penny. Besides the reminding turbulences, most people would even forget that they were flying from the experience they were living.

Another interesting fact compared to today’s common flight experience was that passengers were allowed to smoke on board. Today, smoking inside a plane is completely prohibited as any source of fire is a risk to the safety of the passengers.

Those times really showcase that the focus was on the passenger/customer, who was taken care of from departure until arrival by a handful of stewardesses. By the late 1970s, most airline companies had separated these luxury flights into separate classes in order to attract more customers at affordable prices.

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