zrs70
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Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:47 pm

I was thinking this morning about interesting tid-buts of my travel as a youth:

1) interchangeable tickets. For domestic travel, ids weren't required. My parents would often buy a ticket in my sister's name, but I would use it instead.

2) Airline earphones: how did we pass the time on longer flights? My older sister would put the earpieces on my head and sing into the hollow plastic tubes. She would make me listen to her "beautiful" voice.

3) wheeled luggage. Well, it didn't exist. Flight attendants has metal attachments with wheels.

4) Smoking sections. Enough said.

5) airline clubs. More clubs in more cities.

6) upgrades. It was more about being last in line at the gate. I remember a few times my dad would step out of line and go to the end if it looked like the coach section was overbooked.

7) when DL/ea ruled the east and WA ruled the west
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Newbiepilot
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:56 pm

It wasn't the 1970s but as a kid I remember flying on DC10s when load factors were 60%. We would wait to be last to board (there were no roll aboard suitcases then and announcements were made that wheelies had to go under the seat) and get a whole row of 5 seats in the middle section so that we could sleep.

I also remember flight attendants handing out playing cards, coloring books and little plastic airplanes to kids to pass the time since there was not IFE. We were happy to get a big airplane with the projection screens where you could barely watch a movie. It was fun when a good movie was playing since the whole plane would react together like in a theater.
 
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ACCS300
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:17 pm

I remember flying solo as a kid many times from Vancouver to Monterey to visit my Grandparents in the mid 1970's, I was 9 - 10 at the time. They typically put an UM ( unaccompanied minor ) pin on me, placed me in the first or second row of economy and that was about it.

I usually flew YVR-SFO mostly on CP Air then SFO-MRY solo. I would have to travel from the South Terminal SFO, as it was known at the time, to the North Terminal, to catch my 20 minute mainline UA flight to MRY. No one ever accompanied me on the long journey between the terminals and it was never an issue, I knew my way and always made the connecting flight on time. I remember the long walk involved heading out to the sidewalk, going through the Central Terminal as it was known, then outside again to the North Terminal, through security ( which was nothing more than passing through a metal detector archway at the time ) then to the gate.

I always remember how much I loved travelling on my own and the flight attendants we're always fantastic, I always took a window seat and remember most of the flights being half empty, especially the SFO - MRY UA mainline flights usually operated by a 737-200 or 727-100.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:55 pm

I loved travelling as a kid. Travelling was a big adventure...and a privilege. And we were aware of that. We would savour every single minute of it -possibly take pictures while boarding, or on board- and it was indeed part of the fun/holiday. International travel was still a relatively uncommon thing for lots of people back then, and I remember how surprised some people would react to us telling them we were going to fly somewhere. And then, there was still a little element of glamour left... I am thinking about the lovely, well-groomed, stewardesses in glorious uniforms and high heels..and the people who would dress-up for flying..you would tipically see lots of smartly dressed ladies and men in suit and tie... us kids often got new clother "for the trip"!!! Unimaginable today!!! And the meals were good. Having a smoking section onboard did suck though...big time!!! :-(
I loved the old jets, and loved the amazing array of different aircrafts and obscure little airlines you would find at the bigger international airports.
Yes, I do miss my "travelling as a kid in the 1970s"...
 
zrs70
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:57 pm

I don't remember the food being particularly good. In fact, I think it's better today. There was just more of it then. And meal service helped pass the time in the days before WIFI and IFE.
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tjwgrr
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:09 pm

zrs70 wrote:
2) Airline earphones: how did we pass the time on longer flights? My older sister would put the earpieces on my head and sing into the hollow plastic tubes. She would make me listen to her "beautiful" voice.


That reminds me of the time years ago my wife (or soon to be) was listening to something using those old tube type earphones on a flight when I unplugged them and forcefully blew into the tube. She wasn't too happy with my jet blast. I guess it wasn't quite like whispering sweet nothings to her.... ;)
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:34 pm

zrs70 wrote:
I was thinking this morning about interesting tid-buts of my travel as a youth:
7) when DL/ea ruled the east and WA ruled the west


United was the big boy on the pacific coast during the 60's to the late 70's. When United went on strike it really did cause chaos in SEA/PDX to California sectors.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:40 pm

I wasn't even born in the seventies, so there's nothing I can say about that era. My first flight as a kid must have been in the late 80's or early 90's, I don't really remember what year. I do remember it was on a 757 from Air Holland, flying AMS-FAO. Nowadays that's a short hop, but back then it was a whole experience.

