I couldn’t help but notice the more then subtle changes that have taken place in airline travel in the past 20-25 years. When I was young, in elementary and middle school, my sister and I would fly to Michigan each summer to spend it with my father. We did this alone, my mother would take us to the airport and the stewardess would take over from there getting us safely to my father.
I remember that we would, not only get soda and peanuts, but often since the flight was from Florida to Michigan we were served a meal. We were offered pillows and blankets and were really rather comfortable. It was always and adventure flying when I was young. I recall one time getting to go into the cockpit to meet the Captain and getting our very own wings to wear proudly.
Fast forward about 20-25 years and things have changed quite a lot in so many ways. Not only that but your traveling experience is so different depending on what airline you fly. These days I don’t know of any airline that doesn’t charge you for your luggage should you choose to check it in. I remember the first time I flew again in the last 10 years I was shocked to find out that not only did I have to pay for my baggage but I had better be careful how heavy I packed it. The over the limit fee is much steeper then packing two bags. You only get a free bag check-in if you fly first class or belong to a special airline club.
The day when you were served meals are a thing of the past, at least for free. I have not flown any international flights and I would guess that those are different. Keeping you on a plane for over 8 hours has to warrant at least one free meal. Even the bag of peanuts seem to be allusive these days. I have flown to LA which takes over 5 hours and was offered a complimentary drink and the option to purchase snacks (which you can only do via credit card.)
That said the entertainment options on airlines has greatly improved. You just have to pay for most them of course. Sometime ago, maybe 5 years I think, I recall flying to Michigan (I don’t remember the airline) and I believe we were shown a free movie during our flight. I also recall this happening when my husband and I flew to LA, I believe that flight was on AirTran.
I am currently flying on United Airlines (as in the right now while I’m drafting this post), and was surprised to see it was one of the airlines that has not yet equipped all their planes with United Air had DirecTV. Yep each seat has a small screen for you to select between 100 channels and premium movies to enjoy during your flight. Oh yeah, you have to pay for the service $5.99 if your flight is under 2 hours and $7.99 if it is longer.. If you happen to be flying from NY to LA or San Francisco you have the luxury but all other flights are still waiting for an upgrade. So I was quite surprised when I sat down in my seat to find that
My favorite airline to fly is Virgin America. I flew them once on a trip to LA. I drove to Ft. Lauderdale to take a direct flight to LA and have to say out of all the airlines I have flown this one just really stuck out. When you go to check in they have music playing at their terminal. Hip Hop, base pumping music. Maybe this is too much for some but it gave me the impression that this airline was FUN. When I settled in my seat I noticed the little screens at each seat. This is where they showed you the “safety” instructions that you get on every flight. However they did it with humor and it made me laugh and was memorable. After the video was over we had full reign of our little screens and were able to not only watch TV shows we could play games. The best part…..it was FREE! No extra charge the entertainment was included.
I’m not “complaining” about the changes. I understand that things change. I know quite some years ago the airlines hit some hard times. I just wish they would balance out customer service like maybe giving us a blanket and just small snack included with our ticket price.