From the EAL publication "Pastimes" from 1972. The centerfold introducing the L-1011 to the EAL fleet. Notice the First Class (red seat) arrangement..nice. Image from David Capodilupo. [CLICK FOR LARGER]

From the EAL publication “Pastimes” from 1972. The centerfold introducing the L-1011 to the EAL fleet. Image from David Capodilupo. [CLICK FOR LARGER]

I recently came across the above cut-away for an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011 and wanted to share. Notice the dividers in economy (seen better in an image down below) and the lounge seating (red seats) in the front and rear of the aircraft. For the time, it really was “The plane that pampers people.”

Eastern was one of two co-launch customers for the L1011 (TWA was the second), which started service in 1972 with the airline.

Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011. Photo by Bob Garrard.

Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011. Photo by Bob Garrard.

The spacious layout, the luxurious amenities — the way flying used to be right? Also remember that there were fewer flight options, limited in-flight entertainment, louder, less safe and cost much more. Yes, things have changed, but I think mostly for the good. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the L1011 and EAL.

From the L1011 Sales Brochure, this shows a more cramped 2-4-3 layout for economy. Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

The image above is from the L1011 Sales Brochure, this shows a more cramped 2-4-3 layout for economy (the cut-away above shows a 2-4-2). Check out those center dividers and the lack of center overhead bins.

* Sales brochure for the Lockheed L1011 in 1979 via Airchive.com
* More classic Eastern Air Lines L1011 Photos by Bob Garrard

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

Some Airport Changes Are Coming to St. Maarten
Will Widby

Good stuff! I love seeing this “old school” material and also seeing promotional brochures from extinct airlines such as Eastern…

That “lattice” ceiling used to rattle on take-off and landing. A little disconcerting at first 🙂

I may be wrong, but I think PanAm had a 3-4-3 configuration on their L1011-500. Had a very uncomfortable flight between Gatwick & Houston in 1982.

Also don’t forget all the smoking. Apparently you could sit in a non-smoking row and the people smoking behind you wouldn’t affect you in any way! (Sarcasm)

There is a site with vintage seat maps but sadly none of them mention the seat pitch.

DL used to run their L1011 between BDL-BOS-BDA. To build our FF mile accounts, a friend and I used to occasionally get a ride to BDL (10 minutes), fly to BOS, and take the bus home (90 minute trip). It was a fun FF mile-earning morning adventure. Martin is right, the lattice ceiling did rattle during take-off.

Brian Lusk

The 1011 is one of my favorites. Those dividers in the center rows of coach didn’t last long, they were soon replaced by a fifth seat, making it 2-5-2. Yes Pan Am (and Delta) had 3-4-3 coach seating on the -500s (Delta on the former PanAm ones). Another short Delta TriStar route was DTW-DAY, then on to ATL. The longest Delta overwater flight with a basic domestic -1 was from LAX to SJU–only on Fridays. In the center bulkheads in coach, Delta had racks for garment bags. Once they were loaded, an electric motor moved the rack up into the ceiling and the cabinet door was shut.

Okay — new life mission: find video of that.


Ima Daniel

EAL 1011’s never went to 5 in the middle and we also had the ascending coat rack from the beginnig. Delta acquired our 1011’s when EAL went under. Our first had a lounge in the d cabin to begin with an a bar. Miss that 1011.

Ima Daniel

EAL 1011’s never went to 5 in the middle and we also had the ascending coat rack from the beginnig. Delta acquired our 1011’s when EAL went under. Our first had a lounge in the d cabin to begin with an a bar. Miss that 1011.

Still one of my favorite aircrafts. So glad I got to fly on them a number of times in the 80’s and early 90’s. The roar of those RR engines was phenomenal.

Pete at the Beach

The L-1011 was a “double-decker,” with a galley below the main deck that was accessible by an elevator. One or two flight attendants would share galley duty and send meals up the elevator on carts to be served to passengers.

Yep – when my Mom flew for United – instead of sending up carts of food sometimes they would send up themselves and surprise the other stewardesses.

Ryan Pierson

Another design feature that I love: the curved rear bulkhead that accommodates the 6 bathrooms. Reminds me of the stern of an ocean liner.

I see that plane and logo, and I can’t help but think about the L10 that Eastern flew into the ground in the Everglades. Wonder if this plane was the one.

I think you are talking about Eastern Air Lines flight 401 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Air_Lines_Flight_401).

The plane in that crash was an L1011, but it was registered N310EA, where the one in the photo is N371EA.

Bob Garrard (whose photo is shown on this story) does have a shot of N371EA taken just a few months before the crash: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23032926@N05/6745953249/


Moe Bertrand

What does N371EA have to do with the crash of N310EA in Dec 1972? Just curious.