I do remember being handed out coloring plates and pencils, and candy to suck on for the descend. And there were TV screens in front of every section of seats. Not the flatscreens you see nowadays, but old-fashioned glass TV screens. A movie was being played and you could ask for earplugs. And you got a meal on board. That was all complementary, nothing was being charged for. At least, I don't remember seeing my parents pay for anything on board.

On the flight back FAO-AMS (also a 757) I was allowed a visit to the flight deck. Back then I wasn't interested in all of those systems, I just enjoyed the view out of the front window.

A few years ago I tried to look up that plane to see if it still existed, but the problem is that I don't remember the registration. Air Holland had several 757's back then. But most of them have later been converted to freighters and went to FedEx. Some of them are still flying around.
 
Italianflyer
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:42 pm

I loved thru flights!! DCA to MSY with stops in ATL, BHM. Bring a geek in training I would put the 'occupied' card on my seat and check out new and exotic terminals like HSV, GSO, ABQ or DAY while on the thru stops.
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:40 pm

zrs70 wrote:
I don't remember the food being particularly good. In fact, I think it's better today. There was just more of it then. And meal service helped pass the time in the days before WIFI and IFE.


I was born in 1980 so I obviously can't speak to what it was like 1970s, but I remember airline food being the butt of jokes when I was a kid. I can't remember the food ever being considered good; it was just "free". But I've also heard people older than me claim the quality of the food started to decline after deregulation and it was better in the 1960s and 70s. I have no idea if those people are right or if they're just seeing the past through rose colored glasses.
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:04 am

I remember the food was really good. While flying DL between ATL and LAX in the 70s, we were served steak, a twice-baked potato with all the trimmings, vegetables, roll and butter, a spinach salad, and for dessert, a nice slice of black forest cake. And yes, this was in economy. For me, the food was almost the best part of the flight. The L-1011 was such a cool aircraft as well. As we were accelerating down the runway in ATL in the summer of '78, I remember hearing the song "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas while listening to the audio entertainment. On final into a smoggy LAX, I also remember the excessive nose-up pitch of the L-1011 as Captain Baxter made a smooth as silk landing on 25L. I kept all of this information in my flight log. As far as I'm concerned, flying commercially in the 70s was great. And yes, the stewardesses were all young and good looking. They did not not escape the notice of a then 14 year old teenage boy. I could go on and on, but that was a great time to be a passenger and, for what it's worth, a great time to be a kid!
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:21 am

Flying economy on a Continental DC-10 LAX-IAH about 1975 with the brand new "Pong" tabletop game up in the First-Class lounge..... Mom taking us three incorrigible, young, sub-10-y.o. boys up front for a few minutes to try it out - threatening us the whole way up the aisle to be VERY QUIET, and dragging us away after one game because she was really intimidated to have us making a bit of noise up front with the important people. The embarrassment of my punky younger brother beating me about 15 to 3 because it took me awhile to grasp the concept of the paddle wheels and the black & white electronic blips shining up through a green film under the glass. How many people can say that they played their first game of Pong at 37,000 feet? I can!!!! Great memory.... :-)
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:37 pm

zrs70 wrote:
I was thinking this morning about interesting tid-buts of my travel as a youth:

1) interchangeable tickets. For domestic travel, ids weren't required. My parents would often buy a ticket in my sister's name, but I would use it instead.

2) Airline earphones: how did we pass the time on longer flights? My older sister would put the earpieces on my head and sing into the hollow plastic tubes. She would make me listen to her "beautiful" voice.

3) wheeled luggage. Well, it didn't exist. Flight attendants has metal attachments with wheels.

4) Smoking sections. Enough said.

5) airline clubs. More clubs in more cities.

6) upgrades. It was more about being last in line at the gate. I remember a few times my dad would step out of line and go to the end if it looked like the coach section was overbooked.

7) when DL/ea ruled the east and WA ruled the west


I'm about a generation younger, so my experience started in the early 1980's. Mostly flying on DL. I prefer the old days, old planes, 70's looking terminals, etc.

I remember that you use to be able to read the classified in the local paper and people would be selling their non-refundable airline tickets with their name on it.

When I was a kid, I spent the time glued to the window. Didn't need a PTV, smartphone, laptop, or any other activities. When boarding the plane, flight attendants were attractive young woman who greeted me with a smile and would give me the little pin on wings, playing cards, coloring books, and in the case of Delta, these little white, plastic toy L-1011's. Cockpit visits were usually not a problem if you asked.

I also remember upgrades happening on more regularity. When my dad would give up our seats for a later flight, instead of a voucher for a couple hundred dollars, it would be for a free domestic flight. When delays happened, even those at fault of the airline, we would get rebooked on the next flight on another airline. I don't think airlines even do this anymore unless there's no other option?

