Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I remember my first commercial airplane ride. I was in the ninth grade traveling from Dallas to Lubbock, Texas to do a show. As I contemplate my AA Frequent Flyer account which has logged two and three quarter million miles not including the cross country trip I will complete tonight; I wonder how I did it starting my traveling so late in life.

Until I started performing and traveling by myself there was no reason to travel by air. All my trips were taken with the family via station wagon. I think if I could just jump in the back of a big Chevrolet wagon today with the back seat down and sleep till my folks said, "we're here," I would never complain about traveling again.

What I remember most about my early air travel days was wearing a coat and tie on the plane. Everyone dressed up. I'm not exactly sure why. It wasn't comfort. It was just the way it was done. I wore one suit on the plane and packed a separate one for my performance.

The Stewardess (only females and under 25 years of age were employed) wore a uniform with hat skirt and heels. They were hired for there beauty and personality. Although now they stress that the flight attendants are there for your safety, back then they were there most definitely for your pleasure.

This memory was brought back today as I "people" watch at the Miami Airport Admirals Club. Several guys are sitting at the bar in tee shirts, flip flops and shorts. There is no on, even the bar staff who is wearing a tie. At the computer are two American "Flight Attendants" waiting to catch their next plane. One is a man and the other is a woman. Both are gray headed and look to be in their early 60's. If there is an emergency on the flight they will be "attending" later tonight someone will have to help these elderly seniors evacuate. I don't see how they are going to save our lives.

I guess this is progress, I'm glad I am not choking on a neck tie, but it bothers me to see a guy sitting across from me in first class wearing a tank top gym shorts and flip flops. He has slipped off his shoes and has wedged his bare feet on the seat in front of his. I am hoping they disinfect it before someone puts their water bottle in that seat pocket.

For me the glamour is gone, or was it all just an illusion back then to an imaginative ninth grader.
As you were,


Neale Bacon said...

We're much more civilized back in coach :)

Tony Gangi said...

It's strange....over the past month we've watched THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Both films seem to capture a time and a place in America vastly different from what we now see around us. It seems almost foreign. The ties. The hats. The crips white shirts. The pants with creases in them. The formality of things.

A number of years ago I worked a job where I had to wear a tie every day. And everyday I enjoyed it. Then the time came when the company said no more. No more need of ties. Part of me--maybe I'm a sap--was saddened. For me--I suppose for men in general at least...well, from my point of view--men have so few options when it comes to expressing themselves via fashion. My ties were a chance to say something in the way I dressed every day.

It's a vastly different world.


Roomie said...

Everything has changed since those days, much to my dismay, and in many cases embarassment for the world....
Carry on