Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:02 am

What do you all remember about flying as a child? I remember some of the free stuff we got like miniature crayons and coloring books, models of the airplane, and of course pilots wings! It does not seem that this is done anymore, am I wrong? What types of things do you all remember from flying as a kid?

RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:06 am

What I remember most from flying as a kid were my ears hurting REAL badly as a result of pressure changes. Fortunately, I never seem to have this problem anymore.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:11 am

I remember getting the wings and USAir playing cards. I also got a McDonalds KidMeal with a stuffed United 747.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:11 am

flight deck visits where i could sit in the captains seat or whenever i was flying on my birthday the captain would wish me a happy birthday. Once had a flight on virgin when the captain counted down the seconds until my birthday would be over(midnight). im sure it pissed off the sleeping passengers but it made a little kid feel real good(me). Who knows, maybe it was the airline trying to recruit future pilots in a weird psycological way? virgin sure is the reason i want to be a pilot

RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:15 am

I like that one Bacardi. If I ever make it to the left seat, I will definately do that!
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:28 am

I remember one time I flew alone on New York Air and instead of giving me wings, I got a big, round red and white striped pin w/ the airline's logo on it. I still have it too...
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 6:50 am

Swissair does it still. The kids get little toys or drawing books and crayons etc.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 8:18 am

I remember gettin wings and playing cards on Alaska Airlines. I dont see wings being given out much on ANY airline anymore, why not?
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 8:35 am

I remember plastic wings, playing cards, and cockpit visits.

RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 9:06 am

I feel so happy when I see my borother coloring away on the SIA coloring book.It brings back old memories of when there was no Krisworld,my mom used to coax me into coloring so that she could sleep.And they also gave me a stuffed elephant,which I still have(stuffed into the cabined though),the stewardesses even brought me around the plane and that made a 3 year old kid so happy(me).

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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 9:41 am

I remember in Washington D.C. I was in an elevator with some Air France flight attendants who were very nice and gave me a plastic pouch that had an entertainment set that had a coloring pad, some games and this little squishy elastic thing. And on ANA just this past spring my sister received an inflatable "Pikachu" pokemon character and I got an inflatable ANA 747. On the US airlines I remember wings and sometimes a cockpit visit.

Aaron G.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 10:41 am

In January of 1961 on a BOAC Comet 4C, I received a Junior Jet Log Book that could record the date, registration, from, to , miles , time, and captain's signature. I still have it and use on the occasional trips that I make. I also remember cockpit visits in a BEA Vickers Vanguard.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 1:47 pm

With UA, we just give out the little wings and activity books only when we think about it or if we have time or if someone asks us. I must emphasize, that I DO go outta my way to get these things for the young ones, especially if the flight's long. Why? Because I remember how special it felt to me on my first flight @ 7 yrs old. (a 727 to MCI on the old Braniff Intl.)

Kids never seem to forget things like that.

RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 2:14 pm

DL's Pawberry Punch (not exactly a good memory...anyone here like the stuff?) and the endless Fantasic Flyer magazines...still have a massive collection! Can't forget the buttons that identified you as a U/M (and would *always* set off IAD's (hyper)senstive metaldetectors) -got lots of those too from UA, DL, CO, and TW. The cockpit visits were (and are) the love of flying was sparked by them!

Some good does come from having divorced parents, no?

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RE: Flying As A Child

Wed Jun 14, 2000 3:22 pm

When I was a kid I flew only with Russian planes /LOT`s AN24/. What I remember is that tickets were cheaper and it was much easier to get to the cockpit. I remember one flight /back in 1984/ on POZ-WRO route. It was a charter flight made for schools. The plane /AN24/ was full of kids, there were just a few adults onboard. We had 2 armed guys flying with us for security reasons-there were a few hijack attempts in Poland in 1980`s.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 12:13 am

What do I remember? This, my friends (in no particular order):

1.) Being escorted into the flight deck of a 747SP on a flight from Hong Kong to New York when I was about four or five years old. It was nighttime, and we were flying high above the Arctic...40,000 ft. easy. The captain and first officer showed me around the place--it looked like a big, glowing city, all right in one tiny room. The lights were dimmed, and the instruments sparked with orange and yellow was an absolutely beautiful sight. The navigator on the ship spread out a PA souvenir map of the arctic route, and plotted out our flight path for me on it. I still have that map today, and it's a priceless valuable to me.

