I am sure you have seen hats that people have reshaped somehow to suit their tastes, That is what this means the excerpt doesn't say what type of hat it was so let's say it was a fedora, a type of hat that has some height to it and people usually shape it by creasing it down the center, or pressing the center of the crown in to create a bowl effect. Jaunty angle means it was worn in such a way to express the individuals personality, probably off to one side or far forward or back, perhaps even backwards or sideways, but not in the staid accepted manner.
I think they must have been on a plane in the front section ,the part where the pilot navigates is called "the nose" depends on what size plan they were in to determine if they were crowded or not.
the word is spelled equal, not equel.
hope that helps