My memories of the regulation days vs today are as follows.
First flying was a true "experience". Due to the price not everyone could fly.
There was no Greyhound Bus crowd mentality at the airport or onboard.
No one I knew ever even went to the airport to pick up a passenger let alone fly on a plane without dressing up. When you flew you always wore your "Sunday Best" and were always on your "Best Behavior" or used " Church Manners".
Everything got stamped ! All the Airlines had these validation stamp machines that the agents would smack really hard! They stamped "everything". You were never really on your way until you heard that smack a few times.
Today flight attendants are "here primarily for your safety" back then the flight attendants were there primarily for your comfort. While the basic job has always been a mix of both the focus in those days was on the service and comfort and less about being "hall monitors".
You always got fed in those days. Unless the flight was very very short you always had a meal. Some were better than others and by today's standards they were "heavy ,full of grease, and always smothered in gravy". But it was rare to not get fed or for the flight to "run out of food". It seemed like in those days the flights were always catered to survive being stranded at the North Pole for a week.
There was a Glamour back in that day attatched to working for an airline. No matter if you were a pilot, flight attendant, ticket agent, or whatever you were special. Airline employees were seen as cultured and worldly.
Multiple stop flights /same plane/ were much more common. For example in order to travel from Melbourne FL
. To Los Angeles Ca. You had two choices
you could fly National Airlines with stops at TPA
for example or Eastern with a plane change at ATL
. Delta had nonstops LAX
on an L1011 or a 4 stop service on a 727. No matter what flight you were on the price was the same.
There was much more to see at the airport back in those days.
Today the planes are starting to look very similar, 737,757,767,777 , A300,A319, A320,A321,A330, 7E7 etc two engines slung under the wing with a "standard tail" back in the old days you had Commets,Caravelle, VC10's, DC-8's, L1011's 727, etc so T tails and "standard tail" aircraft as well as variations were all very common. Some spotters used to "count the tail types at a given moment and compare to see which design was most popular". Planes looked distinctive as opposed to all looking similar.
Travel Agents were a must back in those days. They were the experts who could get you from point A to Point B via points C,D,E, and F and the three carriers it took to get you there. Using multiple carriers was much more common in those days as well.
Strikes by the Unions were also much more commonplace. Airlines were always being shut down for days, weeks and sometimes months over labor disputes. It was always "Headline News" on TV
. National Airlines was a common strike grounded airline and got the nickname King Cobra Airlines as they would " strike at anything".
AAAhhhh the good old days