Constellations starting up at Atlanta©LIFE
Constellations starting up at Atlanta©LIFE

A reminder that the glory days of post war air travel were also noisy, dirty and slow comes from a US reader.

He points out that while the aircraft were spacious, and the service on board was gracious, the carriers flew from large sheds like the Atlanta terminal shown below, where a LIFE magazine photographer recorded the scene when the propeller airliner was approaching its zenith.

No security, no computer check-ins, no lounges©LIFE
No security, no computer check-ins, no lounges©LIFE

On this day in June 1956 the oil stained tarmacs are crowded with DC-7s, Martin 404s and other types not seen in domestic services in an Australia where at the time the majority of business and public service travel between Melbourne and Sydney was made on two steam trains that met at Albury in the middle of the night where the gauge changed.

...and no aerobridges either©LIFE
...and no aerobridges either©LIFE

But the propeller age lingered, even in America, where DC-6Bs and DC-7s still operated alongside the incredibly fast Convair 990s and early 727s until the late 60s.

And here, back when DC-6Bs, Vickers Viscounts and Lockheed Electras ruled the major routes, Melbourne-Sydney was scheduled at 70 minutes, 20 minutes faster than with jets today because of the failures of airport and air traffic control planning in Australia.

Eastern DC-7 at Atlanta©LIFE
Eastern DC-7 at Atlanta©LIFE

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