There was a point in our lives when getting there really was half the fun.
No long line ups for security; no worries about getting a pat down that your doctor wouldn’t even think of giving you; taking that full bottle of wine or scotch in your carry on because you didn’t want to risk it getting stolen from your checked luggage; having a real hot meal on a flight over three hours; getting bumped to First Class because you wore proper traveling attire. Ah yes, those were the good old days of air travel.
Linda and I used to look as forward to the trip as much as we did the destination. As we progressed in our careers and had a fair amount of disposable income and no children to worry about providing for, we spared no expense on our travels. Our choice of air travel was either First Class or Business Class.
Now bear in mind when we started traveling to Hawaii, we could purchase return tickets for a little over $700 for First Class seats. It was a heady experience.
Western Airlines put “pubs” in all the First Class sections of their DC-10’s. We could sidle up to the bar and order beer, champagne, liquor, wine or cocktail of our choice. There was no encouragement to remain seated, no worries about having one too many (although there should have been), and a great sense of fun by everyone in the cabin. The flight attendants were all charming and were willing to talk to you, time permitting, of course.
We would arrive at our destination happy to be there and usually quite relaxed from the flight. (No, not from the booze as neither of us are big drinkers.)
I don’t need to tell anyone who has flown in this day and age what a lousy experience it can be. Even Business Class lacks the flair that was shown in the “old” days.
I remember having filet mignon cut to order at my seat; service with real china and silverware; champagne served in good champagne glasses; and flight attendants that were interested in our well-being as “guests” of the airline.
When I’m waiting to board an aircraft these days, I keep waiting for the ground service personnel to make an announcement similar to this:
“Attention all passengers traveling in Cattle Class! We will be boarding your cattle hauler in a moment. I would like to remind you that we have a full shipment today so please leave any items that you are carrying with you at the top of the gangway so that one of our handlers can properly stow them for you.
Since we have such a full flight today, we ask that anyone with young’uns, please hold them on your lap. Our highly trained wranglers inside the hauler will ensure that we strap them down sufficiently so that in the event of turbulence they won’t fly out of your lap.
If you are eating anything, remember that we may ask you to share with your fellow travelers as we never put enough highly sought after and poor nutrient based food on board for everyone. After all, we need to save weight and space so that we can squeeze more of you into the hauler.
Just a reminder for those of you that have been fattening up over the summer, I mean, who are carrying a little extra weight, you will be weighed on the ramp and you will be charged excess baggage fees for anything over our arbitrary weight limit.
For those of you in Business and First Class, thank you for making it possible for us to get this flight off the ground by paying the exorbitant rate we charged you for the ticket. On-board, we will treat you with our usual degree of indifference, sorry my bad, our usual high degree of service and thank you for flying Bovine Airways.”
A little harsh perhaps but sometimes it feels like that.
I know times have changed and we can’t go back and reality I don’t want to go back on most things. But couldn’t we at least have a little of the old airline service back?