Douglas DC-8 Goes Into Service 1959


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United Airlines Douglas DC-8 Goes Into Service Overview and Introduction: Early 1959s:

United Airlines was the first US domestic airline to order the DC-8 in 1955, second customer for the DC-8 (after Pan American). Deliveries began on May 29, 1959, and United received 22 DC-8 series 10 aircraft.

The inaugural service operated between San Francisco and New York Idlewild, supplementing the existing Douglas DC-7 services.

A huge publicity campaign launched to promote the new jet service to the public which included a travelling “Jetarama”. Also the tent show that featured a 15 foot cut-away model of DC-8 showing the first class lounge, first coach cabins, cockpit. There was also a full scale mock-up of the first. The coach cabins featuring the new DC-8’s Palomar unitized seats with self-contained lights, call button, air vent and oxygen.

As part of this campaign to introduce the travelling public to the new mode of DC-8 1959 jet travel. At that time films made for publicity purposes. This particular film produced in 1959 or 1960 and many components of the “Jetarama”. This show incorporated into the film, including the large DC-8 model. The cabin mock-ups used to show the type of inflight service passengers expect.

The 25-minute Douglas DC-8 Goes Into Service 1959 film also features live footage of United DC-8-10s taken inflight, and at airports. So, this is an historic gem to be savoured by airline fans.

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4 Responses to “Douglas DC-8 Goes Into Service 1959”

  1. <path_to_url> Peter Cheang

    Well there is a great difference between the cabin service levels, culinary cuisine and personal space per seating in the bygone era compared to current day offering based on maximum bums on each flight to anywhere.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      Indeed Peter. Back then was the golden age of airlines before it was a mass phenomena like today. All passengers back then enjoyed a business class level of service that is offered today. Things have changed. But so have the costs, as airline tickets back in the 1960s were a lot more than today, by a multiple factor of several at least. To spend $400 on airline tickets in 1965 would be $4000 in today’s dollars.

  2. <path_to_url> Jeffrey Hacker

    There are other issues, Henry. A coach ticket from HNL to SFO in 1960 was $100; First Class was $144. Today it is about $250 in Coach, about $800 in First Class. BUT, this is apples and oranges. In 1960 all tickets were refundable; in 2017 very few are. And the airline gate/ticket counter/ramp employees make essentially the same amount of money they did back then, without adjusting for inflation. Forty years ago, I made $7.25 an hour working for Eastern at Atlanta Airport as a Ticket agent, today, a ticket agent for a typical legacy makes $10 an hour. . . . And coach was 34″ pitch, First was 38″ Today, coach is 30-31″ (and American just announced they’re shrinking to 29″ on the 737-Max. I long for the good old days.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      Amazing stats Jeffrey! Wow .. I had no idea the wages have changed so little in 50 plus years compared to all the other cost changes. That is remarkable. But 40 years ago was 1977. Back in 1960, wages were a lot less than 1977. My Dad was a doctor and he paid his nurses around $1 an hour in the late 50s and early 60s. So there was quite an increase in wages between 1960 and 1977. That said, the prices of airline tickets in terms of purchasing power is today a fraction of the cost of the early 1960s. Back then most people were still taking surface modes of transport versus air.

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