When my father started flying in the 1960's, not only was there no security, but he was allowed to bring his hunting rifle as a carry-on.
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:48 pm

caleb1 wrote:
I remember the food was really good. While flying DL between ATL and LAX in the 70s, we were served steak, a twice-baked potato with all the trimmings, vegetables, roll and butter, a spinach salad, and for dessert, a nice slice of black forest cake. And yes, this was in economy. For me, the food was almost the best part of the flight. The L-1011 was such a cool aircraft as well. As we were accelerating down the runway in ATL in the summer of '78, I remember hearing the song "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas while listening to the audio entertainment. On final into a smoggy LAX, I also remember the excessive nose-up pitch of the L-1011 as Captain Baxter made a smooth as silk landing on 25L. I kept all of this information in my flight log. As far as I'm concerned, flying commercially in the 70s was great. And yes, the stewardesses were all young and good looking. They did not not escape the notice of a then 14 year old teenage boy. I could go on and on, but that was a great time to be a passenger and, for what it's worth, a great time to be a kid!


I remember early morning DL flights in the early to mid 1980's with a stack of hot pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and a croissant with some assorted cheeses and crackers. My memory is probably distorted, but to a little kid, it seemed like a huge breakfast? I was a picky kid, but never remember the airline food being particularly bad.
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:50 am

zrs70 wrote:
I was thinking this morning about interesting tid-buts of my travel as a youth:

1) interchangeable tickets. For domestic travel, ids weren't required. My parents would often buy a ticket in my sister's name, but I would use it instead.

2) Airline earphones: how did we pass the time on longer flights? My older sister would put the earpieces on my head and sing into the hollow plastic tubes. She would make me listen to her "beautiful" voice.

3) wheeled luggage. Well, it didn't exist. Flight attendants has metal attachments with wheels.

4) Smoking sections. Enough said.

5) airline clubs. More clubs in more cities.

6) upgrades. It was more about being last in line at the gate. I remember a few times my dad would step out of line and go to the end if it looked like the coach section was overbooked.

7) when DL/ea ruled the east and WA ruled the west


The tickets were real tickets, and looked more like a chequebook. And you got to keep the carbon copy when they tore off the original, that you had purchased over the counter at the airport or a travel agent. I did this as late as '96 / '97.

Yes, wheeled luggage did not exist! How could this be? To think we had to lug our suitcases around like that! Seriously. Wheels on suitcases, not before time!

The cockpit open door policy, well, there was no policy? And the door was just that, just a door, when it was used as one. Sitting near the front and watching the pilots chatting and eating their lunch. In the private corporate jet world this could still be the case? At least in some of the reality TV programs I've watched (sorry LOL).

pwm2txlhopper wrote:
caleb1 wrote:
I remember the food was really good. While flying DL between ATL and LAX in the 70s, we were served steak, a twice-baked potato with all the trimmings, vegetables, roll and butter, a spinach salad, and for dessert, a nice slice of black forest cake. And yes, this was in economy. For me, the food was almost the best part of the flight. The L-1011 was such a cool aircraft as well. As we were accelerating down the runway in ATL in the summer of '78, I remember hearing the song "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas while listening to the audio entertainment. On final into a smoggy LAX, I also remember the excessive nose-up pitch of the L-1011 as Captain Baxter made a smooth as silk landing on 25L. I kept all of this information in my flight log. As far as I'm concerned, flying commercially in the 70s was great. And yes, the stewardesses were all young and good looking. They did not not escape the notice of a then 14 year old teenage boy. I could go on and on, but that was a great time to be a passenger and, for what it's worth, a great time to be a kid!


I remember early morning DL flights in the early to mid 1980's with a stack of hot pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and a croissant with some assorted cheeses and crackers. My memory is probably distorted, but to a little kid, it seemed like a huge breakfast? I was a picky kid, but never remember the airline food being particularly bad.


I don't remember anything about the food. :shy:

Smoking, hurray that was outlawed. Stinging eyes and inhaling passive cigarette smoke in that low humidity, leave that one in the 70's. :tombstone:

Hi-viz (on the tarmac) no, just regular clothing or uniform in the 70's.

People took flying with more respect, now it is just like catching a bus or a train for many.

Would I have the 70's back is a question? For a day, yes, but I still prefer today. More choice, cheaper, safer, and self-service booking and seat allocation. There is less reliance on the operator (self-service) and more control of booking and checking-in for the consumer. :whistleblower:

The airports were not as crowded. People also didn't critique airports in those days, they were, just an airport.
 
