Whether it is for work or fun, most people spend a good deal of their lives traveling from one destination to the next. It has been like this since the dawn of humankind, with early humans using one of the simplest modes of transportation, their feet, to get from point A to point B. Then somewhere along the way we discovered using animals for transportation was a good idea, then the creation of the wheel came along and the number of ways we get around has grown since then. According to Wright-Brothers.org, the brothers were the first to perform a successful controlled flight on December 17, 1903. On January of 1914, according to Space.com, the first passenger flight happened, with a trip from St. Petersburg, Russia all the way to Tampa, Florida in the United States! It is anyone's guess how transportation will change even more in the future, maybe hover technology and teleportation will be a real working concept.
But the future of transportation isn't what the focus of this article today. Today we're thinking about the way the older generations have traveled. These ways are how our parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents traveled the world or during their day to day life. For them, it might seem a little nostalgic, and for us, we might wonder just how in the world they managed to stay alive. From smoking on airplanes to thinking that hitchhiking is a safe way to travel across the country, these are the 25 ways our parents traveled that we can't anymore.
25 Flight Attendants Had Some Pretty Specific Rules
Flight attendants are often the unsung heroes of the sky. Sometimes they're considered nothing more than glorified maids and butlers on a plane but they do a lot more than serve drinks and food. And back in our parents' days the rules they had to follow were pretty strict. According to DailyMail.UK says that "they had to adhere to strict guidelines regarding appearance and weight." One person even recalled having an old girlfriend who was told to get her teeth straightened before she was offered a job with a US airline.
24 Allowed To Ride In The Flatbed Of A Pickup Truck
An article from MeTV.com by the MeTV Staff has them fondly reminiscing over growing up in the 60s and 70s, with some of them remembering sitting in the flatbed pickup fondly. "No cushioned seats, no roof and nothing but the wind in your hair and sun in your face."
In twenty states, according to FindLaw.com, there are no laws that prohibit people from riding in the truck beds, but in the 30 other states there are certain restrictions.
In Texas children under 18 can't ride in the flatbed except for certain instances like during a parade.
23 No Restrictions On What Could Be Brought On The Plane
Passengers seemed to be able to bring aboard anything they wanted. DailyMail had one person admit, shockingly, that he was able to bring a crossbow on board. John Dasef recounts: "I recall one flight where I brought a crossbow (with permission) because it wouldn't fit in my luggage and the crew helpfully stowed it in a compartment for me during flight." And an article from Everywhereist.com has a story of a person being able to have a three-inch blade in his carry-on luggage without any trouble at all. And that was in the late 90s.
22 There Was A Window Seat Available At The End Of Every Row
With the way technology has improved its usually a simple matter of clicking a few buttons and typing a few things in to purchase plane tickets. If reserved in advance, a traveler could even choose what kind of seat they'd like, whether it was an aisle, the middle seat and even the window seat. Though, according to MentalFloss.com, even if a traveler is assigned a window seat they might not get one because of the way airplanes are configured nowadays. Before seats in "Economy Class were 34 inches but today the average is closer to 31 inches."
21 Kids Sitting In The Middle Seat In The Front
For our parents who grew up in the 70s and 80s, not having to wear a seatbelt and getting to sit behind the wheel while someone was driving isn't the only wild thing they were allowed to do. For some of them, as recounted by Jenny Isenman on her website Cafemom.com, getting to sit in the middle seat in the front of the car was the best seats in the car. Before the 1980s, according to Jalopnik.com, a lot of cars had front bench seats, offering a third seat in between the driver and passenger seat.
20 Sleeping Berths
Sleeping on a plane can be pretty uncomfortable to do, especially without at least a travel pillow to keep one's neck from stiffening up. Some people can't even sleep on a plane because of just how uncomfortable some plane seats are, but for our parents, sleeping on a plane seemed to be not only convenient but enjoyable as well. According to MentalFloss.com the late 1940s saw certain planes like the Boeing Stratocruiser were made with seats that could be made into Sleeping Berths. Sleeping Berths are kind of like little bunk beds.
19 Hitchhiking Seemed To Be A Lot Safer
When some people think of hitchhiking they think of the 60s and 70s when "hippies" would stand on the side of the road, to get strangers to take them where they needed to go. An article from NBCNews.com likens the popularity to hitchhiking to budget traveling books that offered tips on how to hitch rides and the "60's mentality of love and trust and the belief of the community." Nowadays it's harder to find that mentality and, at least according to NBCNews.com, the interstate highway system, law enforcement and "paranoid horror tales" of hitchhiking has made people afraid to.
