The Boeing 707 days

From North Star over My Shoulder: A Flying Life (Buck, Bob) Bob flew from 1930 to 1974, from DC 2’s (Yes, 2s) to 747s)

Courtesy SAARP newsletter

I attended a reunion party in Paris, many years after retirement; sitting next to me at dinner was Nicole Sargent Kappler, one of our original French hostesses, still lovely with big expressive brown eyes, a very intelligent lady.

“Tell me, Bob,” she asked, “what was the best time of our flying?” Without a moment’s deliberation I said, “The 707 days.”

“Yes,” she agreed, and went on. “Then we had pride; in our service, the food, and pleasant atmosphere of each flight.”

She was right; those were the days, and for many reasons. We flew the same routes we’d been flying, but the atmosphere changed: delays because of engine problems ended, air traffic hadn’t grown to plug the sky, the airplanes were quiet and comfortable, even in economy class.

That was when airline flying had class, when passengers looked forward to flights. It was an era between the
primitive early days and the modern cattle-car style that makes the journey something to be endured rather than enjoyed unless one has unlimited funds, an expense account, or enough frequent-flier miles to be in first class.

But, first class or economy, everyone suffers the delays from air traffic and the unpleasant crowded terminals. The 707 time shines above all others, and alas is lost forever.

We strove to make airline flying successful and available to all, but now, those of us who were there from the early days are not proud of the inhuman system it’s become.

5 comments for “The Boeing 707 days

  1. dearieme
    February 26, 2020 at 17:58

    A member of my extended family says that, unless you are young and lithe, if you fly only once a year try to afford business class. If you fly only once a decade consider hiring a private jet.

    Granted he earns a lot but he is really fed up with flying, especially economy class.

    • February 26, 2020 at 19:09

      With haiku suffering from a debilitating condition rendering him mute, with no vocal chords, nor able to write due to absence of fingers, it probably falls to me to reply.

      My approach to this syndrome, a very real syndrome, is to build a boat instead.

      • Andy5759
        February 27, 2020 at 01:28

        I’ve done all the traveling I need. America exists not just on celluloid, China was there last time I visited. South American women are a wonder to be held. Central Europe is replete with people just like myself, when will they ever learn? Now I’m advised by my building society to get a new passport so that I can transfer MY money to pay bills.

        A chap I worked with told me of the time he took a flight from Southend aerodrome. The plane stood on the lawn at a 45° angle, the belly was open to allow his little Austin to be winched up the ramp. Taking their seats, having yomped up the cabin, they saw the pilot as the curtain was drawn back. The pilot was consulting a handbook while flipping switches and stuff. None of the passengers thought that this was anything to worry about. There are good old days and there are really good old days.

        • microdave
          February 27, 2020 at 10:04

          “The pilot was consulting a handbook while flipping switches and stuff. None of the passengers thought that this was anything to worry about”

          Just standard checklists, which all pilots follow. You should be more worried if they don’t …

  2. February 27, 2020 at 03:07

    Buddy Holly’s ghost says there’s nothing whatever to worry about.

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