A chance to reminisce - who remembers the "old days" of Travel?

MEL_Traveller

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Reading Matt's QF B-717 review today of a CBR_SYD flight where he said...

No hot meals are available on this sector – regardless of the time of day. With a time in the air of barely 30 minutes, this is completely understandable – otherwise, it would be almost impossible to serve the entire Business cabin.​

... got me thinking about 'old times'. Back in the days of QF running 727s CBR-SYD we used to have first class cabins of 24 - sometimes more - seats. And then business class behind that when it was first introduced. Full hot meal served on those flights, with a wheels-up to wheels-down of around 25 minutes. The meals were obviously put on to heat before takeoff, and the crew would take out trays, shove the hot meal on, and race them out two at a time. Came with warmed rolls or croissants (for brekky) and drinks or tea + coffee.

What's incredible is that they can't manage to serve 12 pax on a 737 MEL-SYD before the top of descent :( In part QF not putting on meals to heat in advance, and the laborious meal cart+tray set up slows things down. And not for the better I would suggest. Even today BA manages a full meal with at least two rounds of drinks on a London-Amsterdam sector.
 

sydunipete

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I flew Compass a few times SYD-BNE.

In the Army we flew Richmond NSW to Laverton in a Caribou. It was during the air traffic controllers strike (in 1981?) so we were permitted to take off provided we flew under a given height. I can't remember what that height was but I can assure it was low. I've never seen so many grown blokes throw up. A flight back from Nadi to Richmond on the 707 was much better.

Not all memories are good. We probably shouldn't remind ourselves of the ANSETT collapse. I had so many points accumulated I booked the whole family Sydney to Hamilton Island business class, then two weeks at Hayman Island all on points. ANSETT fell over 2 days before we were due to depart. I also got stung by Air Berlin.
 

kgreenuq

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My first flight was in 1957, from Cairns to Brisbane on a DC3. We stopped everywhere -- and I mean everywhere! -- Innisfail, Ingham, Townsville, Ayr, Mackay ... etc. I don't remember much about the plane itself, but just a few years later we were flying to Brisbane on turboprop (F27s and Electras, I think). Kids got barley sugar lollies, wings badges and colouring books.
 

aspro2

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In 1978 my family (four of us) moved from London to Australia. We were flying Qantas, and it must have stretched the budget massively, given my dad's income. We got to Heathrow and were informed that one engine had fallen off the 747 in Bombay on its way to London. It was then kinda exciting (I was under 10) to be put up in a hotel (after lots of stress and crying adults and stuff) and I think about 36 hours later we were on our way. This was about four days before Christmas.

The plane landed in (I think) Rome, Bombay and then Perth in the middle of the night and for some reason couldn't continue for many hours. So a planeload of very stressed, tired (and probably smelly) passengers basically slept on the floor of Perth airport for a while. Eventually we were then transported onwards to Melbourne and then Sydney! (All on the same plane, IIRC.) We were booked to stay at a hotel overlooking Hyde Park in Sydney, and Qantas in London had assured passengers that they would contact all hotels, etc. They hadn't. Somehow we still managed to stay there. We went to bed and slept for a very very very long time. the only memory of Sydney is a big jam donut with very smooth icing, and my memento from the flights was a little jar of strawberry jam from the plane.
 

Melburnian1

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i recall flying CP Air (owned by the famous railway company) on my first overseas trip to Vancouver, and then Varig down to Lima. The return air fares were about A$1600, which the RBA 'inflation calculator' tells me (for a basket of goods and services, not air fares) was about A$5000 in 2019. It must have been funded from working when I had time off from university.

Then we used airlines such as AeroPeru and others (including a Cessna as the only two passengers: can't recall how we booked that) ) to get around on sectors we couldn't do by train, or, less often, by bus. All these airlines are defunct IIRC. Some of the rail lines have long been pulled up, or only see freight trains today.

