Press Release

Widebody: The Launch of the Jumbojets in the Early 1970s


Charles Schuler
Director of Marketing & Communications
San Francisco International Airport

Widebody: The Launch of the Jumbojets in the Early 1970s
New Exhibition presents Cutaway Models, Uniforms, Posters, and other Promotional Items related to the Introduction of the First Widebody Airliners in the Early 1970s

SAN FRANCISCO - During the late 1960s, the limits of technological progress in aerospace endeavors appeared to be boundless. Jet airliners were transforming commercial aviation with their high speeds, extended ranges, and economy; flight tests on the Concorde supersonic transport were under way; and, even more remarkable, the Apollo space program landed the first astronauts on the moon. Amid this exuberance for high-tech solutions, Boeing Aircraft—already greatly successful in the commercial aviation market with its 707 and 727 jetliners—was asked by Pan American World Airways president Juan T. Trippe to develop an even more advanced jetliner, a “super jet." The aircraft would cross continents and oceans at transonic cruising speeds while accommodating over twice the capacity of earlier jetliners in a giant fuselage capable of seating ten passengers abreast. The Boeing 747, which was first flown in 1969 and launched into service in 1970, would ultimately revolutionize long-distance commercial air travel and set a completely new standard in airliner design, the “widebody” or “jumbojet.” Not to be left behind in the widebody market, aircraft manufacturers McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed Aircraft followed with their own widebody airliners, the DC-10 and L-1011 TriStar.

With the introduction of these “super jets,” airlines updated liveries, uniforms, service, and branding. In promotions, carriers emphasized the superior technology and features of the widebodies, including their comfortable, quiet, and luxuriously-appointed cabins reminiscent of large living rooms with spacious lounges and cocktail bars. Passengers were encouraged to spread out with ample leg room or roam through the expansive cabins. Newly introduced flight crew uniforms heralded the jetliners’ arrival as designers conceived of ensembles that reflected the era and the latest workplace fashion trends with form-fitting minidresses in vivid patterns, go-go boots, and plaid jackets in dazzling colors. This exhibition presents historic material illustrating three of the first widebody jetliners introduced in the early 1970s—the Boeing 747, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar—as they were promoted by their manufacturers and five airlines that operated them: BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), Pan American World Airways, United Air Lines, Continental Airlines, and TWA (Trans World Airlines).

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Widebody: The Launch of the Jumbojets in the Early 1970s is located pre-security in the Aviation Museum and Library in the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from September 21, 2019, to June 14, 2020. 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 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 twenty-five 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 Follow us on,, or

About San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 50 international cities on 45 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 86 cities in the U.S. on 12 domestic airlines.  SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising.  For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, ground transportation and more, visit Follow us on and