Airline Pilots' Image in the 60s


New Member
Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

Well, I just saw "Catch Me if You Can," with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. I liked the movie, but that isn't the point. What struck me was the difference between the image of the 1960s airline pilot and the modern one; and indeed flying back then as opposed to now. It really brought back memories.

Airline pilots were given near-hero status by default.
Airline pilots were highly respected.
Flying a 707 or DC-8 seemed like something only a demigod could do.
Flying the airlines was sohphisticated, romantic, and an adventure. People dressed to the nines because they were going on an adventure.

Airline pilots are taken for granted by passengers.
Passengers almost never look admiringly at an airline pilot unless they themselves are pilots, or are married to or dating one.
Flying the airlines is a commonplace, extremely unromantic affiar, and would even be boring except for the occasional security screening.
People do not dress for flying; instead passengers and airport workers often immediately slip into a jaded New-Yorker whatsamadda-you persona, even if they're from Brooklyn, Utah.

What a shame. . . .


Well-Known Member
Re: Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

I suppose it's true, familiarity does breed contempt. I do admit to being drawn to aviation in part to the hero image of the old WWII fighter pilots: Bud Anderson, J.E. Johnson, Pappy Boyington, Gabby Gabreski, just to name a few.


New Member
Re: Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

You know, I always thought it would be great to start up a classic airline. One that offers service and style like it used to be back in the day. Wouldn't be cheap, and would probably never turn a profit but it would attract the people that were drawn to flying, not just taking a trip or going on business. Like I said, its a dream - unless there is someone out there that has millions of dollars and wants a business partner....any takers?


Well-Known Member
Re: Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

I've got a quarter of a million in life insurance...I, that would send us to jail for just talking about it!!!!


New Member
Re: Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

People do not dress for flying

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God you're absolutely right, but I don't think that you have to go all the way back to the '60's. I remember in the '80's when I was a youngin' (okay younger than 27), and my mother made me get dressed up behave on the plane. I think it's just a prevailing attitude nowadays.

Personally, I always dress nicely when I'm flying, and I also try to insist that the people I'm flying with do the same. Not only because I get treated better by the customer service people, but because I'm not riding a bus. I didn't pay $1.50 to go downtown. I paid hundreds of dollars to get on a plane. I mean, if I paid that much for a dinner the maitre'd is not going let me in wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

Just how I was raised I guess. Of course not all the blame is on the pax. Some of it falls to the airlines and the TSA. I mean you go to the airport now and immediately become nothing but another revenue that they can claim now. And the TSA makes you feel like you're living in a communist state. I mean anymore you have to strip down to you skivies in order to get through security, and god forbid you have a carry-on.

I think really the airlines and TSA need to sit down and think about how to keep people safe, yet feel like they got a good value for the $100+ that they paid for the ticket.


Staff member
Re: Airline Pilots\' Image in the 60s

Doug described the airline pilot image best in a post from a month ago.

"......back when airline pilots carried a .38 and a box of stogies....."