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When flying was fun
Old 12-02-2010, 04:19 PM   #1
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When flying was fun

My family traveled overseas often when I was growing up. In the 60s, people dressed up to fly - heels and dresses for the ladies, suits and ties for the gents. It was a magical experience and I loved it.

Now it seems airplanes are like greyhound buses - people dressed very poorly, bad manners and we have the TSA stuff on top of all that. Sinatra would not be pleased.

Here's a fun clip from "Catch Me if You Can" with Leonardo Dicaprio. Reminds me of when flying was fun and cool...well except for the suits pulling the guns at the end ;-)



Anyone remember the "mile high club"? No fun allowed on planes these days. Such a shame.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:39 PM   #2
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I loved going to the airport as a kid and young adult. I'd go just to see the travelers from all over. You could go out to all the gates and watch people's expressions as their loved ones arrived or left. It was wonderful.
But having to wear high heels - that would be a joy killer (not to mention crippler) for me!
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:46 PM   #3
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I was thinking the same thing the other day.

Mind you I flew for the first time only in 1997, so I can't say whether flying was so much more fun in the 60's and 70's than it is today. But flying was much more fun to me even 10 years ago. I have pretty much given up on flying domestic and if my parents didn't live on another continent, I'd probably give up on flying altogether.

As for the new "flying dress code", it is simply abject. It is one thing to be comfy and quite another to be an eyesore. Unfortunately, the new vestimentary laisser-aller stretches far beyond the bounds of the airport.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
My family traveled overseas often when I was growing up. In the 60s, people dressed up to fly - heels and dresses for the ladies, suits and ties for the gents. It was a magical experience and I loved it.

Now it seems airplanes are like greyhound buses - people dressed very poorly, bad manners and we have the TSA stuff on top of all that. Sinatra would not be pleased.

Here's a fun clip from "Catch Me if You Can" with Leonardo Dicaprio. Reminds me of when flying was fun and cool...well except for the suits pulling the guns at the end ;-)

Anyone remember the "mile high club"? No fun allowed on planes these days. Such a shame.
I think the change in dress was more of a cultural change and economic change than anything else.

Flying was expensive in the 60s so business and more affluent travelers did it. Don't forget the airlines were regulated at that time. Planes got bigger and the number and size of airports grew.
As prices came down more of the general public could afford to fly.

Also, in the late 60s the style of dress became more casual and varied. Airline travel just reflected these trends.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:44 PM   #5
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Also, in the late 60s the style of dress became more casual and varied. Airline travel just reflected these trends.
no doubt
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:29 PM   #6
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US Air is not impressive AT ALL. Flew from CA to NJ (two flights)...NO movies..no hot towels, food, etc. (yes, this was in first class!) What the heck are my miles used for these days?

Continental heading West was wonderful, and I got my mileage out of every FF mile!

I try to dress comfortable (but not homeless!) when travelling for pleasure (yoga pants, etc.)
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:46 AM   #7
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Yeah, I dread flying these days but recall the good old days of the early '60s when flying was a fun experience. Now, it's even difficult to depend upon airlines to get you to your destination on time, reliably. I don't know what the "failure" rate is for, say, an LA to Boston or Atlanta to Chicago, etc. trip. I'll bet it's someplace in in the low (few) % range.

Imagine you need to be someplace for a major meeting, wedding, funeral, "award", etc. etc. What level of confidence do you have that 1) you won't find yourself on a "no fly" list, 2 ) the airline's equipment will actually work that day 3 ) The airline won't make up an excuse to cancel your flight because it wasn't full enough to pay for their fuel. 4 ) The airport won't be evacuated because some goof ball jumped a security perimeter, 5 ) You won't be "bumped" because the airline overbooked. 6) One of your 2 or maybe even 3 connecting flights is late or cancelled. 7) Your checked luggage (which you paid $50 to transport with you) will actually show up - with your formal wear or expensive wedding gift still in the bag - and the bag hasn't been "tossed" on the whim of TSA. 8 ) I could go on but I'll quit.

Anymore, I never travel with the concept of arriving "in time" for an event. I always allow at least one or even 2 days for airline travel beyond the actual travel day. Doing otherwise seems a recipe for disaster, depending upon the importance of your trip. Of course, your Frequent Flyer Miles May Vary.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:15 AM   #8
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Mind you I flew for the first time only in 1997, so I can't say whether flying was so much more fun in the 60's and 70's than it is today.
I am told that my first flight was on January 31, 1960, from Heathrow to Idlewild Airport, on a Boeing 707, but I don't remember it. The first flight I do remember was from Cleveland to Honolulu in late 1966. As I recall, we did dress up and it seemed like quite a grand adventure. My little brother and I had to be on our best behavior.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:22 AM   #9
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I certainly agree that the flying experience has deteriorated over the past20-30years to the point where it is a fairly nasty experience. An experience that one has to put up with if one wants to see the other joys of travel. I think we are mostly to blame for this though as we have forced the airlines to compete on price rather than service or an otherwise enjoyable experience. They cram so many people into the planes in economy class that I( being a rather tall 6ft4) hate to travel economy. I think the dress issue is as Dex described a general move to a more casual and less expensive class of consumer. When I first flew to London from Toronto in 1978 I think the fare was about $400 pretty close to fares today. After 32 years of inflation it is much cheaper in real terms today.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #10
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I am increasingly avoiding all discretionary air travel. It's just a miserable experience today.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:32 AM   #11
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Remember when an "air-bag" meant something totally different? People carried them with such pride.

