It has past. As far as Aviation now you have airplanes that practically fly them self's. The skill it takes to become a pilot is alot different today then it was back in the good old days. With aircraft like the 172 and Twin stars having full glass cockpits if you are going to do your training today, it is likely you could get PPL/CPL/Multi/Multi IFR without ever having to fly an aircraft with steam gauges. I would like to see an instrument rated pilot (learned on a Twin Star) to jump into something like a PA34 and try to see him tracking ADFs (fixed card of course) VORs let him try and do a DME
arc followed by a nice step down NDB approach. To me that is flying. I hear that sometimes when the HSIs go down on NW
's DC-9s they fly around with a nice standard VOR (ADFs have really disappeared from the states AFAIK).
If you could drop me in any place and time I would ask for the 1940s. Most of my favourite aircraft come from that Decade.
As far as airline travel. It has also past. The days when you can have fun has long since past. Back in the days a group of pilots would have a dog, (German Shepard) and they would take this dog everywhere they wanted to go. One pilot would take it to Paris (get a nice custom made suit) then the next he would be off to Tokyo. The days when pilots get long layovers away are now over, today alot of the time its more or less just min rest and away you go. It is getting increasingly difficult to non-rev. Pay has gone down. In the US alot of pilots have seen their pension vanish in thin air. The days were pilots were "special" are gone, today people just consider them another uniformed airline employee (for the most part). It has changed alot over the years, unfortunately not for the better. To think if only I was born in a decade past. Oh well do not get me wrong, flying is still amazing but a lot has changed from the days my step dad was getting nice big long lay overs making over $300,000 a year and had lots of time off. Pay went down, time off went down and lay overs got shorter. (Same thing happened to my mom - a FA
but to a lesser degree)