…due to cost cutting measures, intrusive and time-consuming security procedures, and hidden costs.EXEC talks to seasoned travellers and compiles a list of air travel aspects sorely missed today.
Dressing For The Occasion
If you are heading to a meeting straight from the airport, you dress impeccably. Else, your staple clothing for a flight is a pair of jeans and your favourite five-year-old tee. You fly too often to dress up for it but three decades ago, flying meant wearing your Sunday best. It’d be hard pressed to know if you were heading out for a wedding or to an airport.
The Family Get-together
How many times did you come out of the airport, tired after a transatlantic flight to see your whole family and their aunts lined outside the arrivals terminal? Of course, the nieces and nephews turned up for the “phoren” chocolates, which you never forgot to buy albeit at the last minute.
Visits To The Cockpit
You could get away with knocking on the door to the pilot’s cabin in the 70s, and if you were lucky enough, get a glimpse of the cockpit. If you did this in today’s post-9/11 world, you will find yourself promptly offloaded and behind bars. You have to be fine with being treated as a criminal rather than as a customer.
The advent of telecommunications has evolved us into better communicators, but there is something irresistible about mimicking an airplane announcement made by an airhostess in the typical nasal twang.
Free Ticket Changes
Once upon a time, it was free to change the dates of travel if you were travelling on a base fare economy ticket. That meant a longer holiday without any surplus charges.
Those addicted to a nicotine fix will rue the day airline regulations changed in the 90s to shut all designated smoking cabins on airplanes.
Lugging The Case
Forget sashaying down the airport terminus with a Birkin carry-on. Nothing says you are travelling like a huge suitcase, its contents barely bound together by a rope and of course, there is a sticker on the front with your name and itinerary.
The Travel Agent
One of the Internet’s victims has been the neighbourhood travel agent, once the go-to person for travel needs, since replaced by computers and smartphones.
It’s been years since you have carried a holder with your passport, tickets and boarding pass intact, thanks to mobile check-ins and boarding passes. However, paper tickets carried some charm with it and also made for good keepsakes.
Airline food often faces flak for being bland and tepid, but that did not mean that free pre-flight snacks and full-course meals could be taken off the menu of short haul, economy flights.
A journey for a few hours was made memorable by courteous service that included complimentary bags and toys.
Back in the day, you had enough space to stretch your legs and relax during the flight. Today, you find yourself a little too close for comfort with your co-passenger.
When jet travel first emerged as the chariot of choice for the elite, some airlines like 747 had a piano bar to entertain its passengers. Passengers on Concorde were treated like they were in a five-star restaurant with champagne and fine cuisine.
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