What Did People Do on Planes Before In Flight Entertainment?

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What would we do on flights today without our inflight entertainment systems? Today, airplane displays are taken for granted as an easy way to pass the time, whether you’re flying from New York to Nevada or Seattle to Shanghai.

Today, 41% of all passengers watch movies while they’re on airplanes. But of course, those options weren’t always there. IFE monitors and aircraft displays didn’t become commonplace until the 1960s. So what did people do to pass the time before then?

You might think that, like 21% of modern travelers, they would read. Or maybe, like another 17%, they’d just sleep. But the answer, as it turns out, is far more quaint.

Postcards. They would write postcards.

“Back in the 1950s, you were handed postcards when you boarded a flight, which might have a picture of the plane or the meal you were going to be served printed on it,” explains Guillaume de Syon, an aviation history expert and professor at Albright College in Pennsylvania.

The idea was that you would describe your flight process to whoever it was you knew on the ground — whether you were on your way to meet them or had just bid them adieu.

Of course, magazines and reading were still viable options, too. Apparently, Air France experimented with hiring artists to create paintings for the walls of cabins — a more old fashioned form of “airplane displays,” perhaps. But, that never did last long.

Lots of people hold romantic notions about those early days of commercial flights, where the stewardesses were all model-worthy, where everyone dressed up for the occasion, where you could smoke as many cigarettes as you wanted in an air-tight cabin with dozens of other passengers gasping for air.

OK, so perhaps it wasn’t all so glamorous — or safe. And, according to de Syon, it was a lot more expensive: a secretary might spend an entire month’s salary on one single flight.

But if you want to feel like you’re traveling in the “Golden Age of Aviation” next time you fly, maybe bring along a stack of postcards with you. And don’t forget to clap when the plane lands! Read more. Read this website for more information.

Written by Best Travel Magazine. Posted in Aircraft interiors expo 2016, Faa approved repair station, In flight entertainment system

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