The first Summer that 747s were flying the Atlantic, I was with a tour group scheduled to return to JFK
from Lisbon on an Alitalia DC-8. As an aircraft nut, I had requested to be booked on a 747 instead, and surprisingly the tour agent complied, as I was rebooked on a TW
747 from Lisbon to JFK
instead, in steerage of course. After clearing security (tight due to terrorist activity that Summer) I was pulled aside by myself -- scared me and all other passengers as well. I was asked to present my boarding pass and seat assignment. They looked at the seat assignment, the little "sticker" that had been pulled from the seating chart and pasted onto my pass, and smiled to each other. The one said, sir we need your seat for a family of 5 to be seated together -- would you mind flying First Class instead? (No business class in those days). I was SO dazed, I must have looked ill!! Mind? Mind? I think I can manage that......
The flight was terrific. First was about half full; coach booked to the rafters. The upstairs on the 747 was just a First Class lounge. I was in heaven! As this was a first 747 experience for many/most passengers, there was spontaneous applause when we landed at JFK
My dream had come true and just kept getting better. Because of my F transatlantic ticket, I was eligible for the helicopter transfer from JFK
, instead of the slower bus transfer, and then Eastern continued my dream by upgrading me from Y to F on the DC9 non-stop to BHM
-- I confess to having displayed my F TWA ticket folder when I asked about "upgrade" possibilities.
My first trip to Europe, my first 747 flight, AND
all first class from Lisbon to Birmingham and the helicopter transfer too. "Sir, would you mind flying first class?" No, I don't think so!!! And, I wasn't even a college senior yet........