The biggest change compared to 2020 was that back then, I always arrived in a town (in Oz or overseas) and looked for a suitably priced hotel. Only once, in Europe, did I find 'house full' signs, yet today (pre COVID-19) it'd be often difficult to do this, such is the rise of OTAs.

Inflation was rife at the time. I had to pay cash for an AeroPeru ticket with a thick wad of notes. Shamefully, I pushed my way in to the counter to obtain the last two seats. That's not something I've ever since done.

Prior to that my first domestic air trip was on Ansett from ADL to MEL. Hardly exciting to anyone today but since I'd been interstate by train (including on the forward journey by 'The Overland', a great train) or less frequently by bus a few times, it was an (expensive) novelty. I'd have to find it but would it have been on a 727? I travelled quite a lot on those: 'real aircraft.' Airfares then were incredibly restrictive, especially those APEX return fares that required a Saturday night away. Unthinkable today for domestic air, although standby fares seemed to work well and I don't recall having much difficulty being found a seat when I used these, but also may not have been travelling at peak periods.

Agree that the Golden Wing Club was excellent, far less crowded than many airlines' lounges in 2020. From what I recall, the food was quite good (but hasn't stuck in my memory.) However the orange hostie and stewards' uniforms are recollected more easily.

One other odd feature of Ansett (though classy) when in J was the analogue wall clock, always on the right, hitting one in the face if in the first row., Sir Peter Abeles may have insisted these be there.

Compass I and II were quite good, and at times if one bought a full fare whY ticket, AN (Ansett) would automatically upgrade you to J, even domestically. That was when the fare wars with Compass were at their high point.

At other times it was interesting to travel on 'milk runs' such as Melbourne to Sydney to Manila to Karachi to Abu Dhabi to London. The B747 from Manila to London (PAL) had proper sleeper beds on its upper deck. I don't think they lasted long as they were expensive to operate.

At other times I used B747SPs, one trip I believe was EVA Air. These were unusual aircraft, but reliable.

And speaking of reliability, JAL was as good 20 years ago as it is now, even if by today's standards the aircraft were dated.

TAA (Ta-tah) was also OK, though I adjudged Ansett to be superior. It fascinated me how it and 'Chance It' departed within five minutes of one another and apparently battled to get the '00' departure (slots.) I retain domestic and international air printed timetables from those years, far nicer than looking up times on a smartphone, tablet or PC.
 
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Curlycoat2

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I remember when there was still smoking on airplanes. I also remember a domestic business trip once, travelling with some company management. The guy leading the trip booked us in smoking - not because any of us smoked, but because it was 'one extra degree of freedom' :oops: :rolleyes: :mad: :(

My company - Western Mining Corp - in the 1980s had an Ansett travel person in their Melbourne corporate office, as corporately we did so much flying. Even back then the secretaries knew the value of 'Golden Wings' and lounge access. My routes were Perth-Melbourne, then Darwin-Melbourne, then Adelaide - Alice Springs - Darwin and Adelaide-Melbourne.

And then I was working in Canada when Ansett went down the plug-hole and lost 'em all. :(
I worked at WMC as a secretary in the Superannuation department (for Les Dodd) in the 80s. We definitely did know the value of Golden Wings and the Lounge Access. I was even sent to Rockingham for a business trip! Those days were great!
 

OATEK

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My first flight was in 1957, from Cairns to Brisbane on a DC3. We stopped everywhere -- and I mean everywhere! -- Innisfail, Ingham, Townsville, Ayr, Mackay ... etc. I don't remember much about the plane itself, but just a few years later we were flying to Brisbane on turboprop (F27s and Electras, I think). Kids got barley sugar lollies, wings badges and colouring books.
My first flights were around the same time. One involved a Viscount and DC3, travelling Hobart-Melbourne-Sydney-Port Macquaire (return). As an unaccompanied minor of around 7yo it was the most wonderful adventure. Also travelled in an Electra in the same era, which involved a visit to the coughpit with Captain McRobbie (a distant relative). Don't remember anything about the food, although I think sandwiches from home might have been the go.

