Dispatches from JFK Airport ….
California, here I come!
Although the skies today are not nearly as friendly as they once were, I still think nothing of leaving on a jet plane by myself to head out to California, to attend the artist’s reception and talk for my art show at the Museum of Sonoma County.
If not for the COVID two-year absence from any sort of travel, this plane ride would not be noteworthy.
As I wait to board my American Airlines plane I am reminded of this ad from 1949 that ran in Ladies Home Journal when the airlines had to address m’lady’s fear of traveling by herself, assuring her how comfortable, safe, and carefree flying by air was.
The copy reads:
“American Airlines Travel Alone and Like it
“Time was when a long trip alone loomed up as grim and unfriendly for a woman! The endless wait to eat…the embarrassment of sharing a table…the paying of checks…tipping. For omen traveling by surface transportation, these were unavoidable and unwelcome responsibilities
That’s why Flagship travel is so popular with women today. Its so carefree. All you have to do is board the plane. From then on you’re a queen. Delicious delightfully served meals come to you. Friendly stewardesses cater to you. Hang up your coat…give you a pillow.. attend to your every wish.
These are just a few of the reasons why more and more modern women choose this modern way of traveling.”
A Queen? Why I can hardly wait… for them to call for boarding
Overworked flight crew, canceled flights, packed planes, and violent outbursts notwithstanding, this modern woman is ready to take off!
Safe travel wishes!
Thanks, it all went well, and had lovely Stewardesses catering to my every whim.
Great! It helps to have a good cabin staff after the hassles of getting on the plane in the first place.
The text of this 1949 ad is really worth sharing — what a treasure chest of ridiculous ideas that were accepted without question. I took my first airplane trip around 1949, as a child escorted by my aunt on a visit to friends in southern California. (I remember my mother’s fear, thinly hidden.) I also remember that from the window of the low-flying Prop (propeller) plane, the hills and fields of California resembled the crazy quilt that adorned my child-sized bed. I also remember that restaurants in the 70s were still uncomfortable with “wasting” a table on a woman traveling alone, since women notoriously consumed less liquor and were “lousy tippers” by reputation
. And I still dressed in “city” or “Professional” clothes (not sweat-pants, and never shorts!) when flying in the 20th century, because I was usually on my way to a big city, not to a family visit. I wish I could attend your show in Sonoma, but am still eagerly awaiting a knee replacement. I hope to be actually walking this fall! Love your work!
Yes, the ad copy is a treasure trove of female tropes.
You were quite adventurous flying in 1949 and your description of CA is so evocative.
I wish you great success with your new knee and hope you will be back on your feet soon. It would have been great fun to see you at the opening.