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:24 am

VapourTrails wrote:
The airports were not as crowded. People also didn't critique airports in those days, they were, just an airport.

Except in Perth on Sundays. People used to visit the airport because you could get a drink when all the pubs were shut.

Perth was fun in those days. There was a little lawn and pool between the terminal building and the apron, and black swans were around. You could walk out onto the apron and family could too when seeing you off. I fondly remember walking out to board my first 747-200 (British Airways) to take me to London via Singapore, Delhi, and Bahrain.

VapourTrails wrote:
To think we had to lug our suitcases around like that! Seriously. Wheels on suitcases, not before time!

Yes, but it did at least discipline some people into not packing the kitchen sink and the contents of the shed out back. :wink2:
Last edited by KruegerFlaps on Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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bohica
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:25 am

Many airport terminals had no jetways. You walked across the tarmac to your plane and went up the stairs. Sometimes you could even board through the rear door. On 727's and DC-9's it was sometimes possible to board/deplane through the tail stairs.

In the 70's seat assignments were only done at the gate on larger aircraft. Anything smaller than a 727 was open seating. Some airlines would hang up large seat maps of your flight behind the gate agents and you could pick your seat. The gate agent would peel the seat number off the board and stick it to your boarding pass.

Stewardesses (that's what they were called back then) would hand out playing cards, kiddie wings, comic books, little toy planes, etc.

Inflight entertainment was looking out the window.

Movie flights on 707's and DC-8's were shown from a projector onto a roll-up screen that was pulled down over the aisle. There was one screen in F and 2 screens in Y. people walking up and down the aisle had to duck to clear the screen. The bottom of the screen was about the same height as the seatback. And yes, they swing during turbulence.

Many airlines had fold down middle seats which converted the middle seat into a table.

Many aircraft did not have overhead bins. They had a "hat rack" above the seats which ran the length of the cabin. You stored your hats and coats there. For your personal items you had a "flight bag," many of them with the airline's logo on them. You checked your suitcases.

Generous seat pitch and comfortable seats.

Flying on mainline jets into cities which don't even have air service today.

Some flights were "milk runs" making numerous stops.
 
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KruegerFlaps
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:29 am

bohica wrote:
Stewardesses (that's what they were called back then) would hand out playing cards, kiddie wings, comic books, little toy planes, etc.

I still have a chess set that was provided on a Singapore Airlines flight. Not sure when I received it but it is a fold out board with little round flat circles with the men printed on them. Made by a German company.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt Speech, 1783
 
VapourTrails
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:49 am

KruegerFlaps wrote:
VapourTrails wrote:
The airports were not as crowded. People also didn't critique airports in those days, they were, just an airport.


Except in Perth on Sundays. People used to visit the airport because you could get a drink when all the pubs were shut.

Perth was fun in those days. There was a little lawn and pool between the terminal building and the apron, and black swans were around. You could walk out onto the apron and family could too when seeing you off. I fondly remember walking out to board my first 747-200 (British Airways) to take me to London via Singapore, Delhi, and Bahrain.

VapourTrails wrote:
To think we had to lug our suitcases around like that! Seriously. Wheels on suitcases, not before time!

Yes, but it did at least discipline some people into not packing the kitchen sink and the contents of the shed out back. :wink2:


Further to this, people took things at face value back in the '70's, these days pax would expect an aerobridge and vocalise that there was not one, and that it was too far to walk, or they or their carry on got wet in the rain.

Yes, the outside viewing has really disapeared, that was a real 70's thing. The airport could also be a day out in itself, it was a more enjoyable place to be. Now it's for the most part, business.

bohica wrote:
Many airport terminals had no jetways. You walked across the tarmac to your plane and went up the stairs. Sometimes you could even board through the rear door. On 727's and DC-9's it was sometimes possible to board/deplane through the tail stairs.

In the 70's seat assignments were only done at the gate on larger aircraft. Anything smaller than a 727 was open seating. Some airlines would hang up large seat maps of your flight behind the gate agents and you could pick your seat. The gate agent would peel the seat number off the board and stick it to your boarding pass.

Stewardesses (that's what they were called back then) would hand out playing cards, kiddie wings, comic books, little toy planes, etc.

Inflight entertainment was looking out the window.

Movie flights on 707's and DC-8's were shown from a projector onto a roll-up screen that was pulled down over the aisle. There was one screen in F and 2 screens in Y. people walking up and down the aisle had to duck to clear the screen. The bottom of the screen was about the same height as the seatback. And yes, they swing during turbulence.