18 There Was In-Flight Meat Carving During Meals
According to Insider during the "golden age of travel" in the 1950s, a round trip plane ticket could cost someone over a thousand dollars, and that's just within the States. Only people with money to spare really could afford the luxury of flying, and they tended to get what they paid for, Insider adds on. Passengers had meals that consisted of dishes like lobster, prime rib and roast beef. And to further emphasize just how fancy the meal was, companies like Pan Am had flight attendants serve these meals restaurant style, with in-flight meat carving carts.
17 The Seats Were Bigger And So Were The Aisles
Planes are the size and shape they are, as said by an article from MentalFloss.com, to "maintain the structural integrity of the aircraft." The body of the plane or the shell is designed before the inside is, and airlines are free to design the way they want their seats, determining what the "pitch" for a seat is, which is the distance from one seat to the next. Before, according to MentalFloss.com, the standard seat pitch was thirty-four inches but today's pitched are smaller so airlines can fit more seats inside the plane.
16 Piano Lounges On Planes
Yep, this isn't a mistake, but back in the old days, our parents who were able to fly had the chance of flying on planes that an actual piano on it.
According to articles from Insider and Mentalfloss.com, American Airlines had piano lounges located in the rear of their 747 planes in the early 70s.
Pictured above is one of the actual pianos that was used on board these flights, a Wurlitzer electric piano. According to Mentalfloss.com, they would require "frequent repairs due to over-enthusiastic music lovers" who would spill their drinks on the keys.
15 Smoking And Non-Smoking Sections On A Plane
Today, it might be a little hard to believe that our parents were able to smoke, on a plane of all places. According to online articles from the DailyMail, Home.bt.com and the NYTimes, smoking was allowed on planes in the '60s and '70s, with planes being divided into smoking and non-smoking sections. Splitting the plane up that way didn't really offer non-smokers any reprieve, at least according to private pilot Colin Teubner from DailyMail. "The whole place reeked of smoked," he commented. "You'd get off and all your clothes would smell like smoke."
14 Seatbelts Weren't Required In Cars
It might seem crazy to think about it, but cars didn't always have seatbelts built into them. Before 1964 when according to CDC.gov, "all new passenger cars had some form of seat belt", cars came without them.
And even in the 70s when shoulder belts were common in cars, few people wore them, as little as ten percent, according to CDC.gov.
And according to an article by Businessinsider.com, seatbelts weren't even required to be used by law until the 1980s. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts save about 13,000 lives a year!
13 Traveling Without A Cellphone
Probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences a person could have is realizing that they've left their phone at home or that it's been left uncharged. In a world where it's so easy to stay in contact with people on the go, suddenly losing all contact can leave a person with anxiety. But it wasn't so for our parents, back when they traveled when they were younger cell phones weren't a thing. An article from CafeMom.com has the author reminiscing about how she and the kids of her generation were completely "inaccessible-- from after school until dinner.
12 Only One In-Flight Movie
As glamorous as certain things sound back in the old days of air travel, one thing that is much better now is the entertainment. Before, according to Everywhereist.com there was only one in-flight movie, and passengers had to pay money to get the earbuds that would even allow them to hear what was going on in the movie. Nowadays with things like smartphones, tablets and apps like Netflix, all a person needs is wi-fi and they can have hundreds of movie at their fingertips.Technology is awesome!
11 Traveler's Checks Were Used A Lot More
Back in our parents' day, traveler's checks were the preferred method of payment for travel, according to TheNest.com.
A traveler would purchase them for a specific amount and then exchange them for the currency of the country they were visiting.
There are pros to traveler's checks, at least according to USAToday. They don't expire and can be replaced with no charge if lost or stolen, but they aren't as widely accepted anymore and a traveler just might find themselves having to pay more money or getting less money in return when it comes to exchanging rates and conversion fees.
10 The Overhead Compartment Was Used As A Hat Rack
It isn't unusual to see, another passenger carrying a large bag onboard and struggling to lift it up into the overhead compartment and fight with it to close it. For our parents that wasn't as often as an occurrence in the 1980s as it is in 2018.
The overhead compartments were considered to be "hat racks", at least according to Home.bt.com.
A cabin crew member for British Airways in 1988, remembers that "People used to put their hats, coats and much smaller bags in there, rather than bringing on large luggage."
