The Playbook For The Modern Man

Old Swiss Air Photo Perfectly Depicts ‘Lost Era’ Of Business Class

“Golden years for sure.”

If first class is a gold-lacquered prison, business class is a jaw-wrenching jail. From networking opportunities with the rich and famous to the snuggly cone of trust, there are numerous benefits cattle class travellers miss out on.

But business and first class aren’t what they used to be. Though we’ve made leaps and bounds in ergonomics, privacy, comfort and technology, there’s a touch of authenticity many believe is missing from The Pointy End in 2020.

Why? Though the thrills of the Golden Age of air travel (banquet style food, lavished spacious seats, spoon-in-mouth service and fine wine) are still alive and kicking in the world’s top airlines’ premium cabins, the laissez-faire sense that ‘this is what travel is’ is lacking.

Don’t believe us? Cast an eye over economy – where the bulk of us spend our time.

Alternatively, check out the following image, posted by Instagram user @joanday, which shows a couple enjoying the signature service of Swiss Air business class during what appears to be the mid 80s.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by joanday (@joanday777) on

“Those were the days,” one commented.

“Mid 80s? Glad to have lived those years,” wrote another.

This comes amid a number of other juicy Pointy End Golden Age photos. Another shot posted by @joanday (an account dedicated to iconic aviation scenes) shows Singapore Airlines First Class cabin crew relaxing on the upper deck of a Boeing 747 (either that or the lounge), during – arguably – the peak of said era.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by joanday (@joanday777) on

@joanday has set nostalgic travellers’ eyeballs spinning with a number of other pictures too.

Other examples include a shot of Philippine Airlines first class on a Boeing 747 (which features what can only be described as a f*ck off bottle of champagne in the corner)…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by joanday (@joanday777) on

… a photo of British Airways’ first class in the 80s…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by joanday (@joanday777) on

… and an image of Cathay Pacific business class from the same era (Instagram user @travelconsulting wrote beneath the picture, “Looks like around late 80s from memory. The crew is hearing Hermes designed uniform prior to Nina Ricci”).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by joanday (@joanday777) on

This wasn’t the only comment made about uniforms. Another image, of an Iberia 747-200 flight over Spain from a similar time, attracted more praise: “The best uniform ever and of course the best aviation years with the DC10s, 757, 727 around, golden years for sure.”

It’s not all bad news though. As Business Insider reports, there are various areas the aviation industry is now miles ahead in (not to mention half the value of the above posts is in simple nostalgia).

“Flying, in general, is significantly more safe and reliable. According to data from the Flight Safety Foundation, the rate of fatal airliner accidents decreased from 4.2 per 1 million flight in 1977 to around 0.2 per million flights in 2017,” Business Insider reports.

“Then there’s the inflight experience. Modern first class cabins offer a greater degree of privacy, comfort, technology, and personalisation than the jet set could have ever imagined. With prices that could top $US40,000 for a round-trip, these tickets are far from affordable. Then again, neither was first class during the Golden Age of Flight.”

Champagne for thought.

Read Next



The playbook for the modern man

Get the very best of men's style, health, travel & culture delivered to your inbox.

Dont show me this again