It’s been a long time since many of us have been on a flight but it’s been a much longer time since anyone’s seen an in-flight menu like this.
A person on Reddit has shared a picture of a 1970s-era drinks menu from defunct carrier Ansett Australia, which offered cans of beer for 30 cents, Coke for 10 cents, and packets of cigarettes for a jaw-dropping price of 45 cents.
It also sold miniature bottles of imported whiskey for 45 cents (35 cents for the local stuff), juice for 10 cents and specially selected Australian red and white wines for 40 cents a glass.
It is not clear exactly what year the bar list was used by Ansett, and the overall cost of living has changed a lot in the past four decades, but those prices are still super cheap by today’s standards.
Someone on Reddit has shared an Ansett in-flight bar list from the 1970s.Source:Reddit
If the menu was from 1975, that 30c can of beer would cost the equivalent of around $2.17 today after inflation, according to a rough estimate by the RBA.
“No wonder they went bust with these prices,” one person commented.
“I was born too f**king late,” another said.
As well as the low prices, many people on Reddit were struck by the inclusion of cigarettes on the in-flight menu.
“Cigarettes on a flight. Yikes,” someone said.
“I’ll never forget flying Qantas as a kid up the back of the plane with the smokers for 12 hours to LAX and back,” one person commented.
“I’m just old enough to remember being in a plane when smoking was allowed,” another said.
“Only a curtain separated the smoking and non smoking sections. It was absolutely foul.”
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Ansett crew show off their uniforms in 1974.Source:News Corp Australia
Australia was the first country to totally outlaw smoking on domestic flights in 1987.
We were nearly the first country to ban smoking on international flights, but then-Prime Minister Bob Hawke feared a smoke-free Qantas would be disadvantaged by foreign competitors that allowed its passengers to light up whenever they wanted.
The Australian government eventually banned smoking on international flights within Australian airspace in 1990, and in 1996 banned smoking on all Australian international flights.
Ansett saw a few smoke-free years before it collapsed suddenly in 2001, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and about 16,500 people out of work.
Grounded Ansett planes at Melbourne Airport on the day of its collapse. Picture: Mike KeatingSource:News Limited
The collapse — which was the biggest lay-off of staff in Australian history — followed years of financial trouble egged on by deregulation of Australia’s aviation industry, tough competition, an ageing fleet and cost flow problems.
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By 2001 Ansett was said to be haemorrhaging about $1.3 million a day, with no hope of a bailout from the federal government.
One day after September 11 terror attacks in the US, Ansett’s owner Air New Zealand — itself in turmoil — put Ansett into voluntary administration. Two days after that, administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers determined there was no way Ansett could continue and operations were shut down immediately.
It remains one of the most infamous corporate collapses Australia has seen.
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