Though United Airlines and Pan Am were probably responsible for more innovations in food and service than any other airline, TWA was much more consistent about using food quality in their advertising. Consider this example from 1936:
Though Lucius Boomer may not be a familiar name to people reading this in the 21st Century, he was a famous as a glamorous and successful millionaire who also ran the most successful hotel restaurant in New York. For the man who ran Oscar’s of the Waldorf to say nice things about airline food was much more impressive than some mere Broadway singer or movie star. Though Mr. Boomer wasn’t a celebrity chef himself, it could not be questioned that he was quite familiar with fine food well presented and served. This is one of the earliest celebrity endorsements, and it was an impressive one in its day.
This type of ad was probably very effective with the businesspeople who were every airline’s principal market in the 1930’s, but in the 1950’s, when airlines were trying to lure families from traveling by train, something else was needed. TWA embarked on ad campaigns showing everyday American families in the air, encouraging the idea of air travel as the fast. modern, and comfortable way of visiting family and friends. One of my favorite examples is the ad from 1952:
Has anybody else ever been quite as excited about eating airline food as this kid? The typical ad of that era showed an urbane businessman accepting the offered meal with a suave smile, while this one shows uninhibited enthusiasm. We might all want to grow up to be as successful as the businessman, but we might be just a bit nostalgic about the days when we could be this happy about anything.