A recent article in The Advocate concerning United Airlines serving inflight meals only on flights of 900 or more miles brought back memories of earlier days when airlines actually catered to their passengers.
In the early 1960s, we lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I traveled frequently to Oklahoma City, a distance of 100 miles.
To accommodate commuters, American Airlines had a 5:30 p.m. flight from the state capital to Tulsa. The airplane was a Convair — a 44-passenger, twin-engine airliner commonly used in those days. It carried two stewardesses. The airplane was always full to capacity. The remarkable thing was that the airline served a full meal on the 35-minute flight.
When the cabin door closed in Oklahoma City, the stewardesses would kick off their shoes and start their routine — one young lady in the galley, the other in the aisle.
As the Convair started its climb to altitude, meals were served. There was no chit-chat between the server and the passengers; it was all business. First-time passengers probably were amazed at the service. Regulars knew what to expect and asked for nothing extra, knowing the pressure the stewardesses were under.
When the airplane arrived in Tulsa, the last of the trays were picked up as the airplane taxied to the gate. The passengers always gave the stewardesses a round of applause.
Joe F. Cannon