Thursday, July 1, 2010

air travel in the 70s and today

how air travel has changed over the years! but this picture of passengers on the tarmac boarding a plane brought me back to paya lebar days. i do not remember walking directly into the plane via the aerobridge when i first boarded a plane in the 70s. i remember walking, unprotected from the elements, from the airport building to the waiting boeing 737.

i first flew in a passenger plane when i was in my 20s. the other day, when i was flying budget from kota kinabalu to kuching, young school children in uniform were taking the plane as though they were on a bus. it was quite evident that that not their maiden flight as there was no photo taking, excited chatter and unfamiliarity with the procedure.

these days, hardly anyone take snapshots of their friends or family members when they are in the cabin of a plane. in those days, when travelling by air was more like a kind of a privilege, you would see holiday makers taking pictures.

even before the advent of budget airlines, by the late 70s, plane travel had become less exclusive and glamorous. before that, the rich and famous who flew across continents, especially across the ocean from america to europe or vice versa were referred to as the 'jet-setters'.

planes have grown bigger. first came the 747 jumbo jet. for a while, there was the concorde. these days, we have the a380. however, bigger planes have not resulted in more space for the economy class passengers. in fact, i feel more squeezed than before. that is the reason i always opt for an aisle seat; otherwise, if i am seated next to the window, two persons will be inconvenienced each time i need to answer nature's call.

in the past, nobody really bothered about what you hand-carried into the plane, as long as it was not some explosive stuff or some dangerous weapon. after the september 11 incident, metal and sharp objects are forbidden. subsequently, liquid and gels are limited to certain amount and they have to be packed in a regulated way.

one other change is the way we booked our tickets. in the 70s, we would get our air tickets through some tour agencies or we would go to the airline office to buy the tickets. today, most of the time, i book my ticket online. i also choose my seats online and check-in using the internet.

however, because of goverment regulations and competition, the price of an air-ticket has not gone up that much over the years. in fact, in some cases, the air-fare has become 'cheaper'. air-port taxes, however, have increased many folds in most countries.

pilgrims bound for mecca boarding a plane at paya lebar international airport

(picture from national archives of singapore)


doris said...

my first plane ride was on Air Cambodge, a propellar plane. when i stared at the propellars, they seemed to have stopped moving. when i turned to a Sikh man seated next to me to tell him what i saw, he was praying. i got really worried.

yg said...

doris, the propellers must have been moving so fast that they appeared to be stationary.

Amy Alex said...

Present airlines are improved very much in late 90's all over the world airlines get improvement and advanced technology and if we look economically Asian air lines are start offering cheap flights to pakistan and all over the Asia from their people which encourage them to travel.

zeetech yousaf said...

No doubt there is a big difference between the services of 70's and now a days for example many airlines are offering cheap umrah packages from all over the world which was given by the agents in 70's.