2.) Gliding into HNL like a gull gracefully swooping out of the sky on a 747-100...the approach into Honolulu had to be one of the most fun for me, because I'd sit in my seat in Clipper Class and, with the wide armrests, pretend that I was flying the plane myself with a side stick and thrust. I'd mimic every minute bank and engine pitch change, the second after it happened. I felt so cool doing that. Also, the flight attendants thought it was cute.  

3.) Delta's Fantastic Flyer magazine, the first (only?) airline magazine made especially for kids. Plus Dusty, the Delta Air Lines Air Lion...anybody remember him? Pawberry Punch was part of this whole kid-oriented marketing ploy...I never got a chance to have any, because by the time we started flying on Delta in the early 90s, I had grown too big for such childish things (or so I thought  )

4.) Sitting in Clipper Class, enjoying a filet mignon, drinking Country Time lemonade and watching the movie on the headphones. Absolutely heavenly. Even though it wasn't First, the flight attendants treated us like it...though I was just a kid, I got the same service as everyone else. I can't believe how much we used to fly up there, but then again, I guess PA's load factors weren't tremendous during the 80s. Sigh.

5.) Drawing airplanes that I saw on the tarmac, while in an airplane. The beginning of my obsession with drawing aircraft.

6.) Stupidly (and loudly) suggesting to my father that the flight number that we'd be going on (flt 499, DCA-MIA) was similar to that of 401, the Eastern L-1011 that had crashed in the Miami Everglades a decade and a half before. I had been watching the movie about that crash and reading the accident report a few weeks before, and that spooked me. Fortunately, my dad shut me up before many people around me heard what I was saying. Hey, I was a kid, I didn't know any better... 

7.) Sitting in the International terminal at JFK at 3 in the morning, watching the bums push their carts around, desperately hoping that some how, some way, the Pizza Hut kiosk would open soon. (Our flight, an A-310 from Heathrow, developed an engine problem on takeoff, resulting in a 3 hour ground delay while the mechanics "changed a circuit breaker. I thought then, and still do now, that our captain was full of it, but anyway...we got into Kennedy really late as a result. Too late to catch the last flight into DC from there, so we were forced to stay at JFK until 6 am, when the first PA Shuttle flight left from LaGuardia. Not a pleasant night).

8.) The pain, the anguish, the heartbreak... the shock when PA 103 went down...I don't like to think about that day, but when we heard the news on the's sort of like one of those moments in time. Like when Kennedy was assasinated, or when the Challenger never forget where you were or what you were doing when you found out. When the world changed for 270 people, thousands of employees, and one eight year old boy.

That's all I have to say about that.

9.) Flying all day to get to corners of the globe...leaving our house at 5:00 in the morning in the middle of the dark twinight to get to Dulles for a 6:30 PA Express flight (Dash-7) to JFK. Then to LAX, and to HNL on a time spent flying: 13 hours and change, plus two-hour layovers in JFK and LAX.

Going to POS (Port of Spain, Trinidad), we'd usually be on PA's 435 from DCA, which flew DCA-MIA-BGI-POS...leave at 1:30 in the afternoon, and getting into Trinidad at 12:30 in the morning or later.

10.) The PA wings, headsets, flight kits (including shaving cream & razor, shoe horn, socks, comb, moisturizer, etc.), soaps, playing cards, etc...all of which I still have today. Things were a lot more free back then...the last vestiges of a bygone era...the pre-dereg era...

11.) Ungodly layovers in MIA and JFK, waiting and hoping to get on a connecting flight home.

Sometimes we didn't get on, and that was disappointing. On our last trip with PA ever, we were going to Nassau, but oddly enough, couldn't get on a flight out. Not to Eleuthera or Key West, or Providenciales, Grand Turk, or *anything*. Everything was full (though our baggage made it to Nassau). So we stayed in Miami and had our vacation there, which was disappointing because I had so badly wanted to fly on PA Express' (relatively) new J-31s, an a/c I'd never flown before. Two weeks later, PA packed up shop for good.

