God bless YouTube.
If it were not for this piece of online technology, I would not have the joy of experiencing several old airline commercials.
I should point out that this week's topic grew out of a comment by a friend of mine, who is an Atlanta-based pilot for a regional airline, commenting on Facebook that he thought a new advertisement for Southwest Airlines was funny.
I went on YouTube to find that ad, and instead, ended up finding a hilarious series of cheesy, old airline commercials from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Now, I only mean cheesy when I'm talking about the delivery of the message. Sadly, these commercials show how much service on an airplane has changed in the last 30 to 40 years.
I've compiled a list of what I thought were the funniest of these commercials, and shortened it down to five commercials -- for space reasons. Next week, I am going to do a list of what I perceive to be the coolest airline commercials ever.
So, the funniest commercials, in the form of a countdown, are:
5) Delta Air Lines' "Delta Gets You There" ad (1980s). Judging by the hairstyles, and outfits, this had to have been done in the early-to-mid 1980s. It perfectly describes Delta's dedication to service back in the company's "We Love To Fly, and it Shows" golden age. It's hard, however, not to chuckle nowadays at a bunch of Delta employees standing outside a plane, singing lines like, "Delta, Delta Airlines. We'll take you almost anywhere. Anytime, we'll get you there. Del-ta gets you there!"
4) United Airlines' "Take Me Along (if ya love-a me)" ad (1960's). This was a broadway-style commercial with a bunch of wives begging their business-suit husbands to take them on their trips. The sad part is that this illustrates how far airlines used to go to get customers. The point of the ad, apparently, was to say any man who took his wife on a United flight with him could get her ticket at up to 1/3 off the ticket price.
3) United Airlines' DC-10 commercial (1971). You know you're in for a good time when a commercial starts with a guy in a wool, plaid jacket walking on the wing of a DC-10, basically saying, "Hey! Look at me. I'm on a plane!" The best part of the ad, though, is when the man introduces you to "The Friendship Room," a lounge (complete with couches and coffee tables) in the middle of the coach area. It just makes the guy look like a lounge lizard. Yet another luxury that has been taken out of the flying experience.
2) United Airlines' "Nancy" ad (1982). I swear I am not deliberately picking on United Airlines. They have just had several really cheesy, odd advertisements over the years (They had killer whales swimming inside a 747 in a 1994 commercial). This one, featuring a flight attendant named "Nancy" takes the cake, however. You see, it's "Nancy's" first day, and the poor lass has already gone crazy. She's wandering the plane singing to herself, and providing service to passengers who only exist in her head. Her co-workers sneak on the plane to watch her in what is supposed to be an "Awww, how cute" moment, but they appear to really be thinking "Oh no, she's lost it."
1) Southwest's "Hot pants" ad (1972). There is a trio of perky Southwest "Hostesses" (flight attendants) strutting across a tarmac, to a waiting plane. They are wearing knee-high, white boots, burnt orange short-sleeve shirts, and bright orange short-shorts. Then, one "hostess" turns and says, "Remember before Southwest Airlines? You didn't have hostesses in hot pants! Remember?" It's a total jaw dropper, because, quite honestly, they are doing the "Hooker Strut!"
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.