United Airlines in 1953: For Men Only?
Most people know that Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire got its start in Chicago, and the opening of the first Playboy Club came in 1960. Before this, however, Chicago was still a mecca for men. Real men. Steak-devouring, card-playing, hat-wearing, broad-shouldered men who made things happen. They came for business and pleasure, and United wanted to be the airline to get them between Chicago and New York.
Via our friend @vivekmaya, we find that the blog The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit has uncovered a vintage ad that proves United once attempted to create a gentleman's club in the sky.
See the full ad here, and note United's slogan in 1953: "Compare the fare and you'll go by air." United was still competing with train travel at the time. Trains had dining and lounge cars where men could order steak dinners, kick off their shoes for slippers and smoke their pipe in peace. So United began offering all this onboard their DC-6 Mainliners.
It's not too difficult to imagine a young Roger Sterling doing his first client deals onboard, but it is impossible to imagine anything like this returning to modern commercial aviation (outside of private jets).