Press Release

Catch Our Style: California Regional Airlines 1950s–1980s


CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Director of Communications
San Francisco International Airport


Catch Our Style: California Regional Airlines 1950s–1980s
New exhibition features eye-catching airline uniforms, in-flight equipment, and promotional material from the jet-set era of commuter air travel in the Golden State


SAN FRANCISCO -- During the three decades following World War II, one of the greatest and wide-ranging periods of material prosperity in the history of the United States and possibly even the world occurred in the Golden State, where the ideal of the California Dream was realized not just by a privileged few, but by millions. One could have a house, a career, a family, as well as all the amenities to experience the good life, including the highway infrastructure to commute between work and home by car, and the airline services to quickly travel throughout the state for business or leisure.

During this period, a number of small, regional carriers were formed and operated successfully within the state. These included PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) in San Diego, Air California (later AirCal) in Newport Beach, and Pacific Air Lines (later Air West and Hughes Airwest) in San Francisco. By offering discounted fares on a wide range of short-haul routes, along with quick check-ins, and friendly, accommodating service with a uniquely Californian style and high-fashion panache, these airlines were able to attract a broad, loyal customer base and successfully compete within the California Corridor with the larger carriers, including TWA (Trans World Airlines), United Air Lines, and Western Air Lines. Catch Our Style presents the legacy of these California commuter airlines through a collection of flight and ground crew uniforms, inflight service items and equipment, ephemera, and promotional materials.

View the exhibition online.

Catch Our Style: California Regional Airlines 1950s–1980s is on view from June 12, 2015 through November 9, 2015, in the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. The museum is located pre-security in the International Terminal and is open free of charge Sunday through Friday. It is closed Saturday, holidays, and for private events. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit SFO Museum.


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