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.