Nowdays, I realize how weird it was that all those flights were full, and yet PA didn't have enough money to forge on. Were passengers, seeing the writing on the wall, using up their WorldPass miles to tropical destinations? Or did PA just get their loans called? I never was too clear on that. In any case, I digress...

12.) Meeting the captains and getting cockpit tours of a Dash-7 at JFK, a 727-200 in MIA, an A-310 in HAM, and 747-100 in JFK. In the A-310 (which was actually on the inaugural flight of PA's AMS-HAM-JFK service), the flight deck was abandoned on our stopover (crew change, probably), and I wandered in there. Imagine, a ten year old all alone in the flight deck of a hundred million dollar jetliner...thank God I didn't touch anything.

I also remember the crew of a particular 727 flight from DCA to MIA which arrived *really* late at night in Nov. 1991...the final days of PA. The captain, who looked extremely tired, walked along with us, smiled, and let me take his picture, even though he was obviously trying to get away to the crew hotel. That meant more to me than anything in the world...even more now, as I realize that this man was smiling, even as the airline he was flying for was crumbling around him. I often wonder what became of that captain, as I still have his picture in my old photos.

I know that most of this is somewhat off-topic, but it's what I remember from flying as a child. Sort of a heavily abridged memoir of ten years of my childhood spent in the sky.

And, for those who think my family is wealthy or something, they're mother was a PA employee for 18 years, and we flew space available.

It was quite a ride.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 12:51 am

I still remember my first flight in 1971. It was on a TWA 747-100 from JFK to Stuttgart. Since I was only 4 at the time, I was pretty sick of the three hour ride to the airport, the endless check-in line & the even more endless wait to board. In fact, I was so perturbed at that point that I didn't realize that we had boarded the plane! I thought it was just another waiting area. Suddenly my mood brightened. These are probably some of my earliest memories.

Cute side note: I found out just a few years ago why my dad and his friend who was flying with us enjoyed the flight so much. There was a young woman with a typical 60's/70's miniskirt on w/o underwear (who enjoyed showing it) sitting behind us. No wonder they kept dropping their silverware. Mom was NOT impressed!

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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 1:34 am

Perhaps the best kiddie-flyer scheme was British Airways. I got a Junior Jet Club book when I was about 2 (in 1984) and it recorded all my flights and the captain's comments. You then got certificates which were signed by the chief pilot of BA - I got one for 25,000 miles travel after a couple of years. They then changed the name of the club to 'Flightrider' with a funky space globe on the front of the books. That was the certificate I got for 50,000 miles and 75,000 miles. Then it was changed to the current Skyflyers for which I have the 100,000 mile certificate. However I don't do the logbook thing any more. I don't think BA do either but it used to be a great thing to do. I even got a Gulf Air pilot to sign it once (he did it in error though!).

By the way, does anyone remember 'Dilbert'?h He was the British Airways mascot which was a cartoon 747-200 with a fuselage shaped like a bowling ball with small stubby wings and little wheels. There were a whole load of cartoon books which you could collect like "Dilbert in the Middle East" and "Dilbert at Heathrow" - I've still got loads of them at home. However they changed his shape in the early 90s (obviously wasn't PC for the fat brigade) and now he has been renamed "AV-8" (as in aviate) on the BA kids channel - how sad. He no longer does the cartoon books either! It makes me really sad  

RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 4:48 am

It is amazing to me that airlines do not continue with Child Programs like these. They certainly make a big impression and probably do a lot more for airline loyalty than frequent flyer miles! IMHO.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 5:56 am

I collected the small alcohol bottles once they were empty. In all I must have had about 200 little bottles. I wonder what happened to my collection?

Also, regarding the pressure. It seems I remember my ears hurting much more so than now. Is there a reason for this? I can remember not being able to talk because they hurt so much. Now, I hardly ever feel the pressure.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 6:15 am

Even in two decades later, I still have sharp memory of my first ride and alot of my childhood expierences on Western 737-247's between PIR-FSD. Depend on how sweet flight attentants/captains were, I often visited the cockpits, sitting on captain's seats prior to leaving gate, and almost always get pins which my mom collected it all for me.

