TWA Ambassador (March/April 1969)

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was acquired by Howard Hughes in 1939, and was among the big airline companies for the next several decades. There were a couple deadly disasters in the 1950s and 60s, and a particularly bad accident in the mid 90s which sped up a decline already in progress. The company filed for bankruptcy and was bought by American Airlines in 2001.

TWA had Ambassador Clubs in several airports, and their trade magazine was also named the Ambassador. Let’s have a look inside the March/April 1969 issue, a time before the numerous hi-jackings of the 1970s and its financial downturn in the following decades.

Man, this guy really is ready to get on this plane – literally perched on the edge of a jet bridge. This would get you imprisoned and on a terrorist watchlist today.

Miss Thrifty and her Mini-Me.

Yeesh. Some really terrible jokes. “Stop air pollution – quit breathing.” Ugh.

It’s amazing to me how long it took luggage to get wheels. For decades we hefted along heavy suitcases; no one thought – hey, if we put wheels on these bags, we could roll them!

“Space technologists and luggage manufacturers are working on the attache case of the future.” The illustration of the high-tech attache case resembles the laptop I’m currently typing on. Not a bad futuristic prediction, I’d say.

My favorite section is the charms – they all seem like logical representatives of the travel destinations: the bull fighter for Madrid, the palm tree for Miami, Big Ben for London… and O’Leary’s cow for Chicago? I know it’s the “cause” of the fire, but it still seems like a really odd choice.

This is amazing. The song selections for the in-flight radio channels. “The Young Sound” has a particularly ecclectic and interesting playlist including “Mad John” by Small Faces and some deep tracks by Chad & Jeremy, The Electric Flag and The Marmalade.


  1. Thank you for this enjoyable entry! This issue of Ambassador (March/April 1969) was also supposed to have a feature on the Hilton International’s vice president for architecture Emmanuel Gran – do you have this article by any chance? Gran was a notable architect in Shanghai in the 1930s; I’m researching his legacy. Cheers! Katya


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