How many of you remember these kinds of things in First Class or even Business Class on US and Foreign Air Carrier long haul flights:
As wild as it may sound anadyr I have experience some of what you just wrote down and most of it prior to famous CO/UA thing.
1. Still do get a white linen napkin with the hole in it, just not starched and standing tall like we did in our fatigues for a muster.
5. Happens quite often actually, but now they get to pull the fire alarm bell test the TCAS system.
6. Yep, in EWR they International Flight Service Manager told us before we landed the got a message from the flight deck that a Concierge would be meeting us at the door of the airplane to escort us through Customs/Immigration and take us from Terminal B to or connecting flight in Terminal C, why I still have no idea and the connection was not even close. But we had to make a detour after I told her the President's Club was where we were actually going and she could leave us there. Still a blast from the good old' days.
7. Southwest is famous for those kind of things today. My last piece of humor was aboard a real UA airplane and with a real UA crew (not CO) going to PHL, when the Flight Attendant asked if I would like to join them for breakfast and I told her no thank you, she cracked me up by saying "oh I see you've had previous dining experiences with us" and moved to ask my seatmate the same!
7. Or after a very hard landing having the Flight Attendant welcome you to *** and remind everyone to carefully open the overhead bins because he was certain things shifted after that amazing landing.
8. Only if they know you from previous flights with them or they are just an extremely happy employee who is lucky to have a job in a field they dearly love.
Back in the early 80s I made my second international business trip to Taiwan for start-up of a chlorination system at a new water treatment plant. When I arrived they were no where near ready, so I called home and asked the travel agent (remember those) to get me back home ASAP. I ended up on a Singapore Air Business Class flight the next morning. When we landed in Narita and I stepped off the plane there was a small Japanese woman hold a sign with my name. She RUSHED me to a gate that was about 30 minutes away and then I sat for 6 hours waiting for my flight. The next leg landed in Honolulu and I learned how customs agent can be suspicious of people with quick international turnarounds.
I have mentioned in pasts posts that I flew the MRY/SFO legs so many times I always had the Shakespeare seat (2B), and the attendants often sat down next to me to share family photos. One time, and can't recall the lady's name, she was very proud of having had some so-called Boudoir Photos taken, and showed them to me, then realized that the guys in row 3 of First Class were standing there enjoying them too. Needless to say, we never spoke of this again or shared pictues.
I'm thinking IAH flyer's experiences are much the same as mine. As I am still flying an obscene amount of miles, mostly in first class, I enjoy even today many of the things you mentioned as ancient history. My experiences are on American Airlines where I am both Exec Platinum and Concierge Key (a very exclusive group handpicked by management). I guess i am just lucky.
Thanks for bringing back fond memories. This reminds me of my early first class travel experiences. I spent the first ten years of my career working in R&D for a large soap company located in the Queen City. Our travel policy allowed us to travel first class for trips 3 hours or more. I fondly recall my trips through Chicago to LAX on the 747 United flight that continued to Honolulu. The first class meal included great wine, shrimp cocktail, a filet, and a fabulous hot fudge Sunday. Since I was usually managing 2 shifts of a plant startup while in LA, these were the best meals I would experience during my trip.
I think we were very fortunate to have experienced the glory days of travel, prior to mergers and accountants running airlines and hotel loyalty programs.
It is interesting because I was working on Wondra at the time and your company was our primary competitor. Wondra was a great product with mediocre positioning and marketing. Even highly respected companies needed both good marketing and R&D for successful new products and growth.
Marriott always provided excellent 'products' in the past (including the innovative Courtyard hotels) and grew their brands by recognizing the value of rewarding loyalty. Unfortunately, the role of marketing in major corporations today is focused more on enhancing margins, so the recognition of the value of loyal consumers has disappeared. The result is most purchasing decisions are being driven by price and convenience and corporations lose in the long term.
Concierge Key?! It really does exist!!
Nah, I'm kidding. I've seen photos of the cards online. But, what are the benefits of this exclusive status? From what I gather, it doesn't seem like many AA employees even know what it means.
I've never flown premium class, but look forward to experiencing it for the first time this year on AA.
While the experience may no longer be the same, I hear airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines offer stellar service. Some things may have gone away as you have mentioned, but others amenities have replaced them, such as lie flat bed seats or even suite in the sky with huge home TV size EFI displays and onboard WiFi
Of course one luxury I'll never get to experience is a flight on Concorde... has anyone ever had the privilege of flying at twice the speed of sound?
I have an acquaintance (as opposed to a friend) who has a 767 modified to hold only ten passengers and a bevy of pilots on call. In the good old days of the Concorde, he'd fly to NY and then have a taxi clearance to get near the bird, stroll off his 767 and enter the Concorde. Normally given the small size of that cabins he would buy four seats so that he'd have an empty row behind him. Ah yes the rich are certainly different.
And no I have never had the pleasure of Concorde.
While I never got the chance to fly on the Concorde I did see it land and depart from IAH on an Air France charter, it was so loud some 200 yards from departure runway. But having been inside the Concorde at the Museum of Flight at BFI the cabin cross section doesn't appear much wider than the cabin of a CRJ7 so you were pretty much crammed into the plane even though it was only for a few short hours.