United Airlines was the launch customer of the Douglas DC-8 jet in 1959 and they liked them so much they operated them through to 1991. When it was introduced, a promotional film was created which you can see below.
Many airlines made films promoting their new jet services. This one is a little bit different as it shows some detail about training the pilots and mechanics back then, as well as a whole flight.
United DC-8 Film
While the video is definitely a promotional piece, some of the things stand out. The personal reading light for starters, which is quite huge and is in the head rest of the seat.
Enjoyably it shows a flight simulator from the era with the images coming from a camera “flying” over a physical representation of the terrain. It’s literally filmed and projected in front of the pilots, substantially different to today.
For a change I can finally see why people say that meals were better in years past. The film shows the DC-8 meal service in both economy class and first class and it looks pretty decent!
Some things no longer occur nowadays, such as the kids getting their wings when they fly on board. It is a shame, because I think things like that are really good for keeping children interested in aviation.
It’s always fun to see the original jet airliner service. The DC-8 was certainly a popular aircraft, with 556 built though this is just over half of what the competing Boeing 707 sold.
When the seats recline in the video, you can see the room is not too different from what we experience today on board. It is a shame we can’t go back in time to see what it was really like, but video is the next best thing.
Have you travelled on board a United DC-8 or experienced the service back in the day? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Jon Proctor via Jetphotos.net