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#FBF: Big Seats, Great Meals, Fancy Clothes: NYC to SF in a DC-8 Turbojet

Cross country flights used to be pretty snazzy back in the 1960s.

This is a quaint little vintage instructional video, filmed in 1961, from the days when movies were made on film, and Kennedy Airport was still called Idlewylde. The movie is called An Airplane Trip by Jet. The featured plane is United Airlines flight 801, a jet traveling from New York to San Francisco. This movie features nostalgic areal shots of Manhattan, Denver, and San Francisco.

The film is a rare find of a black and white period piece. It shows you the swinging jetway, through which passengers can board the plane directly from the waiting room. It shows the containers holding people’s luggage, and a unique proprietary system that loaded the containers the plane from underneath, with the help of a conveyor belt.  The video also shows the control tower where controllers direct jets and props around the field.  The film even takes you on a tour of the cockpit, from where the Captain has many instruments to help him man the plane.

Security seems a bit loose back in the day. There is no TSA yet.   And pets don’t seem to need to prove that they are up to date on their shots to board the plane as long as they have a ticket. The seats on the plane are way too roomy but after sitting in a middle seat on a cross-country flight, I wish it was still that way!   There’s even a lounge at the front of the plane. The flight attendants are called Hostesses. No one has a cell phone or a personal computer. What’s more, every man wears a hat.  It’s a look back at a simpler time.

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