This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
Once upon a time, a traveler flying from Columbus to Denver arrived at the airport 45 minutes before his flight was scheduled. He stood in a short line at the ticket window, and a courteous, friendly TWA counter attendant weighed and tagged his backpack. He had time to visit a few of the airport shops before strolling to his gate, without passing through any screening checkpoints, without taking off his shoes and belt, without having his carry-on dumped or being patted down.
Waiting at the gate were the family members of arriving passengers, who hugged their loved ones as they emerged from the plane. Once the plane was empty, the traveler boarded, carrying a cup of coffee. He found his seat, wide enough and with enough leg space to accommodate him, and had a pleasant flight, including a nice meal. Once in Denver, he claimed his baggage without incident and, two hours later, was backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
I'm not suggesting that the security measures put into effect after 9/11 were unnecessary. I'm just remembering that there was a day, long long ago, when traveling by air was a pleasure rather than an ordeal. Our goal should be to recapture those days, rather than accept that the current state of affairs is the best we can do.
Everyone should be able to have a memory as exhilarating as mine.
What memories do you have of air travel pre 9-11?