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Remembering The Golden Age Of Commercial Flight, When Meals Were Cooked From Scratch


This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

Traveling on a commercial flight these days can be rough. Perks such as free meals and pillows are long gone. Today, airlines charge for everything from where you sit on the plane to how much legroom you’re allotted. It’s easy to forget there was a time, not too long ago, when passengers dressed up to get on an airplane.

79-year-old Gloria Sferra remembers very well what flying used to be like. She was a stewardess for Pan American Airlines from 1962 to 1964 — a golden era of commercial air travel.


“In first class, we had linen table cloths for each tray table. We had real crystal. We had real china with silver with the Pan American emblem on it, and all the meals were cooked from scratch,” says Gloria.

In this story, Gloria Sferra talks to Sound Effect Host, Jennifer Wing, about waiting on challenging customers, serving hungry children in economy class first and discovering a fondness for gin and tonics.  


Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.