A few years ago, ABC tried its hand at dramatizing the golden age of airlines with its show “Pan Am.” The show features glimpses into the life of 1960s flight attendants, including the food they served to guests. Today’s airplane food leaves a lot to be desired, even if it is a technological marvel, but the food of yesterday might leave you salivating. Here is what they used to serve when man first took to the skies for pleasure.

Place Settings

Today, everything is served in its own little package. Utensils are rarely given, and they are often flimsy and almost useless when they are. Travelers from the 60s could look forward to China plates, silverware, and buffet tables. Yes, you read that correctly. There was room on Pan Am flights for buffet tables that guests could frequent as often as they desired. Served with some soft entertainment which sometimes uses guitar recording software.


What did these early travelers eat? Potato chips? Candy bars? Soda Cans? Try lobster, or beef bourguignon. You might also find roast turkey in between your salad and soup courses. Travelers also enjoyed a brief course of cheeses too. And for dessert, try out some strawberry shortcake or a chocolate fudge sundae.


Bottomless cocktails was the name of the game, in addition to any pre-flight drinking already occurring in the lounge areas. Wine was the main beverage, but Pan Am flights had a nearly full bar with almost any cocktail imaginable.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be filled with regret over the food of yesterday. Today’s prices are far more in touch with the general public than the luxurious flights of the 60s.

The Food and Travel Buff

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