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These days, we’re crammed into a plane like sardines.

…traveling by airplane was an amazing experience.

It was 1980 – the year I was to graduate from high school. As a gift to celebrate this milestone in my life, my dad, brother and I were flying to Germany to spend time with relatives.

Those of you who are in your 20s or 30s have no idea what a wonderful thing flying was back then. Let me paint a picture for you.

We arrived at the airport, tickets in hand  – these had been purchased far in advance of our trip by my dad from a travel agent at a travel agency. There were no extra or hidden fees.

We got in line to get our boarding passes and check our luggage. The line moved fairly quickly. They had just the right number of employees at the counters to accommodate the number of folks in line.

At the counter we showed our tickets and passports to the nice lady behind the counter. She printed our boarding passes and checked our luggage.

We were not charged for checking luggage.

In 1980 they somehow understood that if you were flying somewhere, you were probably staying for a while and would need a change of clothes or something. Yes. Luggage was part of your fare.

Once on the plane, we found our seats and sat down.

I’m 5′ 8″. Taller than the average woman. I have a 33″ in seam.

I sat down, pushed my carry-on under the seat in front of me and stretched out my legs. Yes, that’s right – I stretched out my legs! There had to be 5 or 6 inches of space between my knees and the seat in front of me.

There was also a lot of space between me and the person beside me. None of us were spilling out of our seats and encroaching the space of the other!

Flight attendants dropped by numerous times to offer us complementary pillows, or blankets, or drinks. Then they showed the onboard movie to everyone for free!

In the aisle, two people could easily pass each other on their way to, or back from the facilities that were spacious enough that you didn’t have to be a trained acrobat to use them.

I looked forward to meal time the most. Would I have roast beef with mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy and a biscuit? Or would I have fried chicken with veggies and French fries? Or would I choose ham with veggies and scalloped potatoes?

It just all depended on what I had an appetite for.

Later, we were offered another beverage and a snack like crackers and cheese and slices of apple or something like that.

And just before landing, they came around with hot towels that we applied to our faces, cleansing our pores, refreshing us.

Yes, I’m old enough to remember when travelling by plane was an amazing experience.


How do you feel about be charged to bring luggage? Hidden fees that sometimes exceed the cost of the flight? Being crammed into your seats like sardines? Knowing that you may not be able to board your flight because the airline has been overbooked? Does anybody seriously like those cheesy gold fish snacks?