Just Plane Fun

My wife and I are scheduled for an Alaskan cruise in the fall. By all accounts, it’s something to which we should look forward.

I’ve been told the same thing about other trips, including a Vegas excursion that included a stay at a strip motel that still had beds that took quarters.

Unfortunately, my wife held little interest for a strip motel with quarter-driven beds, so that’s an experience still to be had.

That said, the Alaskan cruise seems to hold more promise.

Except for the airplane ride. We have to catch a plane to Dallas and then land in Seattle to get on the boat.

I used to love riding commercial airliners. You know, back in the days before pieces of the plane landed before the rest of it.

There’s no way for the airlines or the companies who build aircraft to downplay the issues reported recently.

Doors flying off, engine covers flopping in the breeze, or over served passengers trying to make an exit at 35,000 feet with no parachute.

That last one has nothing to do with the construction or maintenance of the airplane, but it is a factor.

I heard that nowadays, if you’re flying on a Boeing airplane, if airport screeners catch you with a hammer, screwdriver, or pair of pliers, you’ll be put on standby and asked to work on the plane if something goes wrong.

That last comment is unsubstantiated.

I’m old enough to remember when flying was fun. And worth the effort.

When I say, worth the effort, what I mean is, it took little to no effort. At least on the flyers part.

You got a boarding pass, got on the plane, lit a cigarette if you smoked, ordered something to eat or drink, and then kicked back and enjoyed the flight.

Much of that is now gone, and for some of it, I’m glad. For example, it’s good that folks can’t smoke inside a plane now.

That never worked well. They put people who didn’t want to be around smokers in the non-smoking section. Which, on a plane is like a urine-free section in a swimming pool.

But pretty much everything else was great. In the early 70s, I flew alone from Houston back home via Texarkana to Ashdown, Arkansas. I was 12.

You could actually put a kid on a plane by themselves and not worry about them.

I spent part of my summer with some of my cousins. I’d been driven down to south Texas, but wanted to ride an airplane back. So I saved up my lawn mowing money, and did just that.

My aunt walked me up to the ticket counter and said, “This is my nephew. He’s 12 and is flying back by himself.”

The ticket lady told her, “No problem,” and marched me up to one of the stewardesses and told her I was alone. The stewardess watched and entertained me on the flight.

And the food. The food used to be good. Today, if you get a bag of pretzels and a Sprite, you’d better be grateful. Even more grateful if the pretzels aren’t stale.

Twenty or 30 years prior to my flight home at age 12, the food on airplanes was excellent.

Shortly after WWI, some airlines began serving box lunches. It was cold food, but better than pretzels and Sprite.

Later, planes included dining areas and kitchens. Food was prepared by chefs and served to customers who were happy to pay the price.

Airlines were in competition to see who could offer the best experience.

How good was the food early on in passenger flights? There’s a guy who has a YouTube channel called, Tasting History with Max Miller. He recreated a meal from an airline cookbook from 1954.

Here’s the menu:

Pot Roast, Delmonico Potatoes, and Heavenly Delight Salad.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think that 70 years from now, people will be celebrating and recreating the pretzels and Sprite from today.

And, I got ahead of myself just a bit. You can’t get to the pretzels and Sprite without losing your shoes in the screening line.

Losing your shoes, and if you’re a highly-suspicious little old lady, a strip search in another room to make sure you’re not a threat to the citizenry.

A screening process that seems excessive compared to the one used on our southern border.

But, I’ll weather the storm associated with flying, because as I said, an Alaskan cruise is supposed to be breathtaking.

I just hope the in-flight movie isn’t Titanic.


©2024 John Moore

John’s books, Puns for Groan People and Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, are available on his website TheCountryWriter.com, where you can also send him a message.

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