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Flying with the jet set back when travel was glamorous

19 June 2014 Last updated at 00:00 BST

Unless you're one of the few who can afford a private jet, there's nothing glamorous about flying today. Crowded airports, security threats and tightly packed aircraft are commonplace.

But there was once an era when aviation held enormous appeal for millions of Americans. The introduction of the jet in the late 1950s dramatically cut cross-Atlantic flying times, opening up the world to convenient and cheaper travel for the first time.

Leading the charge was the so-called Jet Set - celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor - who made Europe their playground. But ordinary Americans were climbing aboard the sleek new jetliners as well, ushering in the age of mass tourism.

William Stadiem's new book, Jet Set, tells the story of the aviation pioneers who introduced Americans to groundbreaking aircraft like the Boeing 707 and of the people who travelled in their luxurious cabins.

Archive footage from Pan Am promotional videos

Produced for the BBC by Michael Maher.

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