Travelling in the past

Having worked through my ‘old’ 35mm slides I thought that I feature these, together with a small story. For the one of you, who do not know what 35mm slides are. Slides were commonly produced prior to the digital camera age for use in slide projectors, next to negative film, which was used for prints. 35mm slides are pieces of film, cut and put into mounts, so that they could be fed through a slide projector and produce large and colourful images on screen.

Flight deck of a Boeing 707 in 1972. Lots of dials and switches and a flight engineer. GPS and other modern systems were not known and the glass cockpit a long way away.
PanAm Boeing 707 in Stuttgart Germany. This was pre-terrorism and one could get really close to the waiting point at the runway. This aircraft is just rolling into the start position.
One of the more rare Lufthansa Boeing 707-400 ‘Bonn’ at Stuttgart prior to take off. This model was fitted with Rolls Royce Conway engines, a less common sight in those times.
Viasa Douglas DC-8 in Rio de Janeiro

Prior to the wide body jets we travelled in Boeing 707 or McDonald Douglas DC-8 around the world. Aircraft which are nowadays called narrow body. In fact narrow bodies will be brought back for long distance flights in form of the Airbus A321LR and the Boeing B737 Max series.

It has already been questions how the modern human being could survive in this narrow cabins with less air around and less space. But for a very long time span of 25-30 years, we travelled the world in such aircraft and survived. In fact these aircraft did not have in-flight entertainment in the modern way of travelling. No touchscreen, no interactivity and certainly no WiFi, which was not even invented. If you were lucky you had one or two audio channels with sound literally piped through some plastic tubing, which you would put into your ears. The sound quality was far removed from even MP3 and you would listen to the music in the order as it was piped. Some of these planes had a movie projector mounted into the ceiling. These were real flim projectors, with large film spules and ‘hot’ lamps. More often then not, the film would jam or break and the cabin lights had to come back on, so that the steward or stewardess, no they were not called flight attandents in those times, could fix the issue, if they could.

The projection screen would be pulled down and blocked part of the aisle, resulting in people bumping into it on the way to or from the lavatories.

Smoking. Yes, smoking was still allowed. Depending on the aircraft model, either one side or the rear of the aircraft was dedicated for the smokers. One would always receive ones seat allocations with trepedations. Am I seated amongst smokers for 6-8 hours.

These aircraft did not have the range modern aircraft have. So there were many more stops, compared to nowadays.

In the earlier versions, there were not even overhead locker. Everything was open and only cooats, jackets, hats, yes one still wore thouse, we allowed to put up there. Of course every so often a heavier bag was added, which, at stronger turbulence would end up on the head of an unsuspecting passenger. Somehow rarely on the owner of the piece.

But despite all of this, flying was a great deal safer and faster, compared to the old propeller DC4, 6, 7 or Super Constellations.

Flying in thouse times was not cheap. I paid for a flight from Stuttgart to Melbourne 3300 Deutschmark in 1973. This would be close to 10,000 DM nowadays. In AUD (as I am now living in Australia), this would be close to 8000 Australian Dollar.

Nowadays we can get such a flight for as little as $ 1900 (Covid times) and even less in normal times.

So we may complain about airtravel nowadays, but if you consider the convenience, the reduced travel times, the inflight movie and Wifi and vastly improved airport facilities, plus the greatly improved safety, we are getting a really good deal in the 2000’s.

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