Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vintage Airline Travel Etiquette

 
"Contrary to general belief, any size or amount of baggage may be transported by flagships of airlines.  With his ticket, the passenger is allowed transportation of forty pounds of baggage." 1940 

Travel In The Sky


Come as you are and do as you please! That's the rule aboard the big, comfortable, fast airliners that fly the airways of the United States.

The casual note predominates. Formality is left behind on the ground when you soar into the skies. No special wardrobe is required for air passengers, and for the best of reasons: flights are so brief. It is only overnight from Atlantic to Pacific on the big mainliners.

Reservations 

"Who's going to Atlantic City?"
It is so easy for the public to accept this fast, luxurious service, that a passenger "can't go wrong." Just about all he has to do on his own is pick up the telephone and tell any airline agent that he wants to make a reservation. The employees to do the rest and assume complete responsibility for getting the passenger to his destination in the quickest, most convenient manner known to the transportation world.

Baggage


In connection with the added conveniences of travel by air, the passenger meets a few customs not found in other methods of transportation.

One of them is the matter of baggage. Contrary to general belief, any size or amount of baggage may be transported by flagships of airlines.  With his ticket, the passenger is allowed transportation of forty pounds of baggage. This is about the weight of a large suitcase or bag filled to capacity. Since such flights as those between New York and Washington are made in slightly more than an hour, the passenger does not need as much baggage as he would for slower means of travel.

For example, many passengers now commute in a single day between New York, Chicago and other distant places, and therefore do not take any baggage.

Airline passengers check their baggage at the ticket counter at the place of departure, and it is returned to them at their destinations. Those making overnight flights are given attractive "overnight kits" for toilet articles and other things needed during the trip.

Overnight Flights


On overnight flights, Flagship "skysleepers" provide large, comfortable berths.  Aboard such a ship's the passenger may enjoy the luxury of breakfast in bed, as well as the conveniences of electric shaving and separate dressing rooms for men and women.

Toward the front of the "skysleeper" is the "skyroom," where passengers meet chat, play cards, or read late until they are ready to turn in for a good night's rest.

Introducing the Stewardess  

"The stewardess does not serve liquors, and passengers are urged not to "have a cocktail" before going aboard."
The stewardess offers late "snacks" as well as between-meal refreshments.

Complimentary stewardess service aboard all ships of American Airlines includes full-course meals, the latest newspapers and magazines, cigarettes, writing material and stamps, blanks for wires.  Taking advantage of this service, many passengers boarding early-morning flagships wait until they are aloft to have breakfast.

The stewardess does not serve liquors, and passengers are urged not to "have a cocktail" before going aboard.

The stewardess knows her passenger's name and uses it in addressing him. Her name is posted in the flagship, so the passenger may call her by name, if he wishes. She stops to chat with the passenger, points out places of interest along the route, and answers questions concerning air transportation.

The Captain 

Flight crews of airlines are friendly and interested in doing all they can to ensure a pleasant flight.
The Captain of the flagship may come back into the cabin to see that everyone is enjoying the flight. He sends back to those aboard "Up-to-the-minute flight reports" to keep passengers posted on flight conditions and where they are at the moment.

In a word, flight crews of airlines are friendly and interested in doing all they can to ensure a pleasant flight.

Children

Circa 1930: Miss Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess after convincing Boeing Air Transport that female nurses on board each plane would be a relief to nervous airline passengers.
Mothers with children find the stewardess especially helpful. She is a registered nurse and takes care of the baby while the mother rests. If the airline is notified in advance, the baby's formula will be on hand at feeding time en route.

Children traveling without parents receive special attention and arrive at their destination after a pleasant trip with their new friend, the stewardess.

Manners  

"And just think Martha, we can chew gum too!"  Airline meals (also known as “in-flight meals") were started by United Airlines in late 1936 to early 1937.  Food consultant Donald F. Magarrell established the airline industry’s first flight kitchen in Oakland, California. Before that time, simple meals, like sandwiches and fruit, were being served by 1935. 
Ordinary rules of courtesy and politeness prevail, of course, as they do anywhere that people of standards gather. It is not correct, of course, to move around and be a nuisance, introducing yourself to fellow passengers, talking to them whether they appear to want it or not.

It is entirely correct to fall into conversation with a seat-mate, or with the man across the aisle, or with the stewardess. Normal, natural questions and comments about the flight, the speed, the altitude, scenic wonders far below on the ground, spectacular sky effects of clouds or sunsets, the amazing features of air transportation -- all these things are as proper to open conversation with as similar comments on shipboard. And long-established custom have outlined unwritten rules of conduct aboard ship.

Two minor items are somewhat unusual. Usually gum-chewing is frowned upon and yawning is customarily not encouraged. Aboard a big passenger plane, both of these are correct. Just as a high-speed elevator in a tall skyscraper sometimes affects a person's ears, giving a "tightening" effect, so too, a board a plane, the variation in atmospheric pressure with a change in altitude causes the same mild sensation. To many people it is not unpleasant at all. The gum-chewing and yawning however, tend to relieve the feeling and both are encouraged on all airlines.

The Flying Wardrobe

Stewardesses have a responsibility to all passengers onboard.
It is important to stress that wardrobe worries do not exist when you travel by airliner. Warm, heavy clothes are not needed because the interior of the passenger cabin is held to a constant, comfortable temperature, in the winter. In hot weather, air conditioning equipment keeps the cabins cool and comfortable so again special clothing worries need not beset you.

The passenger who starts out on a trip by air need give thought only to his destination, his length of time away from home, or perhaps his other modes of travel if his trip will require some form of surface transportation.

Air-wise passengers also know that light colored clothes may be worn with complete security. Aboard a plane there is no dirt to blacken garments.

Table Manners

Firmly fixed habits are holding back a general public acceptance of this renaissance of the old-fashioned mode.
Don F. Magarrell, director of passenger service for United Air Lines, recently contributed greater liberty to passengers on United's planes. He ruled it was perfectly correct to tuck a napkin into one's collar while eating meals served on all mainliners. Firmly fixed habits are holding back a general public acceptance of this renaissance of the old-fashioned mode, fashionable in grandfather's day, but some bolder spirits are taking advantage of Mr. Magarrell's edict and pronounce it an excellent move.



From The New American Etiquette by Ms. Lily Haxworth Wallace