Eastern Airlines Courtesy Beverage Card, 1990
It’s always tough when your request for an upgrade on a flight is unsuccessful but at least this stylish beverage card from Eastern Airlines would have softened the blow a little. The red and cream voucher, beautifully designed with a striking graphic and different fonts, entitled the holder to a complementary cocktail, beer or wine split as compensation for being relegated to the back of the plane.
Eastern was a major American airline from 1926 to 1991. Before its dissolution, it was headquartered at Miami International Airport in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Florida.
One of the "Big Four" domestic airlines created by the Spoils Conferences of 1930, it was headed by World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in its early years. It had a near monopoly in air travel between New York and Florida from the 1930s until the 1950s and dominated this market for decades afterward.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, during the deregulation, labor disputes and high debt loads strained the company under the leadership of former astronaut Frank Borman. Frank Lorenzo acquired Eastern in 1985 and moved many of its assets to his other airlines, including Continental Airlines and Texas Air.
After continued labor disputes and a crippling strike in 1989, Eastern ran out of money and was liquidated in 1991. No more flights – and no upgrades!
Courtesy Private Collection.