When Business Traveller first started publishing back in 1976, it promised to offer “The Insider’s Guide to Cheaper Travel”. It was quarterly in those sedate days, yet issue 6, Spring 1978, demonstrates that much was the same then as now.

“Can British Airways ever win you back?” was the coverline. “Or have you flown The Flag for the last time? Join our heated (but we hope) constructive debate.”

As the then-editor said, “The flow of complaints that Business Traveller receives from readers about British Airways is second only to complaints against individual travel agents.” The travel agents may have largely gone, but as the editor in 2018, I can echo the sentiment.

There was a noticeable dearth of photography on the 98 pages, but there were dozens of pages listing fares, something no longer necessary in the internet age. Instead there were cartoons that would rightly be deemed offensively sexist these days illustrating an article called “In-flight fantasising”.

The correspondent described his various daydreams about romantic assignations with the flight staff, and described the supposed typical physical characteristics of female flight attendants, airline by airline and nationality by nationality. The French, for instance, are dismissed as “all Chanel no.5, faultless legs and too chic to smile”. Thankfully, he decided, “I had better not go into my Scandinavian stewardess airborne fantasies.”


  • PIA Pakistan International Airlines advertised recent successes with increases in passenger numbers of 3% year on year.
  • New York “Eight shun-worthy New York eateries,” – though thankfully, and more usefully, there were also 35 to recommend.
  • Ex-London tickets Europeans buy tickets through the UK to cut costs – ironic, because today many UK residents buy through Europe starting journeys in Amsterdam, Oslo or Copenhagen, then flying back through Heathrow and on to their destinations.
  • Lord Beaverbrook A feature about travelling with the Daily Express “god of journalism” starting with a Queen Mary cruise to New York.