Many airlines had fold down middle seats which converted the middle seat into a table.

Many aircraft did not have overhead bins. They had a "hat rack" above the seats which ran the length of the cabin. You stored your hats and coats there. For your personal items you had a "flight bag," many of them with the airline's logo on them. You checked your suitcases.

Generous seat pitch and comfortable seats.

Flying on mainline jets into cities which don't even have air service today.

Some flights were "milk runs" making numerous stops.


A 'hat rack'! Yes, people did not carry as much hand luggage back then! If they have a hat in this century then they wear it throughout the flight, or, end up annoying someone with it!

Hey, and no comfort animals back then either!
 
Slcpilot
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:56 pm

I have a few special memories....

My parents were very frugal, and wouldn't buy the tubes for the inflight movie. My sister and I would turn up the volume full blast, and hold our ear to the upturned armrest and watch the movie out of the corner of our eye with one ear pgged to the end of an arm rest.

On another FRA-JFK PA 747 flight I had been given a chart of our flight plotted out and signed by the pilots and flight engineer. On the connecting JFK-DCA 727 I forgot the cart in the overhead bin until we got to the parking lot. No problem, I darted back in, explained to the security folks I had forgotten something, effectively ran through the metal detector, and to the gate where the agent let me board the plane to look. Total time to find the chart, and to return curbside where my family would pick me up? About 2.5 minutes!! Sadly, the chart was lost among multiple moves!

While visiting my grandparents in Florida for the summer, every week I'd make two calls. One to my parents asking to stay another week, and one to the airline asking if it was OK to fly a week later. The answer was always yes to both, at no charge!

Even at a young age I'd shop for airfares via multiple phone calls. Once the cheapest fare was found the negotiations would start for what was undoubtedly the most inefficient routing, one with the MOST stops. Transfers were even better! Most carriers were happy to oblige! I also recall traveling not as a UM in my early teens.

Cheers!

SLCPilot
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pwm2txlhopper
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:24 pm

Slcpilot wrote:
I have a few special memories....
!

While visiting my grandparents in Florida for the summer, every week I'd make two calls. One to my parents asking to stay another week, and one to the airline asking if it was OK to fly a week later. The answer was always yes to both, at no charge!

Even at a young age I'd shop for airfares via multiple phone calls. Once the cheapest fare was found the negotiations would start for what was undoubtedly the most inefficient routing, one with the MOST stops. Transfers were even better! Most carriers were happy to oblige! I also recall traveling not as a UM in my early teens.

Cheers!

SLCPilot


It was about 1993, and I'd also spend part of the summer visiting relatives for an extended stay. One of them was my uncle, who was a traveling salesman. He had exciting toys play with like a Car Phone, VHS camera, and a laptop that could connect via the phone line to a service known as 'Prodigy' and the early Internet. One of the things you could do was access the Sabre Reservation system that travel agents then used to book flights. There you could do it all yourself. For an avgeek teen, one who collected print timetables and such, it was hours of fun!

My family had always used a Travel agent to book airlines tickets up to this point. Within two years, we had AOL at home, and I've never been to the travel agent since! Neither have my now senior parents.
 
Yflyer
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:10 pm

Slcpilot wrote:
My parents were very frugal, and wouldn't buy the tubes for the inflight movie. My sister and I would turn up the volume full blast, and hold our ear to the upturned armrest and watch the movie out of the corner of our eye with one ear pgged to the end of an arm rest.


You think your parents were frugal, but at least they were willing to spring for plane tickets! We always drove when we went on vacation when I was a kid because my parents considered flying too expensive. And that I think it a positive change. Compared to a couple of decades ago flying is more affordable for more people now. Even my incredibly cheap parents are willing to pay for plane tickets when they travel now. Of course the fact that they now only have to buy two tickets instead of four might have something to do with it, too.
 
Slcpilot
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:22 am

Don't worry, my parents were frugal. Most of the time is was the taxpayer buying the ticket. My sister and I were service brats.
I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
 
Kilopond
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:36 am

bohica wrote:
[...]In the 70's seat assignments were only done at the gate on larger aircraft. Anything smaller than a 727 was open seating.[...]


