Out and About – Week of July 13th

I was hired by United Airlines in June of 1969 and worked for them until 1985. Back then, the one-way coach fare from Chicago to the west coast was $129.00. You could check two bags, plus carry on a couple of bags, as long as they could fit in the overhead bin and underneath the seat in front of you. If your flight was at least two hours long, you received a meal, plus some peanuts and a soft drink. The price for the meal and refreshments was FREE. Flying was a big thing, and when you flew, you dressed up just a little.
We recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. Things have changed a bit. We flew non-stop out of Chicago to Honolulu. The flight lasted nine hours. We were allowed to check one suitcase per person, and it cost $50 to do so. The bag could not weigh over fifty pounds. We were able to take onboard two bags which had to fit either in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of us. Soft drinks, coffee, and tea were complimentary, but if we wanted a meal, we would have had to pay for it. Needless to say, we had plenty to eat prior to the nine-hour flight.
For the next several weeks, I’ll share some of our experiences in Hawaii with you. If you have ever visited our fiftieth state, these future columns probably will not be all that interesting, but if you have dreams of spending a vacation in paradise, you’ll definitely find them interesting and hopefully a little humorous.
We flew United Airlines, because we didn’t want to change airplanes anywhere, and I thought that I was familiar with United’s reputation and dedication to service.
Several years ago, I flew Delta Airlines out of Detroit, non-stop to Seoul, Korea. The flight lasted thirteen hours. We were fed several times and there was an endless flow of coffee, tea and soft drinks. This service was FREE. Service was very nice on both United and Delta. I’m wondering if service has changed drastically on all air carriers over the past several years.
Thirty years ago I heard that air travel would soon change considerably. Bigger airplanes would carry more people to more destinations. North Central, Eastern, TWA, and Continental Airlines were eventually swallowed up by the bigger carriers. Gone were the glory days of air travel. Flying somewhere became as everyday as traveling by Greyhound. Train travel has suffered the same fate. There is no need to have gentlemen wear a suit and tie, and the ladies can wear almost anything they desire. Much like chivalry, manners, and common courtesy, good service and free amenities seem to be a thing found only in diaries and journals of the past.
The first ten days in Hawaii were spent in Honolulu, where we attended the 98th Lions International Convention. The convention lasted about four days, ending Tuesday, June 30.
If you’ve been to Hawaii and never left Honolulu, then you’ve never really been to Hawaii. Honolulu is like any other big city, only with palm trees.
Next week, I’ll share with you our visit to the Arizona Memorial and other life after convention experiences.
Please remember, what other people think of you is none of your business.
See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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