In the 1950s travelling by air was considered an extreme luxury; travellers dressed in their best attire for the privilege and likely enjoyed a cigarette in flight. Flight attendants were referred to as "air hostesses", all young women, whilst pilots were exclusively male, despite the large number of women who proved their extreme competency from the early days of aviation.
Most airlines dismissed their "air hostesses", when they either married, or reached their late 20s!
I still remember when Deborah Wardley, took her Equal Opportunities case against Ansett Airlines in Australia, to win the right to become a commercial pilot, in the mid 1970s, and won!
I also remember the joy of observing and interacting with pilots in the cockpit, in the pre-9/11 era, where one only needed to request such a visit in flight, to enjoy the views and experience such things as changing control towers between Melbourne and Los Angeles, crossing the international dateline and even being permitted to take control of the plane, under the supervision of the pilot!
These days, international air travel is within the means of millions of people and we take long distance air travel for granted. Security is extreme, smoking prohibited and flight attendants are stretched to meet the demands of meal delivery, let alone any real degree of personalised service, for those of us travelling economy class.
New technology ensures passengers are hooked into in flight entertainment, to the point they miss the amazing sights of changing cloud formations and weather conditions, let alone views of the landscape they fly over.
While I love watching the flight tracker, I don't enjoy watching entertainment on a tiny screen so close to my face and full of interruptions. I wonder about the degree of low level radiation emissions from these devices en mass in a plane?
I long to simply read, but this involves switching on a light and may disturb my fellow travellers. As for chatting to the passenger next to me; they are tuned into a movie.
Oh for the grand old days of commercial aviation!