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Flying with Northwest Airlines in the Age of Luxury and Innovation

Date: 07/10/2014

Time: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Location: Continuing Education and Conference Center

Cost: $50


This Summer Morning Seminar is offered by the College of Continuing Education's LearningLife program.


We all know what it's like to fly commercial airlines in this current era of shrinking seats, cramped cabins, disappearing amenities, and minimal personal attention. Air travel was not always this unpleasant, however, as evidenced by the golden years of the region's own legacy airline, Northwest. Aboard Northwest flights of the late 1940s through the 1970s, you could drift off in a sleeper cabin, eat gourmet food, step up to an onboard bar, hear live organ music in flight, enjoy pampering from the airline's stewardesses, and benefit from the most advanced weather-detection technology available anywhere. 

Jack El-Hai, author of Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines, will dip into Northwest's colorful history to explore the glories of airline travel during that luxurious (and often highly profitable) age of commercial flight. Rest assured, he won't neglect the seamy underside of that opulence, which includes unsafe aircraft, racial conflict, and discord in Northwest's executive offices.

Book your ticket for this sumptuous and occasionally rocky flight!

Recommended: Jack El-Hai, Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).

LearningLife seminars embrace Socrates's belief in the power of inquiry and exchange. Seminars begin with a one-hour presentation by the instructor, which is followed by an hour of engaged, critical discussion. Tuition includes refreshments.

This seminar is one of three seminars in the series Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Take all three seminars ($125) or individual seminars ($50). To learn more, visit Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: The Series.

Jack El-Hai is the author of Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) as well as The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII (PublicAffairs, 2013), The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (Wiley, 2005), and Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The Atlantic, Wired, Scientific American Mind, and The History Channel Magazine. He is a nonfiction mentor in the M.F.A. in creative writing program at Augsburg College. 


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LearningLife is a program of the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education. Established in 1913, the College provides high-quality continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities for professional development, personal enrichment, career transitions, and academic growth.


  • Name: College of Continuing Education Information Center
  • E-mail: cceinfo@umn.edu
  • Phone: 612-624-4000
  • Sponsored by: College of Continuing Education

More information: http://z.umn.edu/lcj

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact the College of Continuing Education Information Center at 612-624-4000 or at cceinfo@umn.edu.

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