Our cabin crew blogger Lisa comes over all nostalgic about how air travel has changed since she’s been flying… and hopes her reminiscing doesn’t reveal her age!
After reminiscing with the girls and having a good giggle… it got me thinking about how much has changed on-board over the last 25 years whilst I have been flying around in my sky suit. It struck me that a nostalgic look back at airline travel may be of interest to some of you out there, so here goes…
One of the most dramatic differences between then and now is the inflight meal service. Cast your mind back to when you bought a flight ticket and the price included a three course meal. It was the norm for the crew to offer everybody drinks and wine prior to your meal, serve a meal presented on a tray with cutlery, offer teas and coffees along with liqueurs, then hand out hot towels (to which I’ve seen people start to chew mistaking it for the fourth course!)
Everything would then have to be cleared before duty free passed through the cabin…’wacky races’ springs to mind!! But we managed it every time. These days as trends change we’re told that consumers prefer choice including when and what they would like eat or drink this means that the price of an inflight meal is an additional extra and not compulsory. The difference to the crew is a less busy meal service but a much busier and lengthy drink and snack service due to the popularity of retail hot drinks and hot snacks.
What’s your preference? Would you like to see the return to an all-in-one priced ticket with meal included or do you prefer the freedom to choose?
In the past it was quite the norm to see passengers spruced up wearing their ‘Sunday best’ to go on holiday; I suppose flying was more of an event that had been planned for months in advance. These days leisure flying is a much more casual affair with a dressed down trend leading the way. There has been the odd occasion when some people have taken this quite literally! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a ‘toned six pack’ but if ya board with no top on you’ll be asked to cover up the bod!
For those that like to keep their clothes on, a memorable (fashion) garment which springs to mind would be the good old 80s shell suit. I can recall this classic, in various colours gracing the aircraft aisles for a long time. The light weight zipper with matching elasticated pants worn with stilettos was always a winner for comfy air travel! However I never had the pleasure of seeing anyone break into a spot of body popping in the back galley! Does anybody still wear these?!
Around the same era the popularity of sports holdalls exploded, when these were crammed full they were huge!
In my opinion the best thing to happen to cabin crew was the invention of the mobile phone, now this makes me sound really old but when I first became cabin crew there was NO mobile phones. In 1987 I rented a pager for £5.00 a month which meant I could still be contactable and not house bound for hours at a time. I can still remember some years later being on standby and out shopping with my pal who had her dads mobile phone which was the size of a house brick and laughing hysterically when we got called out for a 14 day trip to Hong Kong and thinking that phone was the bees knees!
Uniforms have come and gone, I must admit my favourite was my first ever Monarch winter uniform when I joined in 1990. The uniform that gave me a permanent headache was my first summer uniform. This particular ensemble was a long swingy cotton skirt, which I constantly obsessed about ironing into perfect pleats using tons of spray starch. I remember swishing down the cabin one day when the hem of my perfect pleats got caught on an arm rest, as I passed I heard this almighty rip and I ended up with a long flapping train of material following me down the aisle, Cinderella eat ya heart out… it was funny at the time and my faithful sewing kit saved the day.
Pre 1995 my working position was at the rear of the aircraft, which back then was the designated smoking cabin. I remember always boarding embracing a clear cabin and after takeoff when the no smoking sign went out, everybody would light up and start puffing in unison! There were always passengers seated in the non smoking cabin who wanted to smoke and I recall explaining the rules many times, the usual solution was to allow passengers to swap seats for a couple of minutes so someone could have a quick ‘tab’, musical chairs at 30,000ft springs to mind!
I can remember the lingering smell of nicotine on my pinny, my uniform and my crew bag after the flights and experiencing a permanently blocked nose! I vividly remember how much better I felt after the first couple of no smoking flights. These days in my experience it’s pretty much unheard of for someone to light up during a flight and if they do you can pin point the culprit straight away….you just follow your nose!
Does anyone remember the good old PORTABLE boogie box? Way back in the /early nineties it was the boogie boxes that filled the hat bins, thank god for the arrival of the digital age of music! These days the hat bins are full with cabin wheelie bags as everybody wants a swift exit to avoid hanging around waiting for suitcases.
Drop your comments below and let me know your memories of past flights…