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The Only Way to Fly: 1965

The Only Way to Fly: 1965

My friend's folks stretch out and light up on a nice, comfy flight from San Francisco to Hawaii in 1965. Someone borrowed their Kodak Instamatic for this 126 Kodachrome slide. View full size.

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All dressed up

Back in 1961 my parents were taking a trip from Idlewild; I can still hear my mother saying to my dad, "Give me the keys to the car - I don't have a thing to wear on the plane."

Air Sickeness Express

My first 20 years flying, I was very often sick, due to having to breathe people's cigarette smoke! When non-smoking sections came along, it helped, some, but not enough, especially if my non-smoking seat bordered the smoking section.

Coincidentally, San Fransisco to Hawaii was the first air trip I ever took, back in 1970. Dad had recently returned from Vietnam and we were on our way to his new duty station of Camp Smith, on Oahu.

My first flight

My first flight was from San Francisco to Chicago to attend Graduate School. I remember the cigarettes and thought "WOW"!. I also remember the light coming on in the bathroom to return to my seat. I didn't know what was happening and was scared silly!

Gone and Forgotten

In addition to the DC-8 and Boeing 707, the Convair 880 by General Dynamics plied the early Jet Age skies.

Definitely a Pan Am 707-320

From the cabin wall pattern and seat materials this is definitely a Pan Am 707. Back when flying was a treat, not a chore.

You might

feel a little nuts wearing a suit on a flight to Hawaii, but you'd look cool anyway in your Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

Re: That Different 707

Yup, went through USAF navigator school (James Connally AFB, Waco) on those things. They had a unique odor inside, a result of many, many student navigators tossing their cookies in bumpy Texas air.

Re: Four Packs

Those four-cigarette packs were comps given away by the tobacco companies. I remember back when I was still working, they had four young ladies passing out four-packs of Salems in downtown Buffalo. I had to laugh watching some of the folks making a circuit of the intersection, trying to score a couple of free packs of smokes.

One thing not mentioned was the mini bottles (glass, not plastic) of different kinds of whiskey handed out by the stews as well. On my flight home from the military in 1966, there were five of us aboard a Fokker F.28.The stewardess gave me a half a dozen bottles of Seven Crown to say thanks for my service. I still have one bottle left.

Coffin Nails

In the 1960s I garaged my car in public lot in the Bronx. I met a fellow there that worked as a salesman for a tobacco distributor. He passed those 4 pack samples out to his better customers. They came in cartons that held 50 4 packs. That was the equivalent of regular carton of smokes. I think a pack sold for about 40 cents at that time, a carton would be $4 and I would pay the guy $2 for the 200 cigs.

With 80% fewer smokes

Four packs of cigarettes were common packed in K and later C and MCI rations up until 1975.

More on 4 pack distribution.

As a teenager visiting downtown Chicago I often encountered young women passing out 4 packs of cigarettes to pedestrians. The earliest I recall this happening was when I was 16 years old in 1972. They would give you 2 or 3 packs if you asked.

A Different 707

The four-packs of cigarettes were also in the flight lunches provided on the T29 (twin engine Convair) navigator trainer that Air Training Command flew as a shuttle between its Hq and DC. We called the flight the "707" because it took seven hours and seven minutes one way.

One compensation was that you got to stay at Bolling AFB and ride the launch to the Pentagon, at least until Sen. Proxmire put the kibosh on that.

GI Four Packs

The other primary customers were the many Viet Nam era troops. These four packs were included in each box of C Rations (MREs of the day). We used to trade them for preferable brands, and used to practically assault non-smokers to get theirs! Often they would trade their smokes for the piece of chocolate that was included in each ration.

Four-Packs Pt. 2

While serving in Vietnam, K-Rations often had 4 packs of cigarettes in them. If you didn't smoke you could trade them to a smoker buddy for his fruit.
From what I have read the same was true in WWII and Korea as well.

Travel in the 1950s

Whether our family took a train or flew, we had to wear our best clothes. Here is our family arriving at the Essendon Aerodrome in Melbourne, Australia, in October of 1958. We had just left Canada, and my father's new position with the Ford Motor Company of Australia was to introduce the Ford Falcon. I am wearing the striped jacket and tie, and Mum is giving her best regal wave, with white gloves on, of course!

126 Camera

My 126 camera always took great pictures. It was especially good at taking low light shots, like neon signs at dusk, while still nicely rendering the building they were attached to. Wish I still had it.

Pan Am

DC-8 windows were larger than these (about 17 by 21 inches, says the ad) and were spaced 40 inches center to center. So it's a 707, which I guess means Pan Am, unless the passengers were continuing beyond HNL to Australia on QANTAS.

Three Pan Am flights a day from SFO to HNL in 1965, or more in the summer-- the 0900 departure continued west to New York.


Can someone say how those four-packs of cigarettes were distributed other than as airline giveaways? Were they sold in stores? I Googled for info and didn't see anything, other that in the U.S., cigarette packs must now contain at least 20 cigarettes.

My dad was a commercial pilot, not an airline pilot, but he always had those four-packs in his airplanes and I'd sneak a few for my use until he caught me at it. Seems to me they were always Parliaments, Viceroys, or Lucky Strikes.


I personally brought Bermudas-style dress to the Hawaii routes in 1968.

A Dress up occasion

Note, too, how nicely dressed these passengers were. I remember well feeling that I should be dressed for air travel as if I were going to an important appointment. I'm sure this lady had a pair of nice gloves with her. Imagine wearing a jacket and tie to fly to Hawaii today! And, of course, we passengers were treated as valued guests in return.

Oh! For the Legroom!

I'll pass on the smokes, but give me the legroom. At 6'5", it's difficult to enjoy flying today. I do remember when it was an enjoyable experience. I flew to the midwest from Kennedy on United, the same year this picture was taken. Although I was a little shorter then, the space, food and service was wonderful. They even put a mini 2 pack of Viceroys on my food tray, just in case I wanted to light one up -- at the tender age of 15.

Security What Security?

Those were the days when you could just casually walk through the gate without a ticket, board the plane, and escort your friends to their seat, then snap their picture before the plane took off. Same way we used to do it on ocean liners ... remember when they used to call out the warning 'all ashore whose going ashore'?

No need to bring your own

In those days, the airlines actually GAVE you cigarettes as part of the service. (No doubt supplied by the ever-alert tobacco companies.) I recall small flip-top boxes of four.

I Say 707

Both the DC-8 and the 707 had varous engines and most engines of the time had a similar look. However, interior photos of both planes show the DC-8 had much more space between the windows than the 707 and in tis photo the windows are closer together, leading me to believe this is indeed a 707.

Not a 707

Assuming this was a United flight, UAL was a big DC8 customer but did eventually buy the Boeing 720, a shorter range derivative of the 707. I'll vote for this being a "Diesel 8."

Boeing 707

Date of flight and small entry of engine argues for a Boeing 707, active between 1958 and 1979.

And it's a Tiparillo, of course!

Should a gentleman...?

I have zero doubt...

Some sharp-eyed Shorpist will identify this plane from just the window shape and bit of engine visibile...

King and Queens!

When I flew for American Airlines in the 1970s we were given strict orders to "Treat passengers as if they were Kings and Queens!" "Make their travel a wonderful experience they will always remember being special."

Stewardesses were weighed once a week with unannounced flight inspections to see that we were up to AA's hgh standards and especially checked to see we were wearing beautifully applied nail polish with matching color lipstick!

The airlines have certainly come long way and not for the better, unless you are among the one percent few who can enjoy First Class.

How it used to be

Back in the day when you could actually sit comfortably in a coach seat. Bet the meal was pretty good too.

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