Whenever somebody gets nostalgic about the past, I get
suspicious. In the eigth century BC, Hesiod was already moaning
about how things aint like they used to be.
The Wall Street Journal has a great article about how nostalgic people get
for the way air travel used to be in the 1950s -- with more leg
room, less hassle and more romance.
Piffle. Compard with today, it was expensive, dangerous and
The piston-driven planes of those
days, like the Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-7, were noisy
and often ferociously bumpy. They couldn't fly over storms and
turbulence the way jet-powered airplanes can. Engine failures were
more frequent. So were crashes. And the cost of a ticket was
affordable for only an elite few.
The 1960s were no picnic either:
In one month alone-January
1969-eight airliners were hijacked to Cuba... The fatal accident
rate per departure in 1969 was 13 times higher than in
Here's the Journal's remarkable table comparing different eras