It was just announced that the airlines will be mandating that all of our electronic devices larger than cell phones must be put in the bins at the TSA checkpoints. (There goes my Kindle now!) This latest decree made me reflect back on all the many changes that I can remember during my lifetime of flying.
My first commercial flight was around 1976 when I went to Disney World and Daytona Beach with my friend Mitzie. Back in those days, passengers could be greeted as they disembarked from their planes or kissed goodbye by their loved ones at the gate.
Back then we would be given free pillows and blankets from the very attractive flight attendants, and scattered throughout the plane were real magazines to read such as Newsweek or Sports Illustrated.
In-flight movies were commonplace, and the headphones were always free. Did you know they gave away decks of playing cards? When Dad flew on the company plane, he would return with cards embellished with their logo.
Do you recall the days when we would be given a choice of meals—usually three—and there would be opportunities for additional choices for special diets such as kosher or vegetarian that you would order in advance of the flight? On our first class flight to Hawaii, the meat was carved at our seats followed by a make-your-own sundae bar. Now I am excited if I am given a bag of free pretzels.
Today we are squeezed into our ever-diminishing seats, charged if we bring on carry-on bags, and forced to remove our shoes, coats, 3.4 ounce liquids, and computers. We are x-rayed, wanded, and sometimes frisked. Watch out if you are ticklish!
I am happy about one change, which is the prohibition of smoking on airplanes. Yes girls, cigarettes were previously permitted on planes, although smokers were segregated in one area of the plane. I always thought it was ridiculous that the airlines acted as if the smoke would not somehow waft its way into the nonsmoking area. How dumb did they think we were?
Every time I fly, it’s something else. I wonder what could possibly be next.