If anyone has a time machine available, let’s go back to 1973. That’s the year when Freelandia Airlines launched and from what I’ve read, it sounds like flying nirvana. Picture this: an airline that exists as a “flying club” where the flight attendants wear colorful Flash Gordon-like uniforms and serve all-natural organic food while the passengers are free to move about the cabin having bongo-playing sing-a-longs and playing Pong on arcade cabinets.
The prices for flights sound like a steal compared to today’s (and yesterdays) standards and it’s no surprise considering the entire operation was structured as a non-profit organization. Pay $25 to gain admittance to Freelandia’s flight club and your price tag from Newark to LA was only $87. Regular commercial flights for that time went for close to $180, so you would have saved 50% on the flight.
The airline flew in yellow DC 8s and flight schedules were voted on by the club members so if you had to get to Rome for some reason, you only had to lobby your fellow members to make it happen. The membership model also created a clubby atmosphere where everybody on-board seemed to know everyone else.
In flight meals were the stuff of dreams, according to a 1974 article in the Harvard Crimson:
The atmosphere on board Freelandia’s jet is similar to that of a tribal celebration. Vegetarian meals, organic breads, homemade soups, cheeses, and wines and beers are served which go down and out immeasurably better than the cellophane-wrapped, insignia stamped Salisbury steaks of the more constipated commercial airlines.
The whole thing was the brainchild of millionaire investor Kenneth Moss who still appears to be in the investing game. Sadly, the airline went out of business a year later in 1974 when the oil crisis made flying so cheaply simply untenable. All good things have to come to an end. It’s just a shame it ended so quickly.
Source: Harvard Crimson