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Old 12-03-2010, 10:39 AM   #12
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I remember flying being fun in the 70's but part of that was being younger and more adventurous. I also remember smoking on airplanes and that was pretty nasty, even the seats stunk. So in my opinion not everything has gotten worse. I do miss family meeting me right as I got off the plane though.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:18 AM   #13
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My first flying was in the 70s and I walked pretty much unmolested right to the gate and they showed me a seat chart with an outline of the fuselage with little peel off stickers with seat numbers. Everyone was super polite and orderly. Wonderful experience.

Fast forward.

I have flown 10-12 times in the past 2 months, and each time I want to just leave the airport and never return.

And it does not help to have Napolean-tano tell me "if you don't like you don't have to fly."
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:32 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
My family traveled overseas often when I was growing up. In the 60s, people dressed up to fly - heels and dresses for the ladies, suits and ties for the gents. It was a magical experience and I loved it.

Now it seems airplanes are like greyhound buses - people dressed very poorly, bad manners and we have the TSA stuff on top of all that. Sinatra would not be pleased.
I remember it too. You had to pay so much to fly back then, that only the more affluent people flew regularly, and flying somewhere was a serious status symbol. So people dressed to look the part. Most families could only afford to fly rarely, so it was a "big deal", and dressing up was part of the experience.

Then flying became a commodity and lost it's "high class" status. After that, people were only interested in comfort.

Have you noticed that people in the US rarely dress up anymore anyway? Personally, I like that - I like my limited wardrobe. My husband likes not having to have jackets and ties in the closet. I haven't worn a dress or hose in years.

I remember as a kid that women wore hats and gloves to church and dresses/skirts otherwise. Men wore full suits all the time. It was considered shocking to see a woman in pants unless she was at home or down on the farm. I'm so glad we've moved away from the rigid dress codes of the 1950s.

Audrey

P.S. Oh nasty reminder! Yes! The smoking on flights - horrible! That was still allowed on overseas flights from the US well into the 1990s (like to Hawaii). I remember how horrible it was to sit a few seats forward of the smoking section on those long Hawaii flights - gag!
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:34 AM   #15
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Just in terms of the Catch Me If You Can clip: I know three women who were stewardesses starting in the early 70s (and turned into flight attendants). They are genuinely nice people and have great outgoing personalities, so much fun.

It would be hard to be a FA today; I wonder if those jobs are as coveted as they seemed to be way back when.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:28 PM   #16
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Now it seems airplanes are like greyhound buses - people dressed very poorly, bad manners and we have the TSA stuff on top of all that.
It seems that way because it's true. Buses with wings. Airports are now bus terminals or subway stations.

I guess this is what happens when people demand the lowest possible price and make price the single most important factor that differentiates air travel alternatives.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:02 PM   #17
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I remember it too. You had to pay so much to fly back then, that only the more affluent people flew regularly, and flying somewhere was a serious status symbol.
Yep, and you were about 50 times more likely to be killed than today (see page 5 here).
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:27 PM   #18
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I am increasingly avoiding all discretionary air travel. It's just a miserable experience today.
I had been. But there is no way I can drive 650 miles in less than 3 days.

Getting old sucks.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:29 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I remember it too. You had to pay so much to fly back then, that only the more affluent people flew regularly, and flying somewhere was a serious status symbol. So people dressed to look the part. Most families could only afford to fly rarely, so it was a "big deal", and dressing up was part of the experience.

Then flying became a commodity and lost it's "high class" status. After that, people were only interested in comfort.

Have you noticed that people in the US rarely dress up anymore anyway? Personally, I like that - I like my limited wardrobe. My husband likes not having to have jackets and ties in the closet. I haven't worn a dress or hose in years.

I remember as a kid that women wore hats and gloves to church and dresses/skirts otherwise. Men wore full suits all the time. It was considered shocking to see a woman in pants unless she was at home or down on the farm. I'm so glad we've moved away from the rigid dress codes of the 1950s.

Audrey

P.S. Oh nasty reminder! Yes! The smoking on flights - horrible! That was still allowed on overseas flights from the US well into the 1990s (like to Hawaii). I remember how horrible it was to sit a few seats forward of the smoking section on those long Hawaii flights - gag!
I recall someone smoking a cigar on a flight back in the late '60s, and telling him that if he didn't put out the cigar I was going to vomit on him. It was not a threat, it was a promise.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:39 PM   #20
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Seems like the experience has steadily gone downhill since deregulation.
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