Airline Design

A colorfully illustrated ode to the history of air travel

Back in 1925, if you were glamorous enough to get onto a commercial flight, you probably sat back in a wicker-and-leatherette seat, sipped coffee out of a Thermos brought to you by a male steward in nautical regalia, and enjoyed an in-flight movie (silent, of course) courtesy of a hand-cranked projector.

In Airline: Identity, Design and Culture (teNeues, $24.95), a colorfully illustrated ode to the history of air travel, British designer Keith Lovegrove traces the experience of flying from its earliest days and shows that airplanes have done more than just move passengers through the sky at amazing speeds. They are conveyors of style and culture too, and Lovegrove fills these pages with a startling array of vintage photographs that remind us of just how many miles we've racked up over the years. A daisy-fresh young woman enjoys a sumptuous breakfast in bed aboard a 1950s BOAC flight; a shapely, leather-booted stewardess from the "Coffee, Tea, or Me?" era crowds in upona graying businessman; and 1970s passengers get cozy in a mock-up of a 747's "Tiger Lounge"—a riot of orange shag and leopard print that would have made Elvis blush, and which, like so many of the irresistibly anachronistic images contained here, still looks like a vision of the future.