Barbie has plenty of access to the kitchen, but not the pilot’s seat. Really colorful 1972 set that mirrors the decor of the real deal. It looks like Mattel toned it down in 1974, according to that year’s JCPenney Christmas catalog.
Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek
Sweet Jesus, when do we board? As horrid as flying is today, keep in mind that most of the luxury you see above was born of the early-’70s recession: airlines had to go all out to convince would-be customers to buy a plane ticket. (Almost all of these photos are of coach class. I left out the in-flight piano bar.) As flying became more affordable—mainly through the proliferation of credit cards—the amenities and leg room began to shrink.
That’s not to say corporate greed is not to blame. Airline executives have used post-9/11 security measures, many of which are certainly necessary, as cover to make air travel less comfortable while making bigger profits than ever before.
Also, to quote Henry J. Stern, the New York City Parks Commissioner in 1996, after he was pressured to remove “dangerous” monkey bars from neighborhood playgrounds: “In today’s litigious world, the children come to the playground with parents and the parents come with lawyers… Often, the parents are lawyers.” Hence the general shift from comfort—and fun—to “safety”.