Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jetting There with Savoir Faire

Some of you know that I am an Airliner nerd and some of you know now!

As thoughts this week lead to flying this Friday, I am always drawn to what is commonly known as one of the “golden ages” of travel, that of the early 60’s. Jet travel by Boeing airliner or jets from other manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic was capturing the public’s imagination. Images of exotic locations speed and luxury tantalised the travelling public. It was also the heyday of the graphic artist.

However, when it comes to the manufacture and marketing of new jets it seems that the Europeans had a bit more Savoir Faire and imagination when naming their latest products. Whereas the Americans were sticking to a nomenclature based on a numerical system such as Boeing 707 and DC8 the Europeans were firing up the public’s imaginations with names such as Comet, Viscount and Trident.

One incredibly stylish offering from the Europeans was Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle, which entered service with mainly European Airlines in the late 50’s. The name was devised from a highly maneuverable sailing ship called a Caravel developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese. Radical in its design, the Caravelle established the aft-mounted-engine, clean-wing design that which portrayed a futuristic elegance. Also another unique feature was that passengers could also board the aircraft via a set of air stairs that descended from the tail of the aircraft. A futuristic elegance was portrayed with the whole design.

Ok, technicalities aside, Airlines took advantage of this new aircraft and advertised the use of it heavily. Not only did the public have a choice of which airline it would travel with, but also by a choice of aircraft. By no means the fastest or the biggest, it was however one of the most stylish!

Graphic artists of the era did a wonderful job in illustrating this. Stylistic representations of the aircraft both humorous and serious adorned travel agent walls and magazine pages.

Personally I think I would rather fly by Caravelle instead of an A380 which really does not do much for the imagination.


  1. Hi David, you're a real fan of airplanes! and I love all these stories you tell us, is always a pleasure to come to see you!
    Thank you very much!

  2. Sooo wish i had an ansett bag to fedex to you for a carry on! hope the week goes quickly and speeds towards on board bubbles x

  3. Hi David,
    I love the Vintage Airline and Travel Posters. I used to sell many when I was a Gallery Director.

    Do come and enter my Artful Offering!It is truly beautiful!

    Art by Karena

  4. Great post and very interesting (well I do find all of your posts interesting haha)..Love the designs for the advertising of the jet they are really beautiful and you are totally right Europeans have a way of naming thier airplanes that its so cool hehe


  5. ==============================================

    All you subjects are a real surprise each time !
    And so interesting !
    What's a work !

    And about the previous post, i like so much the pix Of Mao Tse Toung holding Nike !
    >>> Super ! ^^

    Have a great Evening Super David !

  6. there's a passenger door at the plane tail?
    didn't know that...
    Well, I only fly first class you see...(Ehem!)

  7. I love the pictures of the posters!

  8. I will how cool would that be! i think will be SPEECHLESS when we leave :)

  9. Fantastic! I am not a big fan of flying but you make it sound like sucha fabulous adventure.:-))) I will print this post out and staple it to my forhead.It will come handy next time I am flying out to Europe.:-)))

  10. Elena, aeroplanes are one of my loves, and I am so glad that you like my posts!

    Jules, that would be so cool. I do have an Marc Jacobs, reissue of a vintage Pan Am bag which I am taking.

    Karena, these vintage style posters are some of my favourites!

    Andy, What a relief, I am always afraid that this style of post will bore my readers.

    Jean-Pierre, Mao and Nike is cool. I will try and get some pictures of me in my favourite outfits!

    Lenore, see the things you miss out on when flying up the pointy end!

    Bor, many thnaks! I would love to have some framed.

    Sam, it would be more than cool!

    Anya, flying with you would be glamour itself!

  11. Tom: I have some vintage posters of Aerolineas Argentinas' Caravelles and Comet IV.
    I like your blog very much

  12. Jotaele, many thanks for your visit and I am glad you like this blog. The posters you mention must be wonderful!

  13. Hi again David:
    Here are the links to pictures


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