Television commercials of the past are quite fascinating. Since ads tap into the zeitgeist, you get a real flavour for what was in and what was out during the time. Airline commercials are especially good at this kind of thing.

There are five below, all featuring from the 1970s, are from Continental, Piedmont, Southern, PSA, and National. Some you may have heard of, others might be new to you, but all are worth checking out.

Southern Airways

Kicking things off is Southern Airways, with a fun campaign featuring the tagline, “Nobody’s second class on Southern”. I like how the mythical first class is a total blowout of a party on the plane.

What gets me is that they are single class and served Champagne… to everyone! Pretty impressive stuff, and something airlines today should consider… or maybe not! Southern merged with North Central airlines to become Republic Airlines in 1979.

PSA

Next up, it’s California’s Pacific Southwest Airlines and their “Catch Us!” campaign. I thought that it was quite a basic message all round. Two commercials are in this one.

Having a jingle for the commercial was so common in the past. It takes some creativity to weave the aspects of an airline into a song – I doubt it’s very easy. PSA was merged into USAir in 1988.

National Airlines

The infamous National Airlines campaign of the early 1970s, where you were asked to, “Fly Judy. Fly National” is based completely on the sex appeal of the flight attendants. She literally strips down to her bathing suit in the commercial!

It’s suggestive in the extreme, especially with that opening line, “Everything you’ve heard bout us Miami girls is true.” Something like this definitely wouldn’t fly today! National was purchased by and merged into Pan Am in 1980.

Piedmont Airlines

Big collars ahoy, a plane, staff members and a jingle – “Hello Piedmont… Airlines!”. It has really nice air to air shots of the Boeing 737-200 in it.

You know, I’d probably fly them if I had a chance. They all look so very perky and happy to be there, don’t they? Piedmont eventually merged into USAir in 1989.

Continental Airlines

Another one with an entire jingle is this one from Continental Airlines, with the strapline, “We Really Move Our Tail For You”. Love the bulkhead of the cabin and the 1970s Boeing “widebody” interior fitted to the narrowbody aircraft.

Plenty of food is being served there too, so it’s a win for me! Apart from the sea of orange and red everywhere, colours that I wouldn’t be a huge fan of. Continental, of course, merged with United in 2012.

Overall Thoughts

It’s fun to see all of these all singing, perky, cheesy, happy and salacious television commercials from the 1970s. The ones of today aren’t quite as striking, as airline have evolved along with the times.

My personal favourites of this bunch are the Southern Airways and National Airlines ones. Southern because it’s so amusing and the National because I’d heard about these and seeing it is something else!

Do you remember seeing these back in the day? What do you think of them? Are there any other good ones you’d recommend? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Peter Duijnmayer on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.