I can't remember a time when flying was a special occasion warranting the wearing of a nice dress, high heels; a suit and tie for men. Full meals on china with silverware. Drinks in crystal. Seat belts optional and a spiral staircase to a lounge and the first class cabin. My parents remember. But I do remember when we could wait at the gate for a loved one to come out of the plane. I can even recall running down the gangway to meet my father right at the open door of the plane.
My dad did a lot of overseas travel back in the late 60s and early 70s and so his young family spent a good deal of time taking him to and picking him up from the airport. Neither was a chore (except probably for my mother who had to do the driving and the herding of four active children). We looked forward to the adventure of going to the airport. It seemed exotic - modern and shiny. Teeming with people with interesting (or so I imagined) stories about where they'd come from and where they were going. Duty-free shops, smokey and mysterious bars, impressively-uniformed airline employees wheeling their bags along the wide corridors.
Dad's arrivals were to be anticipated days ahead of time. We looked for the bags he would be carrying - covered in foreign words - that we knew held bars of Swiss chocolate and a stuffed animal or two. Departures were harder, of course. Saying goodbye isn't really ever
fun. There are strained smiles and tears and last looks over shoulders.