If these posters don’t make you want to pack your bags immediately and take off to foreign climes, then I don’t know what to tell you. They belong to a time when airplane travel was so exotic and rarified that Frank Sinatra recorded an entire album about the experience (Come Fly with Me).
Clearly Frank did not have to contend with modern day ‘cattle class,’ but he may well have sampled the delights of TWA.
Trans Western Airways?
The roots of TWA extended way back to the very beginning of aviation, but it officially came into existence in 1930 with the merger of Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) and Western Air Express (WAE). That’s right — originally TWA stood for Trans Western Airways.
In 1939, TWA came under the control of legendary air enthusiast Howard Hughes. The participation of Hughes and other aviation pioneers gave TWA its first nickname — The Airman’s Airline.
And until 1945, the ‘Western’ part of the name was right. TWA only flew domestic voyages within the U.S. But that year saw the introduction of international routes, starting with Paris, then Rome.
In 1946, Hughes himself piloted a TWA craft from Los Angeles to New York, taking just under nine hours. TWA inherited a new moniker – Airline of the Stars – when Hughes bagged multiple Hollywood actors like Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Tyrone Power.
The name of the airline officially became Trans World Airlines in 1950. And these posters, dating from between 1955 and 1965, are of that period.
Several are the work of David Klein. Klein was one of the most significant of all America’s commercial artists. In 1957, his poster of Times Square became a part of the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.