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In 1959, Passengers Were Treated as 'Intelligent, Interested, Friendly People'

January 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

Sit down, shut up, and buckle your seatbelt—this is the motto of modern air travel it seems, and now it's so hard to believe that flying used to be a pleasure, a privilege. There are few legacy carriers left who remember the days of airplane cocktail lounges and Mad Men-esque style, but we managed to dig up an old "Welcome Aboard a 707 Jet Flagship" pamphlet handed to passengers flying on American Airlines in 1959.

Follow along with us this week as we peek back at air travel as it was fifty-plus years ago thanks to this discovery, and unearth some real shockers.

Do you how desperately this country needs a Passengers' Bill of Rights? Thus far, only Jetblue has been brave enough to pony up a version of it, which allows for passengers to be treated like humans even when things don't go so well. Other airlines however have demurred, preferring to sit entire flights on the tarmac for hours during delays with no food or water, or simply denying access to information.

But back in 1959, American Airlines had the right idea with a two-paragraph rough draft of a Passengers' Bill of Rights, written by AA President C. R. Smith.

Check it out, after the jump...

Passengers have confidence in American, otherwise they would not be traveling with us. Passengers have interest, for airplanes and airmen and air transportation are interesting. Passengers have intelligence, for it is the intelligent, progressive people who use air transportation.

Passengers are people. If any difficulty arises which may affect or delay the passengers, treat them as intelligent, interested, friendly people. Tell them the truth in an understandable, friendly, non-technical manner. They will understand and appreciate your consideration and the information you give to them.

Short, sweet and simple. How come all airlines can't just print out this and use it as a mantra? Seeing this attitude renewed would instantly give us hope in the airline industry, because maybe then they'd remember the very important part in all of this: that passengers are people, smart ones too, who just want to know what's going on.

Related Stories:
· New York City in 1953 [Jaunted]
· Retro Travel [Jaunted]

[Images Scanned from a 1959 American Airlines "Welcome Aboard" pamphlet]

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