When I was a little kid in the early 50's, my parents would take me and my younger sister to Minneapolis airport to watch commercial planes take off and land. I would ask them why I never flew one of these planes. He would shake his head and say that air travel was only for the wealthy and, since we were not rich, it seems unlikely that we would make any air travel. This seemed to be a truism, as I noticed that almost all the passengers, who were mostly men, were dressed in suits and wearing hats. My father never dressed like that for work, so it seemed to me that I was sentenced to a life of traveling by car.
I knew little that I would one day become a businessman and travel quite regularly. Even my parents eventually became semi-regular air travelers for years to come, as they went back and forth between their Minnesota summer home and their California winter home. I didn't spend much time on airplanes just because I traveled for business, like most people, now I can afford to fly commercially. The competition created discounted airline flights, not to mention low hotel prices and low car rentals.
In the early 1950s, most families had a single salary, and the median family income was probably only about $ 5,000 a year. Today, most families have 2 employees, and family incomes are more than $ 70,000. Until the recent recession, families had much more affordable incomes than before, and combined travel with discounts has significantly increased air travel.
The world we live in has reduced travel, but it has also affected us at the airport.
We have to endure long lines and security searches, and our farewell greetings must be said far from the boarding areas. We live in fear of hijackings and other forms of terrorism. Instead of cute meals, most of us have to settle for a small bag of peanuts and a refreshing drink. The gorgeous stewardess was replaced by normal-looking women and male flight attendants.
On the other hand, I certainly do not have to wear a hat and when I take my grandchildren to the airport, I do not take them on planes, I take them on a plane with me.