Classic 1980 Photo Shows What’s Missing From Economy Travel In 2021

Spare us the celebrity chefs and amenity kits; give us space.

Whether your feet are nailed to the floor à la Australia or whether you are taking baby steps out into the world again à la Europe, we can still all enjoy a little reminiscing.

Enter: life in 1980. A simpler time. Jimmy Carter was President, the Rubik’s Cube had just been released, CNN had just launched, and it had only been 14 years since England had won the World Cup.

It was also a time where commercial travel was still quite comfortable, as you can see in the photo below, recently posted to Instagram by account @braniffairwaysinc.

“Come aboard this Boeing 727-227 Trijet,” the caption invites followers.

“Passengers enjoy the comfortable High and Handsom Cabin while awaiting takeoff from DFW Airport in 1980.”

The image is credited to the Braniff Airways Foundation.

The photo shows everything which is missing from economy travel in 2021. Namely: comfort. Unfortunately, though, there is a good reason this has disappeared – it’s not profitable to provide it en masse.

Comments left by followers reinforce this, and provide an insight into what people miss about this era.

“The center seat could fold down,” one wrote. “I miss them,” commented another.

“Seat pitch looks amazing!”

The 1980s ran off the tailwind of the golden age of air travel – the 1950s. This was a time where flying was glamorous (before the 50s it was cold and unpressurised).

As Insider reports, “people dressed up, booze was served in fancy glassware, and meals consisted of dishes like roast beef, lobster, and prime rib” in the 1950s.

Air travel became more mundane in the 60s and 70s (security screenings become mandatory and the Jumbo Jet was introduced, bringing flight to millions more people). Then came the 80s where, according to Insider, there were some fun arrangements.

“Continental Airlines (now United Airlines)… tested out a ‘Pub’ configuration complete with a bar stocked with alcohol and circular tables surrounded by swivel chairs,” in the 80s, Insider writers.

“Passengers could also make a visit to the cockpit during the flight where children were given a commemorative wing pin to remember the experience.”

And of course, as seen in the Boeing image at the start of this article, economy seats were more spacious.

Time moves on, however. And ironically now we’re all just grateful to travel again, in any way or form.

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