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Air Travel Past Versus Present: Flight Experience

Remember the days when it was mandatory to turn off your cell phone as the flight prepares for take off, no Wi-Fi service in flight, paper boarding passes, and a whole lot of cash was needed if you wished to purchase food on board?

As I began flying at the age of ten, I still remember the excitement I got at the airport looking out the window at all the aircrafts flying in and out of the airport. They seemed like the most fascinating objects in this world. Metal tubes attached with wings fully equipped to transport hundreds of travelers from one place to another place across the world. Just the thought of this was astonishing. Who wouldn’t want to jump on one of these?

As we learn more about how this air travel process works, products and services continue to improve with time and technology advancements. What used to be a metal tube with seats now has become your home with wings.

In today’s post, I would like to reflect on the air travel before and how it has changed.

Traveling in the past meant there were no baggage fees or on-board service fees, everything was included when you purchased your ticket. You didn’t have to pay for those headphones you used to watch the movie with. You didn’t have to pay

In Flight Entertainment

Monitors. What’s that? In the past, if you flew long-haul, you would be stuck in a metal tube for hours just staring at the seat in front of you, wondering how that person looks like and why he or she keeps adjusting their seat as you try to eat your in-flight meal. What you get now is what I would call a luxurious in-flight entertainment. From touch screens to in-flight wi-fi service, you can watch the latest movies and listen to current trending music while travelling on your flight. Some flights even offer an iPad and Tablet entertainment service.

Of course, you will still get the less popular carriers with the traditional monitors which hang on top of the aircraft a few rows apart from each other; most of the time you’d find yourself swaying left to right the entirety of the flight trying to find a good spot to watch the movie that was currently playing.

Economy Class Cabin

If you were bored, you would either try to sleep in your cramped seat or read a magazine you had purchased before boarding the aircraft. Or try to look over the seats in front of you to view the movie playing at the moment; though you would not be able to change the channel if you didn’t enjoy it. Oh, and don’t expect it to be a recent movie. A new seat class called the Premium Economy class has been introduced in recent years, which gives you a few more inches of leg room and for some airlines; also slightly better service.

First Class Travel

First Class travel has become much more luxurious. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, reclining seats were introduced to create a feeling of being in the bedroom for travelers. They were also given five course meals and larger video screens. Today, these reclining seats have become a fully flat bed in a private suite with a closed door, personal mini-bar and private cinema. For the Emirates travelers, you can freshen up in their A380 Shower Spa fully equipped with the toiletries and functions you need to give you a boost of energy


In today’s society, we have cruise control for our cars, and likewise we have autopilot for our aircrafts. Back in the day, flying brought great difficulty and challenges especially if you were flying long haul. The captain and co-pilot would be switching back and forth in controlling the aircraft, making it mentally and physically exhausting for the two individuals.

But thanks to autopilot, pilots can exert less energy to think about if the aircraft is going in the right direction and having to stay up to operate the aircraft. When a flight lifts off into the air, autopilot is able to take over, minimizing some stress and reliance on pilots so that they are able to focus on other aspects of flying.

Stewardess vs. Flight Attendant

In the past, we called them stewardess and this title was associated to a combination of sexual interpretations. In the past, stewardesses were required to be registered nurses and need to have attended college for at least two years. They need to have an appearance like a model: single, aged 21 to 26, and weigh less than 135 pounds.

Today, they are called flight attendants to move away from the negative impressions and to add in a new group of men who began to enter the field. Today, age requirements for flight attendants are 18 or 21 in some countries. If you hold a degree in tourism, communications, public relations, and fluency in a foreign language, this creates an asset for the field. Flight attendants today do not need to be a certain weight, but just enough to be in proportion to their height. They will need to be tall enough in order to reach the overhead bins as well as need to pass a fitness examination.

Flight attendants today have increasingly more responsibility since the attack of September 11, 2001. Not only do they need to know all the safety procedures on the aircraft, they will also need to be trained on how to react in life-threatening situations.

Smoking on Board

Beginning in 1988, U.S. airline carriers began to ban in-flight smoking and by the end of the 1990s, all airlines were to be smoke-free. This regulation was to improve safety measures on aircraft during flight. Previously, smoke would fill the air of the entire aircraft; if you were a lucky economy seater in the very back row, you would just have dodged your clothes, hair, and baggage from stinking of cigarette smoke.

Flights Not Fully Booked

I remember taking flights as a child and there would be empty seats here and there, so before take off, you would be able to manoeuvre into an empty trio of seats to create a First Class-like bed for yourself. Today, airlines have a better analysis of their flights and are able to overbook flights which hold a high no-show rate and vice versa. It is very rare that you will find a row of empty seats on airline flights today.

From past to present

From outdated movies to touchscreen televisions and private cinemas, it seems that air travel has changed for the better. Booking a vacation in the day seemed like a luxury, costing you paychecks for a single flight ticket. Although airlines have found different ways to break down services tacking on fees for travellers, air travel continues to prosper and more and more people are willing to travel today. Additionally, flights are also much safer today, creating a substantial increase in travellers over the past decade.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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