First overseas trip in 1987 on a BA 747 is a highlight still. Paper tickects, a fist full of trevellers cheques, and a party of 7 off to a wedding in Scotland. Some accommodation booked by family at the other end, some booked by us from Australia using the AA B&B "bible", and an exchange of letters some months ahead. The TA arranged the hire car (fabulous Ford Sierra) and really just the most amazing experience having three generations along. Our youngest only remembers bits of it all, but the eldest can recall most of the journey. Every time we complain about her now living in London she turns it back on us for taking her there in 1987.
 

OZDUCK

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The ABC had an on-line article this morning which fits in very well with this thread. I experienced some of this on the very odd occasion I visited the airport in my youth.

When I first worked in Customs at Perth Airport around 1974 there was still no "Transit Lounge". Anyone in transit just wandered out into the main terminal after pretty cursory checks. I think one was built around 1975/76. We had a couple of transit flights a day. QANTAS Lhr to Syd return with a few other stops (as mentioned by Aspro2 above) and BOAC/BA which had a multitude of stops and ran from LHR to Nadi using Super VC10's. Plus JAT - Yugoslav Airlines which ran from Belgrade to Sydney about once a week. We all hated the JAT flight as every second pax had 10 or 12 litres of grapa. As the duty collector you had to basically negotiate the amount of duty payable as no-one knew the alcohol content or exact quantity. Our store was always full of abandoned plastic flagons of the stuff.

 

mrsterryn

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When in the days of yore there were no mobile phones and you needed to ring from the country you were in
These are my late mother's who loved to go to England and often :)
 

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mrsterryn

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Mother also had a checking and savings account at Westminster. She still had a balance (couple of hundred pounds ) up till she died. She (I ) would receive her statement as an active account every 12 months or so. I think the funds would have gone back into general unclaimed by now.
She was only an English visitor
 

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Cossie

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When in the days of yore there were no mobile phones and you needed to ring from the country you were in
These are my late mother's who loved to go to England and often :)

Still got some, one with Lady Di on it, should put it on ebay....... That one is a telstra card, but I do have BT ones as well.

One of these.

 

codash1099

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When was that?
I was an adult-sized 15 to 16 when we went to Fiji for a family holiday, around 1986 or so, Fijian Airlines (Fijian Airways?) flew a repainted Qantas 747-200 or -300 they'd rented (I'm about 75% sure it still had a Qantas interior fitout - including the flight crew I believe!). That was squeezy in Y, by then. I mean I'd flown domestically prior, but I assume domestic got squeezier earlier.
I'm presuming the early 707's & 747's & the like had more space than the likes of Super Constellations, and then slowly over the years that space was eroded ... I'm guessing from the early 70's through to mid 80's when they arrived at what we now have in Y?

When was that? In the "golden age":

 

Flying Fox

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A few things that I remember/miss -

1. Flying Ansett F domestically a few times - only 4 seats per aircraft

2. coughpit visits

3. Doing coughpit landings into Cairns and Hong Kong (Kai Tak) both at night - totally amazing
 
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A few things that I remember/miss -

1. Flying Ansett F domestically a few times - only 4 seats per aircraft

I remember doing a few transcontinental flights in Ansett F on 727's. I recall a stop in ADL was frequently required to top up the tanks.
 

OATEK

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A few things that I remember/miss -

2. coughpit visits
I may have mentioned previously my trip to Melbourne with a visit to the flight deck on an Electra I think it was. Mum's cousin Capt. McRobbie was in charge, and recognised our names on the flight manifest. It was amazing to sit in the pilot's seat at just 7 yo.
 

rogerkambah

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I remember doing a few transcontinental flights in Ansett F on 727's. I recall a stop in ADL was frequently required to top up the tanks.

Those were the days when Ansett and TAA shadowed each other's flights.
I think it was around 11am when all 4 727s collected in the one airport. Two continued to PER and 2 to ASP and DRW.
 

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