That's very interesting to learn! I had always thought that primitive free seating had been typical for the other hemisphere where I had to spend my youth. Getting the right seats hat always been somewhat stressful. Boarding the AN-24, TU-154 and IL-62 usually ended OK-ish. Sometimes we had been able to capture the "table for four" in front of the TU-134. But I never ever managed to be seated in either the forward or the backward small cabin of the IL-18. (Back than, I hated that plane and only now I understand that this turboprop liner wasn't all that bad).
 
gweilo88
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:38 am

I remember after checking in the luggage and going through what they called security at that time. then getting to the gate and we would give the boarding pass to the gate agent and they had a paper with stickers on it in the shape of the plane. One sticker for each seat with a seat number on it and when you showed them your boarding pass they peeled off whatever stickers were left and put them on your boarding pass for your seat assignment. If you wanted certain seats you better speak up quickly before they quickly peeled off what they felt like it and stuck it to your boarding pass. Smoking or not smoking area was your choice if you got to the gate early enough. But since most flights were only like half full they usually had seats where you wanted them. Every flight had a new sheet of stickers. When the stickers were gone there were no more seats left. First come first serve.

Also remember one of my flights with my family. I guess I must have been under 7 years old. I am guessing Eastern airlines from EWR to Florida, probably FLL since we flew that route often. My father was a private pilot and an airplane buff and unusually excited on this plane. After getting on the plane he took out the safety card and showed me it said Airbus. My father kept trying to explain to me it was a new kind of plane, but I could not accept that a bus was going to fly. I argued with him for years that he was playing a trick on me because busses can't fly, we were really on an airplane not an airbus. Every time I board an Airbus now I remember that argument.
 
Whywhyjay
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:07 am

Looking back on it I think the movie "Airplane!" best captures the experience. One of my favourite trips as a child would have been in 1976 from Victoria BC to Santa Barbara California. First of all I was of course dressed in my best clothes and I'm pretty sure my dad had a tie on, we each carried an Adidas gym bag as my parents were early adopters of carry on only. The trip started with a Pacific Western 737 to Seattle, breezing through Customs (where you from, where you going, next) and into the enormous, futuristic, and practically empty SeaTac. Out to the Western Airlines desk to check in for our next flight to San Francisco on a 720-B, it stopped in Portland and I managed to get up to the flight deck for a look. The pilots were real old school Alpha Males who were making fun of the rather quiet flight engineer, I remember being a bit put off by the whole thing and thinking the Captain was a bit of a dick. The final flight was on a United 727 after dark and a fairly long layover in SFO. I don't remember much about the flights themselves, though I was and am a confirmed window starrer, perhaps there was lots of overcast. My main impressions are more of the airports. At the time Canadian airports were about as thrilling as a drivers licensing office, but SeaTac and SFO seemed so exotic. The landing at SFO was done with a PSA 727 right off our wingtip, and the terminal had an outdoor viewing deck. The terminal seemed very strange as it was very crowded with people not flying who had come through security ticketless, the highlight of the day had to be when the freaked out Hare Krishna hippie chick ran up to my dad, hugged and kissed him, and asked for spare change!

Whywhyjay
Whywhyjay?
Vickers Viscount. DHC-3, 6, 7, 8, Q-400 CRJ. 720-B, 727, 732, 738, 739, 742, 744, 762, 773, 788. DC-3, 9,10, MD-81.
A-310, 319, 320, 333. E-190. L-1011. BAE-ATP.
 
bohica
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:41 am

Whywhyjay wrote:
the highlight of the day had to be when the freaked out Hare Krishna hippie chick ran up to my dad, hugged and kissed him, and asked for spare change!

Whywhyjay


I knew I forgot something in my previous post. The Hare Krishnas were an icon of SFO and LAX in the 70's.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:12 am

I flew a lot alone as a kid in the 1970's, mostly on UA DC-8's, DC-10's and 747's but also on Pan Am, American and TWA.

The food was quite good in the 70's but it deteriorated quickly in the 80's, as did the legroom/seat pitch. Still, it was assumed that you would eat a hot meal, so people planned with that in mind. If I was flying transcon EWR-SFO in the morning, my family at EWR would not feed me at all and my family on the other end would plan only for dinner for me. Quality became kind of a joke after a while, but the fact was you didn't have to worry about eating.

I distinctly remember security at SFO being a single metal detector in the corridor to the terminal satellite; it took about 5 seconds to pass through. You could also meet your party at the gate; whenever I traveled alone as a kid, my mom or dad would be waiting for me as soon as I got off the plane. A few times, they came and got me *off* the plane.

There was actually more terrorism in the 70's. People just didn't care as much. It was just kind of accepted. That's probably because it usually wasn't fatal, although sometimes it was. People just felt less paranoid about it.

I never had a problem with smoking on planes. I don't even particularly remember it. In the 70's, smoking happened everywhere, so planes weren't all that much different except that they had better ventilation systems than most places. So I'm sure flying was actually better than an average home or office, and consequently, when I think of smoking in that era, planes don't even register for me.

