It’s always interesting to see films depicting aviation in the past. There’s a video called Airline People, made in 1977, which give an overview of the various careers available in the industry.

Filmed in what I assume is Los Angeles, it features people from United Airlines and Western Airlines talking about their work. So much has changed in the industry, especially around reservations, check-in and ticketing, but much remains the same. Let’s have a look!

Airline People

The presentations runs for just over 15 minutes and is a really good insight to how things were done back in the day. It opens up with a look at reservations at United Airlines. The lady offers first class, coach or economy, which was a surprise as I thought the latter two were the same.

At 2:42, it moves over to maintenance at Western Airlines and you can see they are using Microfiche (remember that?) for the schematics. It switches at 4:06 to avionics and the arcane arts employed there.

Next up, at 5:22, is the flight kitchen showing the catering, followed by passenger services at 6:22. You’ll recognise the voice saying, “The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only” as it’s the same voice from the movie Airplane!, which is why I think it’s shot at LAX. Security screening sure looks a little different to today!

Ramp operations is shown from 8:56, followed by flight attendants at 9:39. There are a lot of Western Airlines Douglas DC-10s shown, both from inside and outside – including some of their training with slides and rafts – which is rather cool. Finally, it’s the pilots from 12:35 and pleasingly it’s a female pilot they focus on.

Overall Thoughts

Airline People is a great film, which really shows many of the various aviation careers in decent detail. As a piece of aviation history, it really shows quite a lot of areas that you usually wouldn’t see, such as underfloor galleys and inside operational areas.

I wonder where this film was shown… schools, colleges, or somewhere else? Either way, it would whet anyone’s appetite for an airline career, no matter what your area of interest is.

What do you think of Airline People? Did you ever fly with Western Airlines or United back then? Have you seen the film before? Is it an accurate depiction of the careers? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Richard Silagi on via Wikimedia Commons.