Airline Booking: Before the Internet (60 years ago)

Since air travel is currently going through unfortunate circumstances as most other industries around the globe due to the novel COVID19 virus, let’s take a quick free Flight. Operated by your device, to 60 years ago, and learn how did people at that time were booking their flights. We hope that you enjoy this flight with us!

So you want book a flight nowadays, you just log onto the internet, and not only select the route! You pay the ticket, choose your seats, order a special meal, print your boarding pass, and even compare prices from different airlines! Oh wow! Look how the internet make it that simple and fun. However, the internet as we know wasn’t discovered in the 60s, so how did people at that time manage their flights?

Photo source: Active Adventures Blog

Fasten your seat belts and prepare for landing in the 60s. The travel agent was a king. Using shoeboxes and blackboards, was how airline reservations were organized, a single price existed for each class of travel between two airports.

To book a flight, let’s say from Heathrow to Paris, you first need to go to a travel agent. The agent would ask you the dates you wish to travel on, then look up in a very thick book to price the ticket for you. If you wish to proceed, the agent had to call the airline to find availability, and that’s the reservations unit that the agent calls. Usually this unit is a very large room with all the walls covered with blackboards with each flight date and number on them beside the current available number of seats in each class.

After you pick a flight and pay for it, instructions were given to the reservations agent at the unit, then they’d climb up a ladder to wipe out the number chalked on the blackboard and reduce it by one (or by the number of seats that you’ve booked). Same process was repeated for the return flight. Your details are then written on two pieces of card, one for each bound of the journey, then are placed into the relevant shoebox for that flight. These were called Passenger Name Records (PNR), the same term used nowadays but in the computer systems.

Finally, on the day of departure, all the shoeboxes for the flights departing are taken to the airport for check-in.
This is how people in that time period were booking their flights!

It was a very long and exhausting process. So thanks to the great evolvement of computer, internet and technology that made easier to book our flights.

Photo source: Pinterest

Returning to 2021 and to our amazing internet services that had definitely changed a lot, and made our lives easier!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this quick flight with us, till the next time!


Cover photo source: Quora

Source: Aviation logistics|The Dynamic Partnership of Air Freight and Supply Chain| – Michael Sales

%d bloggers like this: