While researching a future article, I came across a wonderful time capsule of a film which is worth sharing. Anyone who wonders what a day in the life of a flight crew was like back in the 1960s is in for a real treat.

Loftleiðir was a private Icelandic airline that was well known for budget travel across the Atlantic. The airline was eventually merged to become Icelandair, which is still known for competitive fares between Europe and the United States.

Loftleiðir Flight 401 New York

Opening with shots of the ultra rare Canadair CL-44 aircraft, it covers an entire flight to New York and the subsequent layover in that city. The detail is incredible, starting with the inbound flight arriving and the new crew arriving at the airport.

The first ten minutes cover the Loftleidir flight, from flight attendants preparing the cabin, through to the arrival in New York. Plenty of coverage is given to the on board service, as well as cockpit shots including the landing at about 8 minutes in. It’s really amazing to see!

After landing, even the drive from the airport to the hotel is covered. From 9:08 you see the terminals at JFK including the famous Pan American Worldport and the TWA Saarinen terminal. At 10:56, they arrive at the Sheraton-Atlantic hotel, check-in and go to their rooms. It’s like being there!

Anyone wondering when the film was shot will be able to work it out from the piece at 10:53. An electronic news ticker sign says, “Launch of Gemini-12 again has been postponed!”. The second postponement of that space mission took place on 9 November 1966, before it launched successfully two days later.

Overall Thoughts

While the image is stretched for YouTube and a little dark in places, it is an fantastic piece of history. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if it was shot in colour. Did anyone else find the Icelandic language and speech to be strangely soothing? It’s a nice sound.

Either way, Loftleiðir Icelandic Airlines is gone, the Canadair CL-44J is long gone as is the New York of the mid-sixties, so this is the only way to experience it these days. I thought it was pretty impressive!

What did you think of the video? Did you ever fly Loftleidir on their Rolls-Royce 400 PropJet, as they called the Canadair? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via The Mighty Eight.