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Was air travel in the 1970s really as groovy as we remember?


Our multi-stop trip through each decade of the aviation industry is touching down once more in the surprisingly alcohol-fueled 1970s. With the groundbreaking 1930s, the explosive 1940s, the golden 1950s, and the swinging 1960s of the commercial airline industry in our rearview mirrors, let’s revisit the decade that brought us “hostesses in hot pants” and more liquor than we could ever know what to do with. Grab a Southern Airways shot glass and pour yourself a drink. This was what it was like to fly in the 1970s.

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 747 is sprayed with water upon its landing from Okinawa to celebrate its final flight as the 747 is retired by Japanese airlines, at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on March 31, 2014. The 747 was first introduced to the country by Japan Airlines (JAL) in 1970 and became a workhorse on both domestic and international routes. At one time Japanese airlines owned more than 120 of them, each capable of carrying over 500 passengers. JAPAN OUT AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESSJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 747 is sprayed with water upon its landing from Okinawa to celebrate its final flight as the 747 is retired by Japanese airlines, at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on March 31, 2014. The 747 was first introduced to the country by Japan Airlines (JAL) in 1970 and became a workhorse on both domestic and international routes. At one time Japanese airlines owned more than 120 of them, each capable of carrying over 500 passengers. JAPAN OUT AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESSJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

747s in the 70s: On January 21, 1970, Pan Am flew passengers from New York City to London aboard the very first commercial 747 flight. Spiral staircases connected two decks. Widescreen movies were played in the cabins for more than 500 passengers in some configurations. Airlines suddenly had room to breathe, dream and design their wildest ideas. The 747 brought us many things, but the most important of all was possibility.