I remember that as a kid flying alone, I would almost always get a set of "wings" from the flight attendants. A few times I got more than that; a toy plane, a deck of playing cards, a visit to the cockpit. It very much was like "Airplane!" in that sense. I have no idea what happened to any of my wings - I probably threw them away. I wish I'd kept them now.

I remember planes being a whole lot less crowded. Usually I'd have an entire row to myself. I don't remember there ever being someone in the middle seat next to me, though maybe 30% of the time there was someone on the aisle (I always took the window). I distinctly remember in 1980, when I had my one mishap on a DC-10 with a blown engine on takeoff, I had nobody in my row and it was very scary to deal with by myself as a child.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
Danny319
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:18 am

My travelling in the 70's involved flying from the UK to Malaysia and throughout Europe with my dad in the army. I remember being on a Thai International DC-10, my first wide bodied flight and being part of a British Airways / BOAC Junior Jet Club for my first flight on a 707. As I was young, I don't remember a lot from then, but I do remember the head phones, walking to the plane and up the stairs, the multiple stops, being in awe of the route maps and looking out of the window of a Trident and DC-8. It was a wonderful adventure at age, and today I still fly to Asia, this time non stop with SQ. With SQ I remember family friends talking about them in the late 70's and I when I was old enough, I chose to fly with them because of what I heard.
 
global2
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:35 pm

The comments above about not having wheeled luggage really made me think back. I think the main difference was that we used a skycap to help with our luggage the short distance from the curb to check in, or customs back out to the curb. We just didn't bring that much on board with us--just whatever I could pack into my Pan Am flight bag and carry with me! My Mom just had one of those hard-shell cosmetic cases (with the mirror inside the lid) and it matched the rest of your luggage.

Here's a rundown of flights I can remember:
1971 Pan Am 707 from JFK to HND, with a fuel stop in Fairbanks. Our trip began in the Worldport, when that was the glamorous gateway to the world. We were in 1st (because my Dad's company sent us), but unfortunately I don't remember anything about the food service, Well, I do remember Dad bringing me up to the galley because I asked for a soda (I was only allowed soda on "special" occasions and I figured a trip to Japan counted). I made the huge mistake of selecting the one in the pink can. The Stewardess asked me "What's the magic word?" Answer: "Please!". The soda in the pink can turned out to be TAB. It was disgusting! But I grinned and beared it because I knew if I complained I would never be allowed to have soda again. This was the trip where I got my Pan Am flight bag by the way--the white rectangular one with the blue logo. Sadly, I no longer have it, nor the "wings" pin which was gold and a blue Pan Am globe in the middle.
After eight months in Tokyo, our trip home (all in coach) was the following:
1972 Japan Air Lines DC-8 to Moscow: I was given a sort of cardboard Etch-a-Sketch toy with a JAL label on it, and can remember seeing the imitation Pan Am Worldport at SVO when we landed. We continued on our trip home on an Austrian Airlines DC-9 to Vienna, a Lufthansa 727 (boarding from the rear airstairs) from Munich to ORY (I was given a small box of some plastic puzzle/construction toy), AF from ORY to LHR on a 727. Our last leg: a Pan Am 747--the first widebody. I'll never forget the feeling of astonishment about the size of this plane! Mom found a middle section of seats totally empty and got to lie down and sleep.
1974: EAL from EWR to Montego Bay, Jamaica and back on a 727. I would say that the food was just o.k.
1975: UAL from EWR to SLC. Afterwards we drove across the Northwest, took a DC-10 from SEA to DEN, and switched to a DC-8 back to EWR. I got a really nice fold-out map of the U.S. with United's route map on it, and the reverse was a beautiful painting of a 747 (Saul Bass livery of course) flying into the sunset I also got some playing cards and a plastic flight wings pin. There were still plenty of UA planes in the previous "Friend Ship" livery flying around at this time.
1977: JAL from JFK to HND (NRT wasn't open yet). I could swear it was on a 747-SP, but I can't seem to find any evidence that JAL ever flew these--does anyone know more about that? I remember peeking at Zone 2, and it just seemed really tiny. Some of the stewardesses would still change into Kimonos during the flight. The flight home was on a DC-10, with a stop in Anchorage. The movie they showed was "Network". I should mention that during this trip we flew on an ANA YS-11 from HND to Akita, and I got a foam-toy L-1011 that you had to assemble.
1979: EAL from EWR to Antigua. I think their food service had gone downhill. We flew back on a BWIA 707 (my last 707 flight) to JFK. The interior was pretty colorful.
1980: UAL from EWR to SFO on a 747! This was a great trip. My Mom and I argued over whose meal was better (I think hers was a seafood stew, I had a beef brisket). The original side walls on the 747 were different back then, and the windowsill was so deep that I could rest my cup of coke (real, not diet!) on it no problem. Incredibly, that was the last time I flew on United (and I've flown a lot in my adult life). When we arrived back in EWR, I was allowed to go upstairs to look at the lounge and got to look in the cockpit.

