Airplane Etiquette Indeed!

Patricia A. Ziegler wrote an interesting article on the etiquette of airplane travel in the early 60’s which sparked a memory for me of my first flight after graduating from high school in 1968. It was a big deal. What a contrast to my flight this week.

I dressed up for the flight, a yellow linen dress, a bright orange metal flower pin, white heels and I believe I may have even worn white gloves. I had my new watch on, substituting nicely for a bracelet. Watches were jewelry then. My family all took me to the airport. I checked my new floral luggage after my photo was taken, standing by the pile of bags. I waited two hours and chatted in a grown up fashion with my parents and sisters who were also dressed up just because they were out in public. I purchased several magazines, gum and mints for the trip at the airport at a staggering price. As I walked on the plane, I turned and waved to my family before disappearing through the doors.

A hostess with a smart cap, suit and tie greeted me. She had wings pinned to her jacket and she assisted me to my seat and later brought beverages, snacks, a pillow, blanket and later a delicious meal that I had pre-ordered from the menu through a travel agent. I was offered free cigarettes in the small box of four, which I accepted and enjoyed but was not offered two free drinks containing alcohol. That was only for the adults on board. Puffing away I enjoyed a roomy seat, caramels from my purse and lots of attention. Later, after we landed for the fourth time, I was greeted wildly by my sister the minute I exited the plane.

The world has certainly changed since I flew home unexpectedly on Thursday!

I booked my last minute ticket online. Arrival was somewhat abrupt, being dropped off at the airport! Hasty kisses and hugs from my sister while the trunk is still open after taking out the large bag. The car is running but not in gear, no need to park and come in these days, your free time is taken up with other activities.

I wore a cotton top, jeans and croc’s. Was I more comfortable? You bet! This time actually removing my shoes in line and walking barefoot to the large scanning booth. I was scanned with feet spread, arms above my head, like a criminal, cringing over being so exposed, but grateful for the technology that insured a safer trip. I did not wear jewelry of any kind so no need to remove earrings, pins, necklaces or bracelets. My iPod Touch and phone has replaced my watch. They went into the box inside my purse.

I had just dropped off my one large, well used suitcase with bright yarn tied to it to identify it from the dozens of bags that looked exactly the same. I had previously paid $20 to check it online. I brought the large one because a train trip had been planned for my return which didn’t charge for such a large size. But the train was too slow for this hurried trip home. So a checked bag was chosen and I elected to carry my knitting bag as my carry on.

Knitting needles were permitted and I enjoyed knitting the time away since my seat did not have view outdoors. I also did not need to add a heavy book to my carry on bag. My Kindle app on my iPod touch had Water The Elephants on it, purchased especially for the trip in the wee hours of the morning from Amazon during the time I should have been sleeping. I began reading it right then instead of waiting for my flight.

It still rankles, not being met as I exited the flight. This week I simply called my daughter, who was waiting outside the airport, from the plane as it taxied in. She was now to get ready to swing by the exit to pick me up. All worked like clockwork.

I loved the excitement and formality of travel in the 60’s. It was as much as an event as the vacation itself. Nowadays, it is full of worry, but much more comfortable and handy. So many more flights, this time the plane only stopped once before arriving home. That was nice.