Every so often I write a post with history in mind and today it’s vintage television advertising from Trans-Australia Airlines or TAA. The airline commenced operations in 1946, re-branded as Australian Airlines in 1986 and was merged into Qantas in 1994 to become Qantas domestic.

TAA was one of the players in Australia’s infamous “Two Airline Policy”. This Government policy essentially meant that both domestic carriers in Australia, TAA and Ansett, were required to operate the same aircraft on the same routes to the same schedule. It seems like madness in today’s deregulated environment!

Australia produces some excellent television commercials and airlines have some of the best. Each of the seven commercials selected is quite contemporary for the time which makes for an interesting window into the past.

Late 1960s – Up Up and Away With TAA

This jingle is still remembered and associated with TAA today. The commercial features the Boeing 727s and Douglas DC-9s in operation at the time.

Stewardesses with beehive hairstyles and drinks served from silver trays, its a different era in flight. Take note of one of the passengers eyeing up the stewardess as she walks past as it’s something which comes up again with a twist in the last video in this post.

Late 1970s – Exploring Australia by Air

TAA strapped a camera on the tail of a Boeing 727 and sent it flying all around Australia’s famous landmarks, from Sydney Harbour to the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef.

I think this is an inspired idea and is a real forerunner of the tail cams that feature on aircraft today.

1983 – Business Class

TAA introduced Business Class around about this time and here is a short 30 second commercial about that.

I like this video for “up to 4 inches more leg room” and the image of the meal when they say it is “up to First Class standards”. It looks like meals have come a long way since the early 1980s!

1984 – Economy, Business and First

Another commercial aimed at the corporate market shows all three classes on board the Airbus A300. Three classes of service on a domestic flight has been consigned to history.

It is an amusing ad with a bizarre concept, but it’s worth a look.

1985 – TAA Fast Containers In The Sky

Cargo features in this commercial which has a really well put together script. It is very well written and very much Australia of the mid-1980s.

It makes me want to send something by air freight right now!

1990 – You Should See Us Now

By 1990 TAA had become Australian Airlines and this was the year after a major strike by pilots in 1989. All the domestic pilots went on strike and all of them were dismissed. This is why the voice over says, “Australian Airlines isn’t just back to normal” at the beginning.

The Flight Deck lounges look very bland compared to today’s all singing, all dancing domestic lounges in Australia! The uniform featuring the hats still looks contemporary today.

1992 – The Way We Do The Things We Do

I have vivid memories of this campaign. It is catchy, glamorous and fun!

Whether deliberately or not, the commercial has a nod towards the first video from the late 1960s. In this commercial, it is a woman checking out the male crew members rear as he walks away. Nice to see the tables turned!

Overall Thoughts

Television commercials are an excellent way to see how a country views itself at the particular time. Aviation related television commercials are no exception and I hope you enjoyed this little window into the Australia of the past. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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