9 A Helmet Wasn't Required While Biking
Back when our parents were younger wearing a bike helmet wasn't required. Websites like CafeMom.com and MeTV.com recall that there was little value seen in wearing one, that a person would even be considered "geeky" to wear one. Though it's possible that some of that sentiment is still viewed among cyclists, as there isn't a nationwide law requiring people to wear helmets, at least in the United States. In fact, according to IIHS.org, only twenty-one states and the District of Columbia require young riders to wear helmets.
8 Could Visit The Cockpit
The DailyMail interviewed a Mr. Moutal, who recounted his experience as a child on a plane.
"As a kid, visiting the cockpit was an awesome experience. Yes, the cockpit door was usually open during the flight!"
He even went on to say that he once got to sit in the navigator's seat for the duration of a flight he was. According to websites like The Sun and OneMileAtATime.com, a passenger can still request to ask to see the cockpit, whether they are allowed to or not depends on different factors.
7 Freshly Cut Flowers Available on every flight
It wasn't just a fancy restaurant like style meals that our parents who could afford to fly were given. According to MentalFloss.com, passengers on the Pan Am 707 Clipper jets were afforded many luxuries because of the plane being, as the company claimed, "vibration free".
Because of this flight attendants were able to put fresh flower arrangements on every tray table, without the risk of them spilling over into the passenger's lap.
This service was apart of Pan Am's dinner service and continued going until the late 1970s.
6 Traveling By Horse And Carriage
Before planes, before, trains, before all sorts of automobiles was a horse and carriage. The original "horse powered" mode of transportation, horses have been domesticated and used for travel sometime between 4000 and 3000 BC, according to LocalHistories.org. The invention of railways and cars in the 19th and 20th century, horse guided travel stopped being used as much. Still, today, in certain places people can pay for carriage rides in certain cities and horses are used for a number of other things including ranching, therapy, in races and by the police.
5 No Limit To How Many Bags Could Be Checked-In
Nowadays with most airlines there is not only a restriction of what a traveler can put in their bag, there is a restriction for how many bags they can have. According to SeatGuru.com, a passenger is allowed one carry on bag and one personal bag free of charge.
A traveler, at least according to SkyScanner.com, can pay up to $200 for checking in four more bags. Back in the 1980s that wasn't the case.
As a writer for Everywhereist.com remembers, they had at least seven carry-on bags with the airline they flew not charging them a dime for them. Amazing!
4 Long Boat Rides
Planes are probably one of the greatest inventions of modern history. It has made traveling fairly convenient and fairly quick, with trips across the country taking, at the very least less than an hour to get from one destination to the next. It has especially made traveling to other countries easier as well, back before planes if a person couldn't get somewhere by driving, or some sort of vehicle, usually their only option was to take a boat. A transatlantic cruise can take anywhere from a week, two weeks or even longer depending on the destination, according to Cruisetransatlantic.com.
3 Security Wasn't As Strict At Airports
For those of us that fly today having to wait through long lines for security checks done by TSA workers and taking our shoes off at checkpoints are fairly common things about flying. But for our parents, that wasn't the case at all. Before what transpired on September 11, 2001 security was very different at airports.
According to Insider, "travelers could go through security with items including liquids, small pocket knives, and large jackets."
And according to Dailymail, the whole family could walk travelers to the gates. The TSA didn't even exist then!
2 Didn't Need To Have An ID To Travel
We already mentioned how, in comparison at least, airport security was pretty laid back before 9/11. An article for the DailyMail.UK further emphasizes how lax the security was by mentioning that passengers didn't have to show their ID. In an interview, they asked a woman named Tessa E Tea about her experience and she shared a story about a 13-year-old cousin of hers that was able to fly on his aunt's return ticket once. "You could use a ticket with another person's name on it because IDs were not required."
1 Kids Taking The Wheel While Sitting In Their Parent's Lap
For at least a few of us, driving was one of those things that we couldn't wait to do when we got older. For a long time its kind of been a "rite of passage" in the United States for teens to learn how to drive and get their license. As for our parents, well some of them were able to dream about driving while situated behind an actual steering wheel! An article from Huffingtonpost.com recalls one man's fond memories of sitting in his dad's lap and pretending to drive while his dad back in the 70s.
References: DailyMail.co.uk, Thisisinsider.com, Home.BT.Com, EveryWhereist.com, MentalFloss.com, CountryLiving.com, CafeMom.com,HuffingtonPost.com, BusinessInsider.com, SeatGuru.com, NBCNews.com, NYTimes.com