Thanks for sharing. What a hoot! Let’s also remember that this was pre-deregulation, the days when most routes on most airlines were almost promised some measure of profit by DOT. The coach class 2-2-2-2 seating is a gas, as is the effective seat pitch. I flew the L-1011 countless times and remember it as a very comfortable airplane, *even when full,* a state that we’ll never again see. Sadly, it was also a heavy and *fat* passenger airplane, and it never really paid its own way until a few were converted to freighters, stripping out the *very heavy* PAX features of the day. And lastly, those were also the days when a full fare “Y” class ticket on a Red Eye flight was an instant upgrade to “F,” as seats were available. Eastern and American(?) did not serve anything beyond booze on those red eyes, but the better seat and enough alcohol to induce slumber was a nice benefit – **at the time**. Lockheed’s Fat L-1011 is long gone from regular PAX service, but I remember it as a comfortable, user-friendly airplane. Yes, the IFE, if any, was a drop-down screen, even in FC, and the audio was a selection of perhaps SIX pneumatic tubes – no wires or electronics, please, tubed to most seats. You know, the kind that had more in common with a stethoscope than a headset!
Most of the pundits are right! While service and any sense of elegance have gone to hell, never to return, in today’s market we can fly almost anywhere for about the same numbers as we did in the early ’70s, or less, NOT considering inflation. For a few of us, flying is still a special experience. We bathe first, dress as if for Sunday and behave with some degree of grace. In today’s market, the expensive “J” (Business Class) ticket is roughly the same as the coach fare of the early ’70s. While the women may not be wearing hats with pins, the modest improvement to include, clean, odor-free neighbors who wear shoes and long pants is – well it is usually worth the extra expense. We’ll talk about domestic vs. international another time. Anyone who flew scheduled service on a DC-6/7 or even a 707 will understand the points. Those born after the DC-9 was introduced probably won’t get it. Such is life. Thanks for the reminders of the L-1011. She was a very fine and comfortable aircraft, even if a bit on the fat and inefficient side. Lockheed really wanted her to compete in the ‘less than 747’ markets, but the first round of Fuel Wars in the mid-’70s cost the company a ton and ended their presence in the commercial transport market. What a fun ride…

John Wallace

My Dad flew for EAL in Flight Test and Engineering. When the 1011 was displayed at the Transpo 72 Airshow @ IAD. Lockheed hosted a VIP flight that flew to the Columbus OH area and returned to IAD, we were invited to come along. The cockpit door was open for the entire flight. EAL flight attendants offer food and drinks. I still have the certificate Lockheed gave to all of the guests. The flight crew signed mine. I flew on the 1011 many times during it’s time with Eastern and Delta.

john w

the whisperliner (whisperlemon) flew at a nose up flight level..stews didnt like pushing the carts at an incline.

Ivan terable

It was a beautiful way to fly while it lasted in commercial service.
216 RAF still operate them in Brize Norton


O. Jimenez

EAL did have 2-5-2 comfiguration. I flew on it many times.

Mark Ballmer

I would fly EA L-1011’s on the Red Eye from LAX to NY via DC in the mid 80’s. These aircraft were awesome, mostly empty and I could spread out and sleep. The L-1011, 747 and DC10 were my favorites, as I mostly traveled with Pan Am, American, Delta and Eastern. I Traveled both first class and coach, depending on my circumstances. I miss flight of an earlier era. My frequent air travel began in the early 70’s, and yes smokers could be a hassle, depending on where you sat, but God, flying was a more pleasant experience then. Yes the movies, sound and such were low tech compared to today, but when you factor in yesterdays comfort, a meal and friendly service, who cares. You could always rest, read a book or get some work done, nobody was sitting on top of you. Air travel today, though less expensive, makes one feel like they are cattle, rather than a fare paying passenger. A large degree of the population today, shows up to fly dressed just like they crawled out of bed, or had no plans to leave the house and getting through the gauntlet of security can often suck big time. Too bad we have to face such high fuel costs and endless terrorist precautions these days, because it really changed what was great airline travel. Yes deregulation was really the first big change for the airlines, but if fuel costs hadn’t become what they are today, would we be currently enduring such tight and uncomfortable aircraft? Oh well, have a great day.

Thanks for sharing your memories Mark — they are awesome!


Back in the 1980s, airliners had better food (and they actually had food, even on domestic 1 1/2 hour flights), the seats were slightly bigger and more spaced out, and the service from the flight attendants was much more friendly, pleasant, courteous, and helpful. I used to fly on either TWA or Eastern usually, both airliners that were great in the 1980s and are now extinct. But if they’d stayed in buisiness, I’m sure the quality of service would’ve taken a drastic nosedive just like American, Continental, Delta, and United.


Even 10 years later after your article, it’s great to look at this awesome airplane. Glad this is still online and that I randomly came across it.

Michael Reed

I lived in Riyadh Saudi Arabia from 78 – 82 and have very fond memories of flying in the Tristar..

(We lived about 1km from the end of the runway, used to sit on our house roof and wave at pilots.)

Unfortunately the other enduring memory I have is that following the tragedy of Saudia flight 163, hey parked what was left of that aeroplane beside a taxiway and for years every time we departed / arrived in Riyadh we’s taxi past it. Same airline and all. Very encouraging… especially as every time they announce we are descending for landing “god willing”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *