Once upon a time, flying was quite the classy affair. During its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s, the jet era embodied the most forward-thinking styles of architecture, interior design, and jetset chic. The art of the airport terminal culminated in the work of architects like Eero Saarinen, whose design for Dulles International Airport and the TWA Flight Center at Idlewild Airport (the former mantle of New York’s JFK) have become renowned as iconic mid-century modern masterpieces.
For most people, the thought of flying these days probably invokes the dread of delays, lost baggage, and full-body-scan security checks. But these brilliant images of vintage terminal interiors remind us of just how glamorous the travel experience once was. Amidst all that curvaceous poured concrete, beautifully modern decor by the likes of Alexander Calder and Alfred Hendrickx, and nostalgia for the hospitality of now-defunct airlines — such as Pan Am, TWA, and Eastern Airlines — the thought of a layover seems sort of alluring.
TWA Flight Center, Idlewild Airport, 1962 [via Architizer]