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There’s a reason the ad heavyweights at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce get glassy eyed at the thought of landing an airline account. Few industries represented the glamour, optimism, and excess of the mid-century America better than the one that ferried us across the country in stylish, stainless steel jets. As sleek as some of the stewardess outfits showcased for the airborne set, the forthcoming book Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet by British designer and author Keith Lovegrove chronicles the design history of airlines. The excerpts below offer a glance backward to a time when luxury, not baggage fees, were the norm.

 

 

 

 

 

Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet comes out September 10 via Chronicle Books. All photos courtesy of Laurence King Publishing.