Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eastern Airlines

I guess back in the day Air Travel was a grand event. This picture is from 1938, and famous chefs are shown loading cakes onto the airplane for the passengers. Not something I ever experienced in my decades of air travel. I started traveling in the mid-1980's, and by that time it had already become "cattle cars". The food was terrible, and no customer service. I can even remember when I first started traveling there were still "smoking" sections on the airplanes. Now that was fun . . . the smoke never left the smoking section and bothered the other passengers . . . NOT.


  1. I recall a time in the 50s when I flew commercial on a DC 7 for the first time. I flew Eastern, as shown in the picture, and the food was served on a tray with glasses and regular plates and sliverware. Most men were in suits and women in dresses. Very pleasant.

    My last flight to Seattle on an American Airline 737 and 767 was a most unpleasant experience. Everyone here knows whereof I speak, but I found American to be rudest attendants and the dirtiest cabin.

    I can't fly anymore, but the only thing I miss is the access to the smaller general aviation aircraft.

  2. My first ride in an airplane was in 1987. I flew from DFW to New Orleans. I had a window seat and by the time we got there, my neck was hurting. As we were starting to descend, I happened to think, "Wasn't I suppose to get air sick?"
    I really love to fly.

  3. With the hassle at the boarding lines and the high ticket prices, my wife and me generally drive. Now that we are retired there is no great hurry to get there and get back. And we can carry anything we want to. And there is no extra charge for the luggage either.
    Man that really frosts my butt. To have to pay extra money (BOTH WAYS) to bring anything extra with you.
    Unless it is carry on, they really sock it to you.
    Have you seen the size of some of those carry ons.

  4. Back in the early seventies my wife and me flew down to Vegas for a convention. On the way back we had the seats in the first row, and they were serving champagne. Being we were right up front the steward made sure our glasses never were empty. I was OK, but my wife got more than a little tipsy. That trip was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
    But, alas, you don't see that kind of service any more

  5. PJM - did you feel any of the earthquake in OK?

  6. Ah. . . . smoking on aircraft.

    I once took a Flying Tiger airlines trip from Seattle to Japan. The plane was chartered by the military to haul troops to South Korea, via Japan. Smoking allowed everywhere on board, and I'm a non smoker. I recall looking back in the aircraft and it looked like it was on fire, the smoke was so dense.

    On food, one thing that has always amazed me, as a person who flies very frequently, is how many travelers will take any food and drink offered, no matter how short and rough the flight. The flight in and out of my hometown is routinely pretty rough, and it's short, given that it's a hop to the Denver hub. You hardly have time to get a beverage before you need to dispose of it. But, no matter what time of day or night I'm flying, whoever is next to me will usually take a drink if offered, even if you can hardly hold on to it due to turbulence.

    Flying is definitely more uncomfortable than it used to be.

  7. As a kid in the 1960's I remember family trips to Miami, usually on Eastern Airlines. The stewardesses were in neat uniforms and were very pretty. The food was on par or better than a Swanson TV dinner so I was happy. The eating utensils were metal and included a butter knife and spork. The stewardess would come by and make sure the kids got their soda or milk, junior pilot wings and a deck of cards (with old airplanes on the reverse). I also remember that even though it was just before Christmas, it wasn't crazy crowded at the airport. It was just very relaxing and normal. I haven't been on an airplane since November 2000.

  8. Crazygravy,
    I did not feel the earthquake.

  9. Think my best airplane ride ever was flying home from Viet Nam on a Northwest Orient 707. We had gone over on an old liberty troop ship that took about 26 days, that was not an "E" ticket ride for sure.

    The freedom birds for us flew out of Cam Rahn Bay and if you could survive the journey in country to there, it was pretty well agreed that you had it made. Most of the aircraft I flew on in Viet Nam had a sign somewhere to the effect of "Remember, this aircraft was built by the low bidder". Always start the flight with a warm fuzzy feeling.

    We are all standing around in the departure area, and pretty soon, up comes this beautiful 707, with our name on it. We didn't have any tickets or anything, but they did have a list, and you had to be on the list to get on the plane. It took a while to board, but there was no complaining, everybody just wanted ON that plane.

    We were jammed in there like cattle, but nobody cared, and I we rattled the windows cheering and hollering when it finally broke ground and we all realized that we had made it and were going home.

    I know they fed us and took care of us. There were real stewardesses and everything. For a lot of us, it was the first American girls we had seen in a year. The actual flight has faded to mostly a blur, but I do remember dropping down and kissing the ground when we landed in the U.S. I think about that flight every time I fly commercial any more, and so far, it has been the most memorable.

  10. I first flew in '62 on my way to San Antonio to become an airman. First flight was Minneapolis to Omaha. Sat behind Vern Gagne, a "worldwide" wrestling champion. I never did talk to him. Back then flying was a big deal, everybody dressed to the nines, food, service, pretty young stews..marvelous, esp for a young kid. I had a dime in my pocket and they gave me a pack of four cigarettes - complements of the airline.
    Years later, flying in the military and one of my crew was adverse to cigarette smoke, so he stayed on oxygen the whole flight about 15 hours. The rest of us just smoked away, oblivious to the smoky cabin. Flights are more pleasant now with no smoking, but crowding, stupid passengers, big carry on luggage, surly passengers, surly crew, luggage fees, terrorist attacks, security checks and flight delays make patience a requirement.

    I don't envy you your trip to Africa. Although, I do want to visit New Zealand before I get too decrepit to fly.

  11. I'm glad there is no smoking on airlines, I wish there was no drinking as well. It is not pleasant to sit near a couple of drunks for several hours.

  12. "I'm glad there is no smoking on airlines, I wish there was no drinking as well. It is not pleasant to sit near a couple of drunks for several hours."

    Indeed, on my last round trip of air travel I boarded an early morning airplane, one of the little regional planes, and the fellow next to me informed me that he'd been on an all night bender and was ready for "some sleep". The combined smoke smell, alcohol smell, and risk of a bumpy flight made it an interesting short hop.

  13. The last company I worked for (in the good times) had a 8 seat corporate jet that I was fortunate enough to be able to take on several trips cross country. Being able to drive up to hanger, park the car and walk up to the jet, settle into the soft leather seats, stretch my legs and relax was priceless. Landing at the FBO's at the smaller airports were wonderful, they rolled out a red carpet (really!) for us to step on getting off the plane and had rental cars waiting for us on the tarmac. Priceless.

  14. Like to see some pictures and stories of the brief but memorable history of the transatlantic travels of the Zeppelins and their passengers? Realizing that they are not in the technical sense Airplanes! Thank you.

  15. I spent my high school years off hours at the Pgh County Airport, polishing a DC-3 and Convair 440. My closest friend's dad was chief pilot of MSA, pilot of the DC-3. I spent many an hour trying not to slide of the wings. Great memories, thanks for the nostalgic look back.