50 Years Ago, Airline Food Was The Height Of Luxury

With flights becoming more affordable, it’s easier than ever to jet around the globe. Of course, if you’ve ever had to balance a budget, you know cuts have to be made to keep your head above water. For modern day air travel, in-flight food service has taken a big hit over the years as airlines have cut down on costs.

We’ve heard an endless library of jokes about the notoriously bad food available on planes. If you’re flying coach, your “meal” is most likely nothing more than a handful of peanuts or pretzels. And if you’re flying via a super "no frills" airline, you're getting a big ol' goose egg - nothing.

I’ve flown first class once in my life, traveling from Syracuse, New York, to Orlando, Florida. At eight years old, I was thrilled to get half of a turkey-and-cheese sub, a soda, and a bag of cheese crackers. I was flying through the air like a majestic bird, with a belly full of edible gold! However, my little first class meal would have been considered a joke decades ago, when airlines were not just giving you a meal, they were providing a downright feast.

From the 1950s through the 1980s, it was a golden age for air travel.

Flying was a much more upscale affair, and the amenities were surprisingly highbrow.

The Norwegian air carrier Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) released these stunning photos of the glorious in-flight meals of yesteryear.

In-flight meals were much more than just prepackaged salty snacks.


Passengers were offered a bountiful bevy of food, fit for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Back in the day, planes were much more spacious. Less seats meant more room for serving stations.

Luxurious foods, such as lobster, were plentiful. Lobster!

No flight would be complete without complimentary champagne, of course.

As if free bubbly wasn't enough, stewards would carve fresh slices of meat right at your seat.

They were also there to brighten up your dish with fresh ground pepper. Some flights even employed their own sommelier! That's right, a sommelier on a plane. Insane!


Passengers could have as much or as little as they wanted. I think I'd take the "more" route.

Check out this top-shelf menu from one flight.

In-flight options like these rival most restaurants on solid ground.

Even this "toned down" menu is full of trophy items compared to today's options.

Either way you slice it, airplane food of the past was a mouthwatering dream.

Be sure to SHARE this stroll down memory lane with your friends and family.

H/T: Boredom Therapy | SAS Museum

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