Women in Airline Advertisements of the 1950s

Featured — By Rachel Greenberg on July 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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In 2010 airlines started charging for carry-on items and for using the bathroom, ah how things have changed since the 50’s! When commercial flights were just beginning to…take off, popular airlines of the day focused their advertising efforts on showing the charm of their female flight attendants, the gentility of their passengers, and the exotic local women of the foreign lands they flew to.

Although it’s easy to romanticize the elegance of airlines past, many of their advertisements portray sexist scenes and culturally insensitive images of women, especially by today’s standards. Even though these ads would never run today, they can still be appreciated for their intrinsically beautiful design and the important time in aviation history they represent.

Japan Air Lines, 1959

Image: What Makes The Pie Shops Tick/ Flickr

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Tags: 1950s, Advertisment, airlines, American Airlines, Braniff, Capital, Czech Airlines, Delta, Japan Airlines, National Airlines, Pan American Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, stewardesses, Swiss Air, TWA, United


  • Travel With a Mate says:

    An interesting collection there. I’ve seen a more recent collection of 60’s and 70’s airline advertisements so it’s great to see some earlier examples. Back when of flying was a luxury and the service was a little better too!

  • Alexi Ueltzen says:

    I need some of these outfits.

  • Zanni Davis says:

    Wish I was born about 60 years ago so I could eat a meal on TWA….all i get now is peanuts!

  • The Guitar Hero says:

    I think some of those flight attendants may still be flying.

  • Kirstin says:

    Love the ads! Really fascinating!

  • Pete says:

    the Article is great, just one minor correction. Czech Airlines poster can not be a 1950s poster, as Czech Airlines were established in 1993

  • Joel Bader says:

    The advertisers really knew how to attract the attention of the well-paid (male–we must assume) audience back then. With all apologies to Vance Packard’s classic The Hidden Persuaders (a book about advertising) the message and means of delivering that message was forthright–sex appeal sells!!!


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