Laker Airways' Freddie Laker and flight attendants, including Travelweek's Sue Winiecki to the immediate right of Freddie

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Walt Disney World and more: A look at the 1970s

Travelweek’s incredible history spans 50 years. From the 1970s through to the 2020s, we look at all 6 decades in a special feature in this week’s April 13, 2023 issue of Travelweek. Excerpts are also running in Travelweek Daily, starting today with the 1970s.

Deregulation of the airline industry in the U.S. in 1978 changed travel forever.

As airlines battled it out for market share, fares began to inch down, and route networks grew.

Many families who once took road trips, now saw air travel as a viable option for their next summer holiday. Deregulation brought ‘air travel to the masses’, and it revolutionized vacations and the travel industry.

Air Canada DC-9 in the 1970s



Many in the Canadian airline industry wanted deregulation too, but it wouldn’t come for a few more years.

However Canadian travellers were soon enamoured of the charter holiday concept brought over by enterprising Brits, laying the foundation for tour operators like Sunflight and later, Carousel.

Laker Airways’ founder Freddie Laker (Travelweek’s Sue Winiecki is at immediate right of Freddie)

Laker Airways pioneered low-cost air travel, and its ‘Skytrain’ flights between London and NYC were a big hit. Travelweek’s own Sue Winiecki was a Laker Airways flight attendant!

Meanwhile the first major discount airline in U.S., Southwest Airlines, started in 1971.

On the retail side, consortiums like GIANTS were on the rise. American Airlines introduced SABRE, the first CRS, in the 1960s and more followed, and by the mid-1970s travel agents got CRS access. And ACTA debuted after ASTA-Canada folded.



On the high seas, some of the biggest players in the cruise industry, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, first set sail in the early 1970s. Princess Cruises and NCL had a head start, launching in the late 1960s.

Walt Disney World opened in 1971, following the massive success of Disneyland in California. Roy Disney, Walt Disney’s older brother, opened the Florida park on Oct. 1, saying: “Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney … and to the talents, the dedication and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true.”

Another iconic brand opened new locations in the 1970s: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. After a successful debut in his home city of Toronto in the 1960s, company founder Isadore (Issy) Sharp took Four Seasons international with the 1970 opening of the first Four Seasons property overseas: Inn on the Park London (later Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane).

Roy O. Disney and Mickey Mouse, October 1971


Travelweek’s founder and first editor and publisher Wayne Lahtinen started CTM Weekly Bulletin in 1973, and was soon joined by associate publisher, managing editor and Ryerson buddy Paul Vickers.

Lahtinen and Vickers kept their new publication going in the lean early years thanks in part to a generous offer of free office space from Goway founder Bruce Hodge.

Fun fact: in the early years, CTM Weekly Bulletin’s circulation department was managed by Paul’s wife Pat, who kept track of subscriptions on index cards stored in shoeboxes.


Watch for industry executive interviews and travel advisor memories in Travelweek Daily throughout 2023, as we celebrate Travelweek’s 50th anniversary. Plus, try your luck with our contest, ‘It Happened This Week’, featuring a new headline (and a new chance to win!) every week from Travelweek’s 50 years of travel industry news coverage.

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