Modern-day air travel is a far cry from what it used to be.
Lines have gotten longer, leg room has shrunk, and food has worsened. Even passengers’ behavior has become increasingly questionable.
To show how glamorous air travel used to be, we rounded up photos from the 1930s to the 1980s and compared them to present-day photos.
Keep scrolling to see what flying was like in the glory days.
Airports’ arrival and departure terminals seemed less complicated back in the day.
Pictured above is New York’s Idlewild Airport, now known as John F. Kennedy Airport.
Today, things are a little less leisurely. Lines of cars call for traffic lights.
A couple kisses goodbye at the Oakland International Airport in California.
In the ’30s, when you checked into an airport, there were no computers.
This check-in counter was at London’s Gatwick Airport, which is still in operation today.
By the ’80s, there were both monitors and arrival and departure boards.
Two women receive help at a Continental Airlines counter at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Continental was acquired by United Airlines’ parent company in 2010.
Now, the equipment at check-in counters is much more advanced.
A family checks in at the Southwest Airlines Counter at Philadelphia International Airport.
Travelers even have the option to check themselves in at one of the many self-serve kiosks that airports now offer.
Passengers check in for flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Arrival and departure boards have come a long way, too.
Travelers check flight cancellations at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington.
Airports started to capitalize on the time travelers spent waiting for flights early on, as evidenced by the fact that some of the first airports offered bars.
This bar was located at Heston Aerodrome, an airfield just west of London that was in operation from 1929 to 1947.
The offerings have since expanded. Most airports now feature multiple food courts, complete with bars, chain restaurants, and stand-alone restaurants.
A bar in Zurich International Airport.
Some airport restaurants allow diners to order from an iPad at their table instead of from a waiter or waitress.
A panini bar at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Because planes were smaller back in the day, so were boarding lines.
These passengers were boarding the Handley Page airliner Heracles for a flight from London’s Croydon Airport to Aintree to watch the Grand National. For a time after World War I, Croydon was England’s only international gateway airport.
Nowadays, airlines build in plenty of time for boarding. It’s done by groups and usually takes anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.
Passengers board an Alitalia airplane at the Cagliari Airport in Italy.
Behind the scenes, things were different too. Air traffic control equipment looked a lot simpler in the ’50s.
The air traffic control room at London’s Heathrow Airport.
As planes have evolved, so too have the systems that make them work.
An air traffic controller uses Data Comm, part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation system, in the control tower at Miami International Airport.
Airplane cabins started off pretty sparse, with just one seat to each row on either side of the plane.
Passengers on an Air France plane.
In the ’60s, more seats were added, as well as communal tables. The baggage storage doesn’t look all that secure, though.
Passengers on board a British European Airways Vickers Viscount airplane, the first commercial turboprop airplane.
A decade later, passengers could fly on the Boeing 747 jumbo jet, which was known for its spacious cabin.
Passengers on board a Boeing 747 jumbo jet operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation. These planes were over 231 feet long and boasted a tail taller than a six-story building.
It’s a far cry from the packed cabins that travelers are used to today.
Passengers on board a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale International Airport to Cuba.
Leg room has become a luxury of the past.
This photo shows the interior of a giant Boeing 707 jet airliner, which could fit up to 165 economy class passengers.
Most of the time, passengers find themselves cramped between seats.
The leg room on board an Icelandair flight from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Paris, France.
First class was quite the indulgence.
This spread was served on board a Boeing 747 jumbo jet operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation.
Passengers experienced quality service as well as high-end refreshments and food.
Airplane meals have arguably gotten worse.
Depending on which airline you fly today, a seat in first class can still be pretty luxurious.
Dubai-based airline Emirates offers first class passengers their own suites, as shown in the photo above.
Business class can be pretty swanky too.
Passengers who fly on Emirates A380 plane get the benefit of full bar service.
This breakfast served in first class on a Delta flight doesn’t look nearly as gourmet as the first class food of yesteryear, though.
It’s by no means one of the saddest meals we’ve seen, however.
Eating and drinking on an airplane looked so much enjoyable in the early days.
A group of passengers plays cards while having drinks in the cabin of an Imperial Airways flight.
Look at the nice lunch this passenger was served on board the de Havilland Comet on a flight to South Africa.
The Comet was the world’s first commercial jet airliner.
Meals today just don’t look as appetizing.
A meal served on a British Airways Boeing 777 flight from Cape Town International Airport to London Gatwick Airport.
Back in the day, you didn’t have to fly first class to get what was known as a “sleeper seat.”
Passengers on board the Comet 4, which flew from New York to London in less than 6.5 hours.
Now, seats that allow you to lay down are usually only available in business or first class.
This reclining seat is only available if you’re flying United Airlines’ Business First Class.
Imagine having room to sit down and freshen up in an airplane bathroom.
The ladies’ powder room on the first commercial jet airliner.
Doing so is impossible in modern flight bathrooms.
A bathroom on the United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Airplanes’ cockpits also looked different in the beginning.
Here, two pilots are shown in the cockpit of the new De Havilland Comet 4 Airliner.
Apparently, in the ’30s, cocktails were even allowed in the cockpit.
An air hostess serves crew members on board the new luxury air service from Croydon to Paris, operated by Air Dispatch.
Today, cockpits have screens and are much more streamlined — and drinking in them is a definite no.
Check out these pilots’ scariest in-flight experiences.
In addition to airplane’s interiors, flight attendants’ uniforms have also changed throughout the years.
These two air hostesses worked on board the Comet in the ’50s.
Most airlines started with a similar skirt, jacket, and hat combination. Flight attendants were pretty much all female in the early years of flying.
A group of air stewardesses, all from different airlines, line up in front of a full-size model of the supersonic airliner known as the Concorde.
By the ’70s, skirts had gotten shorter.
Check out what flight attendant uniforms look like around the world.
Pants came along as an option soon after.
These flight attendants are modeling new uniforms designed for Court Line Aviation.
Today, some uniforms are more traditional than others.
The flight attendant above works for Rayani Air, Malaysia’s first Islamic airline. The carrier has strict dress code rules for female flight attendants who are Muslim.
This Thai Airways flight attendant is also dressed in traditional clothing.
Other airlines’ uniforms are more comparable to earlier iterations, like Lufthansa’s.
Flight attendants for Alitalia wear uniforms that match their carrier’s colors.
In-flight entertainment wasn’t always available, and it wasn’t always movies and TV shows. In the ’80s, it was games.
Two United Airlines employees test out computer games that were being installed into the tray tables on one of the carrier’s jets. The computer was embedded directly into the tray table and offered video backgammon, checkers, blackjack poker, and soccer.
Now, most flights — both domestic and international — offer movies and TV shows for passengers to watch.
A TV screen on an Icelandair flight from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Paris, France.