Reading a collection of dumb things people have done while flying – flooding the bathroom while trying to take a sponge-bath, getting too, um, familiar with themselves under blankets and getting too familiar with others, again in the bathroom – reminded me of what flying used to be like.
Years ago it was common for the pilot to invite kids into the cockpit. That’s hard to fathom in this post-9-11 world. I remember being in the front of a jumbo jet as a teen and the flight crew inviting me to stay with them as we landed. Uh, no thanks!
Of course, these days the cockpit door is locked and no one would dream of giving it more than a passing glance for fear of being tackled by an air marshall.
I don’t know that it was necessarily better back then. Maybe they were too casual about something as serious as carrying hundreds of vulnerable souls through the air. You could also smoke on planes back then too and I’m grateful that’s no longer the case. We’re more alert to what others are doing, as well. If someone tries to light their shoes on fire we’re probably going to notice. That’s an improvement over the days of letting little Johnny buckle in beside the pilot and pretend he’s flying the plane.