Written by Al Meder
The crew are unquestionably a critical component for a safe and pleasurable flight.
This starts up front with the cockpit crew. A few airlines have issued playing cards with a cockpit view. Japan Air System (JAS) is shown below.
Swedish carrier, Novair, and more recently, China Airlines, have issued a cockpit view with the crew. Before 9/11 it was possible to sit in the cockpit jump seat as a passenger if you had the right connections. In late 1999 I was invited up to sit in the jump seat on a British Airways flight flying in to London from Chicago. What a view, and at the time – the London skyline was dominated by the huge Millennium Dome Ferris Wheel built for the Millennium celebrations.
However, it’s the flight attendants that are front and center with the passengers. Many airlines have highlighted flight attendants on their playing cards.
Braniff Airways, the long defunct US carrier, issued a wonderful pair of playing cards in the late 1940’s showing a flight attendant with a silver tray and silver tea-service. One deck is brown and the other one blue. These were the first decks featuring flight attendants that I’m aware of.
Flight attendants continue to this day to be a popular topic of playing cards issued by airlines. The examples below are just a few:
One of the China Airlines annual set of 12 designs featuring flight attendants was issued in 2008. This is a sought-after series of playing cards. Single decks can be found from time to time on eBay and elsewhere.
Singapore Airlines has featured close-up shots of “Singapore Girls” and shots of flight attendants in various scenic and not so scenic locations.
Many other airlines have featured flight attendants include this older design from Cathay Pacific Airways showing the crew standing alongside a Lockheed 1011.
Interior views of the passenger compartment are hard to find on playing cards. Brazilian carrier, Varig, issued this design of the interior view of its DC-10.
In 2003 Singapore Airlines started to promote their Krisworld entertainment service. What better way than introduce playing cards to help with the promotion? Ironically, electronic entertainment has become so dominant and this has reduced the demand for playing cards. But airlines should understand that electronic entertainment is “for the moment” and playing cards can provide advertising repeatedly over many years each time the cards are played with.