fashion · history

A Glimpse of the Past: Vintage Airline Posters

A little while ago, I spend a weekend at St. Louis Airport Hilton for a conference and got to see how they decided to decorate their hotel. Their main theme: vintage travel posters, specifically of TWA, Trans World Airlines. Founded in 1924, they flew planes until 2001 when they were bought out by American Airlines. It’s largest hub was Lambert International Airport, St. Louis’s own airport, which explains why the Hilton was absolutely covered in their old advertising and photos.

The whole hotel was covered in these posters, depicting exotic locals and charming patrons of the airline, all in vintage style. I knew I had to document some of these amazing pieces of history, for you readers!

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

First this flight attendant. Isn’t she lovely? Based on the clothing, most of these posters are probably from the 50s, as jet-setting around the world wasn’t too fashionable in the war and post-war years of rations. But this uniform is fabulous! A jaunty little cap and what appears to be a full suit – complete with bound button holes and double buttons! No collar, which appears to be to highlight that fabulous TWA logo. It looks to be cut out against her bright white blouse!

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

Next, an appealing image in the winter! Can’t beat the cold? Go somewhere warm! Also a sample map of their routes at the time. And that sweet little swimsuit! How in the world is it staying on?

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

This is probably the worst quality of all the images I took. The reflection of the picture glass means that you get to see the dress I’m wearing, which I posted recently. Don’t you wish that air travel could be more like the old days? Imagine lounging on couches while flying, instead of being crammed side by side strangers! They’re all dressed up smartly too, no comfy travel clothes for them.

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

Another relic of the past. Smoking on an airplane. It’s amazing to me that someone would even try nowadays, with all the warnings and laws against it. Look at that gorgeous mural! On the inside of a plane! It probably is depicting one of their destinations, Paris from the looks of it. You definitely have to pay a premium for luxury air travel these days!

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

This is my favorite poster. That blouse! It’s hard to tell from the poster how that embellishment is made – it is paint after all. It could be applique, sequins, or even a clever necklace. Whatever it is, it is so fabulous and I would like two for my wardrobe please. Really her whole outfit is a dream, from the classic skirt, to her amazing blouse, to her spot on belt and earrings.

A blast from the past! The bottom of that previous poster has prices: New York to: London – $270 Paris – $290 Frankfurt – $313.10 Zurich – $313.10 Rome – $357.20

TWA - vintage airline posters from the 50s

This last one my husband had to snap a picture of for me. It was in the men’s room! This is a different flight attendantΒ  uniform, perhaps more 40s? It’s difficult to tell, especially as she has been stylized to be almost a pin up flight attendant.

Well, that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past and a look at some vintage airline ads.

Which was your favorite poster?

Where would you go for those prices?



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