The new television series “Pan Am” has sparked controversy for its glamourisation of life as an air stewardess in the 1960s, trivialising the flagrant sexism and materialism of the role. In my opinion I think the series actually does well to highlight the fine line between the glitz and the stresses and strains of being a commodity for passengers and the airline alike.
But that is beside the point of this note:- the series has done a brilliant job of sparking my memories of flying as a child, not with Pan Am, and not in the 60s, but at a time when air travel was still a great thrill and flight time was part of the holiday and not a mere hurdle to cross before reaching your destination. Granted this may just have been because I was a child and everything is novel at that age but I can’t help thinking that travel was just that bit more of a thrill 20 years ago. I’ll have to ask my Mum who will no doubt disagree, having flown long haul with four children during that period…
Nonetheless, here are a few of my favourite flying memories: Pick n’ mix, kid’s fun packs, warm soft blankets, fresh orchid broaches, trips to the cockpit, tasty airplane food, hot flannel hand wipes and the loveliest airline staff.
…and my least favourite from RyFlyEasyBe…: 5 quid sandwiches, stained seats, cattle herding check in/boarding, invariably grumpy, harassed business man/woman invariably sitting next to me and the grumpy, harassed airline staff (you have my sympathy, I’ve noticed treatment of air steward/esses that wouldn’t be too far removed from that of Pan Am’s era).
For now I’ll do with getting my air travel thrills from the visual glamour and behind the scenes drama of Pan Am (BBC2).