Press Release

More than a Meal: Airline Meal Service Sets, 1960s–80s


 Charles Schuler 
Director of Marketing & Communications 
San Francisco International Airport
(650) 821-5031

More than a Meal: Airline Meal Service Sets, 1960s–80s
New exhibition presents eight unique airline meal service sets along with corresponding menus and images of inflight meal services.

SAN FRANCISCO—Since the early years of commercial aviation, the nourishment and hydration of passengers has remained a focus for airlines. As air travel rapidly increased in the postwar era, aircraft manufacturers designed new airliners with food service in mind. Airlines began developing distinct food and beverage programs, and meal services became a highly competitive aspect of their inflight offerings. Carriers often marketed these services with alluring promotions and developed sophisticated menus to distinguish themselves and entice passengers with their cuisine. To provide a restaurant-style inflight dining experience, airlines also considered the tableware comprising the meal service set. They carefully conceived their chinaware, flatware, and glassware for presentation, utilization, storage, and durability. Manufacturers often created tableware bearing the airline’s service mark or logo, as well as unique patterns related to national origin, destination, or service promotions.

This exhibition features meal service wares from United Air Lines, Western Airlines, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, and China Airlines, and includes the iconic Royal Ambassador set from TWA (Trans World Airlines) and the President set from Pan American World Airways.

Visit for more information about the exhibition.


More than a Meal: Airline Meal Service Sets, 1960s–80s is located pre-security in the Mayor Edwin M. Lee International Departures Hall, San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from October 22, 2022 to June 25, 2023. There is no charge to view the exhibition.

About SFO Museum

Established in 1980 by the Airport Commission, SFO Museum’s mission is to delight, engage, and inspire a global audience with programming on a broad range of subjects; to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history of commercial aviation; and to enrich the public experience at San Francisco International Airport. The Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1999 and retains the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport.

Today, SFO Museum operates more than twenty-five sites throughout the Airport terminals, including fourteen galleries that exhibit a rotating schedule of art, history, photography, science, and cultural exhibitions. Among the sites is the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, which houses a permanent collection of more than 150,000 objects related to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit Follow us on,, or

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