Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Airline Travel With a Twist

Remember those days when riding a plane was fun?  When seats were wider and actually spaced with adequate leg room.  When the man reclining in front of you didn't land in your lap and when being assigned a middle seat didn't involve an intricate dance of dodging elbows. 

Airport - Seoul
I remember a time, not too long ago, when water was something you didn't purchase after being frisked in a security line up.  Although this is not such a bad procedure.  I mean from a writer of romantic suspense point of view, it gives me a sense of what frisking is all about.  An experience I might never previously have had.  Seriously, while I realize that the world has changed and we need a certain amount of security, some days I long for what was.  I think fondly back to days when I wasn't scrambling for plastic baggies for my midget size toothpaste and someone wasn't scowling over my mascara while I juggled my shoes and slipped on tile floors in sock feet.  Days when, should my luggage have been lost or the in flight meal insubstantial, no problem, my carry on had it all.

My second plane ride ever was to Hawaii.  Wardair was a Canadian airline that provided luxury even in economy.  An airline that like many things, is now history.  I remember a 747 with wide seats and excess legroom.  There was a circular staircase up to the lounge area that was open to all passengers.  There was a bar complete with bartender in the main passenger area in the forward section (economy) that served free drinks for the entire flight.  The drinks morphed into Mai Tais as we neared our destination. 

That journey included a tour of the cockpit for a few select passengers of who I ended up being one. I can still remember my first encounter with the concept of auto pilot.  I think shock registered at walking into the cockpit, being overwhelmed by complexity of it all and then realizing that both the pilot and co-pilot faced me with their back to the wide open sky.   "It's on auto-pilot," the captain assured me with a smile.  And really, his smile wasn't wide enough.  Auto-pilot had me uneasy for the duration of the trip.  Thank goodness for the Mai Tais.

A Staircase in a 747 - leading to lounge
It's amazing how quickly what was once reality slips into the realm of history.  It's hard to imagine a plane now where the cockpit would be that open, or where a lounge would be available to anyone other than first class or where there would even be a lounge at all.  For better or worse, it's another world. 

For a writer, nothing is really over.  Those times that fade into history can come alive again with a pen and a flight into imagination.   And you - any memories of times past?



Lisa McManus Lange said...

Wardair!!! I remember Wardair!! I miss the little oddly-shaped METAL utensils on the planes. And for some odd reason, I found the meals quite exciting! Ah the good old days! Another great post! Lisa

Ryshia Kennie said...

Thanks Lisa - you've brought back more memories. I forgot the utensils. But I do remember the meals, there was never any doubt that you'd be fed well on every flight.