Sassy Pantsuits, Hungover Passengers And Racy Magazines. Welcome On board Air Canada, Circa 1971

Marth Chapman

You will be charmed and taken aback in equal measure by a vintage ad Open Jaw dug up from depths of newspaperland.

Published in the Montreal Gazette on April 17, 1971, the large ad goes to excited lengths to boast about the “Atlantic 71” service pax could expect on YUL- FRA flights that summer. Round-trip airfares started at $306 – “possibly cheaper than charter.”

Flight attendants, oops, “stewardesses” were not only apparently sporting “sassy new pantsuits” (surely the only time those words have appeared in the same sentence) but showing off how experienced they were “and more than in the way they mix martinis.” AC promised that the “girls” would hand out sewing kits as needed, provide the perfect hair-of-the dog cocktail for the hungover, and escort your kids to the cockpit to meet the pilot. Those were the days.

“After dinner, there’s always something! Your stewardess will turn on a whole library of magazines: Life, Look, Reader’s Digest and Playboy.” Then she’ll distribute writing materials, postcards and games. “Challenge your neighbour to a game of bridge!” (How on earth did that work?)

Bully for Air Canada, though: even back then they were counselling readers to see their travel agent. “From now on, he’s an Atlantic 71 Information Centre. Ask him for our special tours!”

Thanks, AC for a good belly laugh from almost 50 years ago. We needed that.

Martha Chapman

Martha Chapman Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.

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