Tuesday, July 25, 2006

AIR TRAVEL…….in the 50’s and now.


In 1957 I was living in New York City and one of my favorite pastimes was to people-watch at LaGuardia airport. In those days it was a luxury to travel by plane and the customers dressed accordingly. It was not uncommon to see a known personality, dressed to the nines and accompanied by 6 or 7 peons carrying elaborate luggage and all varieties of pets, on leashes and in cages. I would spend hours mesmerized by the glamorous scene.

Another aspect of that time was that you didn’t have to be the traveler to get up close to the take-off area. A viewer, like myself, could pretend to be waiting for someone and would have a front-row seat in the terminal. My romantic, 22 year old, imagination would take over and I would be the one departing or arriving. Ah, youth...tragedy and elation rolled into one long afternoon.

Fast forward to today. The airport is still one of my favorite people-watching places but humanity itself has changed drastically. I actually prefer it now because it represents real life as opposed to the Hollywood version of my youth. I love the variety of skin colors, the ethnic outfits and the languages that I don’t understand. I especially enjoy seeing young people travel but so many of them have the air of world-weary travelers. I want to shake them and say, “forget being so cool...cherish the moment.”

The new airport regulations have made it a little more inconvenient to travel by plane but it is well worth it for the sake of security. The one area that annoys me, however, is the inconsistency between scheduled flight times and the actual times of departure and arrival. I have spent many a harrowing moment wondering if I would make my connections.

I will never forget a ticketed flight that I had from Florence, Italy to Munich, Germany and then on to the United States. On arrival at the airport…at 5:30 AM… we were told that they were repaving the Florence airport and that our flight was cancelled! (Only in Italy could they pull this off…with many hand gestures and expressions of sympathy and assurances that our plane would wait for us in Munich! HAH !!)

Then there was the time that I was stuck…on the plane…for over 7 hours in Dallas. It was February and an ice storm was creating havoc. Our pilot was fit to be tied because we were a small plane filled with vacationers and the tower kept bumping us for the larger commercial flights. He finally spoke over the intercom and told us to feel free to write to the airline with our complaints. He even gave us his name to include in our letter.

So, I guess the bottom line is this: I will continue to travel by plane as long as I am able. With all it’s flaws and inconveniences it still gets me to magical places.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Alan G said...

Morning Ginnie...

I don't know why but if you were to rate "people watching places" airports would have to be Number One! I am sure most of us have spent at least a couple or three hours dealing with lay-overs and to me it seems like the time passes quite quickly, primarily because of the "people watching" factor.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Good morning to you,Alan. Thanks for the input. For some reason I am back to not being able to post a pictue. I have tried Mozella Firefox, Netscape and Internet Explorer and the fact that they all say a connection is missing makes me think it is the fault of Blogger, not my computer. I hope so. Ginnie

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

Ginnie..

I can't say for sure what it might be. I have noticed that some of the photos from my old blogger site have disappeared so perhaps they are experincing some problems. Yesterday for several hours I could not get blogs from Blogger to come up. Just give it a day or so I guess. We know you know how to upload so I can't offer any real solutions at the moment but will keep my eyes and ears open.

9:38 AM  
Blogger saz said...

Hi Ginnie - Great post as usual. I did get to see some famous people in airports when I traveled but I always thought it couldn't possibly be the person!

Re: photos - someone in a comment on my blog mentioned that Google hosts blogger photos and the problem could be related to the weather we're having in the Bay Area which is where Google is located. I do know they still have several thousands of folks without power in that general area so hopefully that's it and not your computer.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

Me again...

The photos just came back up on my old blog. Saz may have hit the nail on the head with regard to the problem. They may have shut down some of their server space for one reason or another.

Give it another try now and see if it is working okay.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous claude said...

Call me old-fashioned, I hate and have always hated air-travel and airport muffled noise drives me nuts.
There's no space for your legs --or your arms for that matter, and I always feel like I am sitting in somebody else's lap, while someone else is sitting in MY lap.
I wish I had money to travel first class, but that will never happen!
There! You just got a piece from GrumbleLand ;)

10:29 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Thanks everyone...I finally got the picture up...just kept at it and I think you were right, Saz.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

I used to do the same at Logan Airport when I was an older teenager, and you're right, it was so much more glamourous. As a young girl it was fun to see how others lived and what they looked like.

I once got stuck in Washingtgon DC for 12 hours. After 8 hours my husband drove 4 hours to meet me and when he arrived the flight finally took off but by then it was too late. And I never got re-embursed.

This week I'm people watching at the beach!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Since my husband is a retired airline employee, I've had my share of travel by air. I have to say it's the only way to travel distance, but I've also seen huge changes over the years and not all of them good ones.
One thing that I'm glad hasn't changed for us non-rev employee travelers is the dress code. There's still something nice about dressing appropriately on a flight...which is how air travel always used to be.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Connie and Rob said...

By air is the only way to travel. I just can't sit in a car long enough to travel a long distance.

Take care,
Connie

8:24 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Yes air travel was certainly different back then Ginnie. My first flight was from the UK to Spain. I wore a tweed suit, shirt and knitted tie and heavy shoes with woolen socks. When I arrived the temperature was about 100 degrees.

7:24 AM  

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