Today flying is a routine sort of travel, one with many annoyances, but few hazards. The decreasing personal seating space on airplanes, coupled with the increase in airport security means that the experience of flying today is much different than it was in the 1950s. Back then airline attendants offered a different level of service, as did the crew. Businessmen were given space to do their work between landings and some airplanes even had lounge areas for work or socializing. It’s a far cry from the oversold and cramped flights many of us have experienced today.
The downside of course is that flights back then were comparatively much more expensive, prohibitively so for most working class people. Adjusted for inflation and for the salaries of the day, a domestic ticket would cost the average working man about 5% of his yearly income to purchase (versus about 1% for most of us to buy that same ticket today). For this reason many people simply didn’t fly, instead choosing bus or train travel.
Have a look at footage from 1953 (touting the travel experience of planes both big and small) in the video below.