In the last 50 years, travel has changed, and continues to change, at an astounding pace. For many, the 1950’s are considered to be the Golden Age of Travel, but it’s best that we look back with a more balanced perspective, and decide whether this was really the peak of travel for passengers around the world.
Sure, traveling these days is usually stressful, and rarely fun, but it would be naive to simply assume that travel was much better 50 or 60 years ago.
Flying was definitely different in the 1950’s and 60’s, and people would dress up in their finest attire, indulge in fine dining, stretch their legs out with plenty of leg room, and stroll onto the plane without any security measures.
However travel was also way more expensive, and if you wanted to fly you could expect to be paying four to five times more than we pay today.
Accidents were a common occurrence, and passengers would often end up severely hurt after hitting bad turbulence. Not only were planes less able to withstand the turbulence, but the pretty glass dividers between classes would often shatter, spraying passengers with glass.
Flying was also a health hazard, as smoking was permitted, and there was little else to do but smoke and drink. Imagine being stuck on a plane for hours at a time as it becomes more and more smoky, and passengers become drunk.
These days we have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to entertainment, and while our seatmate may smell bad, we won’t be breathing in any second hand smoke.
While the service was better during the 1950’s and 60’s, with more flight attendants, these days we can trust that our flight attendants can get us safely off the plane in the event of an emergency. Contrary to popular belief, flight attendants are not on flights to serve you dinner, but so that everyone can travel safely and disembark if the plane needs to make an emergency landing.
Sure, travel may have been more glamorous, but who really wants to get dressed up in their finest clothes just to sit still for hours at a time? And when it comes to flight times we have it a lot better than our grandparents, as new technology is constantly improving how fast we can get to our destination.
While travel can still be classed as expensive for many people, if you have a middle class salary, you can usually afford to travel these days. In the 1950’s and 60’s, travel was only for the wealthiest of people, and those who weren’t privileged would simply never get the opportunity to see the world.
Compare that to now, when people may need to work three jobs, but if they save for long enough they can get a one-way trip to Asia and spend a year lying on the beach and ticking items off their bucket lists.