washingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2633 times:
The Wall Street Journal had a nice little profile of former Pan Am glamour (it requires a subscription to read it). Does anyone know anything about the two former Pan Am/current Delta F/A mentioned in the article?:
Carmen Ongay, who started working for Pan Am in 1962 and learned tricks like fluffing scrambled eggs with soda water for coach passengers, put off a scholarship offer to the London School of Economics after college in Puerto Rico to take an offer from Pan Am. She thought it might be fun to be a flight attendant for six months, but once she got a taste, she couldn't give it up. She's been a flight attendant for 50 years, now flying for Delta Air Lines.
To Jackie Knackstedt, who started as a Pan Am stewardess on the Boeing 707 in 1973 and currently works as a Delta flight attendant, the end of Pan Am meant younger passengers and airline workers will never know what travel once was or could be.
I have a problem with the tone of the articles. If one misses the 'Golden Age' of air travel... Fly on a business jet or first class on an airline that has a true first class product (in other words, not cheap). The reality is that airlines are today's discount product for Y. The people who used to fly Y are now up in J. Those that flew first class now are on a chartered jet or a premium 1st class product.
In many ways, for the passenger, air travel is better than ever. I can get onto a plane and be where 95%+ of the world's population resides within 24 to 30 hours with only one or two connections (at most, my home airport is LAX). We now have non-stop flights to SIN, DXB, and other far flung destinations. Heck, Australia to London is no longer a heroic multi-day journey.
I love the Pan Am show (guilty pleasure...). But I'd rather have today's connectivity. I do pine for the days of 'elbow room' in the terminal. But I do not miss the old coach seats. I do pine for the days when reading was an activity (instead of somthing to be interupted); but I accept that if I turn on the IFE and pretend to be listening, I'll be left to read. (I've posted before how rare it is to sit next to an interesting passenger today...).
I do like how the show is bringing attention back to high end air travel. I suspect it will sell J class seats to the silver set. Pan Am was exciting; it just didn't adapt. But it lives on in UA's TPAC and DL's TATL operations. (Did AA take over their MIA operations? I assume so, but since it wasn't exactly a sale...)
Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.