Ten years later and the prospect of another 24-hour drive to Motown just doesn't sound appealling anymore, my hatred of flying nonwithstanding. So when I was invited to another counsin's wedding a few weeks ago, I decided perhaps it was best to fly this time. And since it has been sixteen years since I last flew, my flying budget was pretty large. It was an easy decision to opt for comformt over price—direct flight, first class, and whatever hoops to speed through Securithy Threater.
And that's how I found myself at 10:30 am sitting at gate D-2 at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, watching the line for Starbucks snake clear across the terminal, everybody head down staring at their smart phones, or looking straight ahead talking into the air. Bunny and I were waiting to board the plane for an hour and a half, and that line for Starbucks never got any shorter.
The flight itself was uneventful. I used to fly the Ft. Lauderdale-Detroit flight every year as a kid to spend the summer with my paternal grandparents. Flying back then was way different than today. First off—this was just prior to the airline deregulations, so the various arlines had to compete on service, not price. Everybody was allowed to go to the gate, so family and friends could wait with you there, and family and friends could meet you at the gate on the other side. I do think there was some security—at least a metal detector, but nothing like the security theater of today. But it wasn't cheap—the cost of flying my 10 year old self, adjusted for inflation, is what I paid for a first class ticket to fly myself this year.
I don't think I want to know the price of a first class ticket back in the day.
The service on the flight? It was okay. I mean, a snack box of cheese, crackers and some gummi bears pales to actual meals I remember eating, but the entertainment center in the seat? A wide selection of movies, music, and live flight tracking? That would have blown my 10-year old mine back in the day.
On the down side, the pre-flight safety dance was not performed by the crew, but instead shown on the said entertainment center, after two mandatory airline commercials. Seriously.
I also found it amusing that airplanes still have no-smoking indicators. How long has it been since one could smoke on a plane? Thity years? Fourty years? I wonder at what point they'll finally be removed.
Another change I noticed—now that each seat has a built-in entertainment center, there's no longer an in-flight magazine or Sharper Image catalog.