To Aviation Lawyer

Thu Jun 15, 2000 7:13 am

There is a reason why your ears hurt less now than as a child. As a child your eustacheon tubes are very narrow and run essentially horizontal in your head from ear to throat. As you grow and your head elongates, the tubes become angled downward from ear to throat as well as become wider in diameter allowing them to drain more easily. It's no wonder why babies cry so loudly on a plane, huh?
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 7:37 am

Air Canada still does SkyRiders!
You get these plastic pouches with stationary on eastboundflights and this water bottle bag thingy with a board game in it on westbound flights!

(Only International)

RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 3:34 pm

Hey I bet all the airlines still do something special for children. It's just that the children are scared of the f/a because they are always so mean. I know this because when a flight attendent opens a storage cabinet there is a whole bag of wings.
Samurai 777
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 4:26 pm

Because I lived with a foster family in Edmonton, while my biological one lived in Grande Prairie in Northern Alberta, I flew quite a bit between these two cities, the flight out of Edmonton usually out of YXD, or Edmonton Municipal Airport, as it was very convenient. Time Air was the airline of choice, with its Shorts 330s and Dash 7s. But I did fly out of YEG on CPAir 737s, too. I remember being given a "UM" pin button with red and white stripes. That meant "Unaccompanied Minor", of course. And an activity book in a white plastic flat thing with a book in it. The FAs treated me very well and certainly didn't leave me alone by myself if either parent was late in picking me up or sometimes forgot(that's happened to me twice).

I definitely remember a Hughes Airwest flight on a DC-9 from YEG to LAX. Man, was it neat flying in one of those all-yellow planes! They didn't call those planes "flying bananas" for nothing! There was Disneyland in Anaheim and Seaworld in San Diego that we enjoyed, of course.

I remember very well a trip to Sydney over the Christmas and New Years holidays with our relatives in 1978. I was a young kid then, but I still remember things like they were yesterday! My family and I had to get up pretty early to catch a CPAir 737 flight from Grande Prairie to YVR (no, we didn't even connect in YEG!). Then a layover while waiting for a flight on a CPAir 747-200 to SYD via HNL and NAD. In YVR, I choked half to death on a Halls cough lozenge and my mother almost freaked out. My dad and another guy hauled me off to the little boys' room and gave me some of the hardest slaps on my back until the thing came out! I do recall having arrived in SYD very early in the morning local time, and it was already hot(typically Australian!) and humid. outside. We had a nice Xmas with our relatives in Sydney. Oh, yeah, I also flew on an Ansett 727 with its old dark red and white '70s livery from SYD to Canberra to visit my old childhood home there. This was an experience - coming out of the 727 through the rear exit right underneath the tail. I can still remember the heat exhaust shadow showing up on the already-baking apron pavement as we stepped out. And it was HOT outside.

When we left, we went to Papeete, Tahiti via AKL on an Air New Zealand DC-10 (this was before the fatal crash in Antarctica). The FAs were pretty nice, and Tahiti was a tropical paradise, except that we arrived during the rainy season, so you can imagine what the weather was usually like - and the locals were speaking no English that I could understand (French is the official European language there)! After a few days, we went up to LAX on another ANZ DC-10, then a CPAir flight back home with a connection at YEG.

Memories include being escorted by FAs on Air Canada L1011 flights to LHR and being fascinated by all those cockpit controls! I also loved looking out the windows and seeing the Canadian Arctic and Greenland below.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 4:37 pm

I cannot add anything to N202PA's eloquent memories. I too have many similar ones, but could never have voiced them that well.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: Flying As A Child

Thu Jun 15, 2000 6:52 pm

I was 3 months when flying the first time. Don t remeber this time.

Last year i was on Edelweiss Air (Swiss Charter Company ) with my son ( he is 2 years old ) an he
received alot off stuff. Like a coloring book, and kind of a magic marker. Its a funny thing. The marker is white, and when you draw on the book the colors are appearing on the paper. Good thing this marker, so the kid can`t paint the seats, windows etc. Also he gets, you will not believe, trousers with the Airline Logo on it.   Cockpit visit was also possible.
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RE: Flying As A Child

Sat Jun 17, 2000 9:33 am

I was a child of the 70's and 80's. I don't remember getting coloring books or stuff like that. I remember getting a lot of extra attention from the f/a's and some magazines. I don't think I was ever given wings, but the first time I flew commercially, I was 9 years old, but really tall for my age -- I probably looked about 12, LOL.