Sad to say, things have pretty much gone downhill since those days. I've been fortunate to fly in business class a lot for work, but I also have to fly in coach. I really can't say that I enjoy flying at all anymore, unless in J, which is a sad state of affairs if you ask me. But I'm grateful to have flown around as much as I did when I was a kid in the 70's, and to still be able to remember most of it!
 
agentskelly
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:19 pm

Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:41 am

I started flying in 1989 as a 4 year old, but some of these are ringing a bell with me.
I remember changing names on tickets well as many family members did that over the phone; grandfather would sometimes not have an business partner flying with him and would change it over to my grandmother with a phone call.

But the "wheeled luggage" thing is interesting to me as well; my family as a kid had this 4 piece tan luggage set from American Tourister which I swear to this day, we were like one of 5 people in the world to actually possess; the biggest piece had two wheels and a t-bar handle that popped out that you could "tug" your luggage away. Skycaps, bellboys, porters etc were always baffled at this arrangement as if you wern't careful, you could pinch your fingers. I also remember flying around 1992 to and still seeing people with huge American Tourister and Samsonite luggage sets as the majority choice...then flash foward to I think 1995 and flying MSN-ORD-PDX on UA when I noticed some people with carry on luggage with rollers that had a handle that fitted in the overhead bin or under your seat. A matter of fact, I remember SkyMall from that year on the cover showing some 90s business gal with a Motorola StarTac in one bag and a "roller bag" in the other!
 
Yflyer
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:22 pm

I can't quite picture the luggage you described, but there were suitcases with wheels at least in the 1980s, but not like the modern roller bags everyone has now. My dad had a big Samsonite hard sided suitcase with two little wheels on one end and a plastic strap on the other end that you could use to drag the suitcase along behind you. But it was still shaped like an old fashioned suitcase and the wheels were so close together they were next to useless. You could wheel the case a few feet but it was so unstable it would tip over pretty much any time you tried to change direction.

I first remember seeing the modern roller bags we all use nowadays on one of those daytime talk shows probably in the mid 1990s (I was probably home from school for the summer and glued to the TV). It was one of those segments where they show off the latest gadgets, I think specifically gadgets that make travel easier. I remember being amazed by just how quickly they caught on. It seemed like just a few years later everyone had them.
 
n92r03
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:46 pm

Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:46 pm

Oh yes, we had a "round" gray piece of luggage, I think it was American Tourister.

I remember flying EA and DL from TPA to BOS, don't remember stopping anywhere. That was mid 70's into the 80's. It was no big deal to fly as an Unaccompanied Minor back then...I remember getting moved up to First Class before landing and thinking the seats were the coolest thing ever!

Late 80's that changed to US Air with stops in the DC area.

Remember the magazines in those plastic binders?
 
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UnitedIsBae
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Re: Traveling as a kid in the 1970s....

Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:15 am

gweilo88 wrote:
I remember after checking in the luggage and going through what they called security at that time. then getting to the gate and we would give the boarding pass to the gate agent and they had a paper with stickers on it in the shape of the plane. One sticker for each seat with a seat number on it and when you showed them your boarding pass they peeled off whatever stickers were left and put them on your boarding pass for your seat assignment. If you wanted certain seats you better speak up quickly before they quickly peeled off what they felt like it and stuck it to your boarding pass. Smoking or not smoking area was your choice if you got to the gate early enough. But since most flights were only like half full they usually had seats where you wanted them. Every flight had a new sheet of stickers. When the stickers were gone there were no more seats left. First come first serve.

Also remember one of my flights with my family. I guess I must have been under 7 years old. I am guessing Eastern airlines from EWR to Florida, probably FLL since we flew that route often. My father was a private pilot and an airplane buff and unusually excited on this plane. After getting on the plane he took out the safety card and showed me it said Airbus. My father kept trying to explain to me it was a new kind of plane, but I could not accept that a bus was going to fly. I argued with him for years that he was playing a trick on me because busses can't fly, we were really on an airplane not an airbus. Every time I board an Airbus now I remember that argument.

Only if my dad was such a aviation fan... tisk..tisk
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