Peter Almond looks back to the days of luxury in early aviation
Saturday 03 January 1998
Planes had to compete with the kind of luxury service people got on trains - to give the impression of being sophisticated. At this time, the Berlin to Vienna Air Express provided drinks and a cold buffet service - though in later years there was a full-meal service. You can see the man on the left pouring wine, and the women on the right eating a sandwich, and a steward serving in the background. Airships, meanwhile, had galleys and provided a full-meal service, but then, they were long-range aircraft, often doing transatlantic flights.
There was, of course, noise and strong vibration in the cabin. But people were prepared to put up with it for the convenience of being able to fly directly between cities, rather than have to change trains. Later, cabins were made quieter by locating the engines between the wings away from the fuselage.
German airlines also provided the first in-flight movies: single-reel short films were shown on some services. Of course, they were silent; the engine noise would have been too great to hear any sound anyway Scott Hughes
Peter Almond's book, `The Hulton Getty Picture Collection: Aviation - The Early Years', is published by Konemann, price pounds 20
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