General

What flying was like in the 1960s

Someone (I think Stuart) sent in this nice piece on flying in the 60s. I’m quoting some interesting facts below, together with my own experiences.

“Flying was expensive” and “Because it was so expensive, flying was rare”. You can say that again. Though still out of reach of most Pakistanis, flying was very rare here, in say the 80s. Although I’ve been flying since childhood (thanks largely to my Dad and the Govt. of Pakistan), it was always thought of as a privilege here that nobody could afford on their own. People usually looked up to anybody who had even visited a foreign country. These days, pretty much everyone I know has done it and most have lived abroad at some time or another.

“They really had to instruct you on how to use the seat belts, because many cars didn’t have them and no one was using the ones they had.”. That is interesting, though judging by the passengers I’ve seen on local flights, its still true for most Pakistanis. We still hardly ever use seatbelts in cars, even after the traffic police’s campaigns to politely instruct people to do so. I’ve used them more frequently off late, mainly because the cars I often travel in, as well as their drivers, are fast enough to require something to keep you in place.

Back to the flying article, the part about having observation decks at airports seems quite paranoid (as also pointed out by others). “With little concern about security, some airports allowed you to stroll outside, take a seat, and watch the airplanes come and go.” What is the security concern here? How is being able to watch airplanes taking off and landing a security risk? I live close to an airport and sitings of planes are pretty common. How is this different from watching planes from an observation deck?.

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