My memories of air travel start in the 50's of my teenage years when I studied in Sao Paulo and my parents lived in Montevideo. So my first airline ever was the old Real which later merged into Real-Aerovias Brasil and Varig. My first ever commercial flight must have been a CGH
on Real's Convair 440.
Then it is a big blur of several flights in South America, of which two stand out: A Cruzeiro do Sul DC-3 from CMG to SRZ
with two stops that no longer have scheduled service: San Jose and Robore; and another DC-3 of Faucett Airlines from LIM
, operated from the old LIM
airport (Limatambo) in San Isidro, over the Andes mountains without any pressutization whatsoever, and the crew would bring you oxygen tubes to suck by a plastic tube.
But the first flight I took that I recall all details vividly was when my mother and I would travel to join my father in Michigan. It was 1958 and the airline in question again Real Aerovias with a DC-4 routed from Sao Paulo to Belem to Port of Spain to Caracas to Santo Domingo (then Ciudad Trujillo) to Miami. Excellent old school service with linen, silverware, and crystal vase with red carnation for the meals. The stop in Belem was in the middle of the night and I can still feel the heat invading the cabin as opening the doors was like opening an oven. And it was 2:30am!
In Miami Beach we stayed at the hotel where the Real crew stayed, and it was good because we had a bad experience with Boston style sweet beans at a cafeteria, (nothing like the Brazilian black beans we were used to). But the Real crew set us straight and showed us the way to Hialeah and the Cuban restaurants...
But if we are talking about airlines still in existence, that should go to AZ
in the mid-sixties on the first time I went to Europe: GIG
in a DC-8.
The stop in Dakar was in the wee hours of the morning, and there was some delay so we were deplaned and taken to the airport restaurant for breakfast, where we were served by these tall Senegalese waiters wearing their typical garb and speaking French with their funny French baby accent:
" Bonzu bonzu messie... Vulayvu le zu dorrange et le pudin au socolah?"...
So much for memories from long ago!
Thanks for reading