I remember a flight from Kingston to New Zealand. Left the ship at 04:00 and spent a couple of hours waiting for the American Airlines plane to be fixed. Flew to Miami and spent a couple of hours queuing for immigration and had to run for our flight. By the time they got down to me in steerage there was no food left. On arrival at that so classy airport Los Angeles at 19:00 local time and there was nothing worth eating. On boarding the Air New Zealand flight for the 13 hour flight home the roast lamb dinner is up there with the best airline food I have ever tasted.
December '70 was my first commercial flight. I flew with the president of the company from Houston to LA and San Diego. First class on Braniff. I remember NY strip steaks served medium rare as ordered. It was down hill after that. My ex-wife worked for Avianca in Colombia. It was an excellent airline. When I lived in Colombia and traveled to Brazil, Cruzeiro Airlines was the best. It was uniclass. They had the “whiskey wagon” rolling up and down the aisle pouring drinks out of liter bottles. They sold duty free liquor and cigarettes . The food cart was a vast supply of thin sliced deli meats and cheeses with various breads sliced and stacked to your specs.
I’ve flown most of the majors over a good piece of the world. My vote for the best I’ve experienced was Sabena. Flying in and our of the various shitholes in West Africa, it was like a slice of heaven in the late '70s.
I’m 11 years retired and have flown 3 times domesticly since. I don’t miss it…
Well, I book with United and have a card that they don’t offer any longer (Was a Continental card with Club membership included). I can expense the fee, so that helps. Miles build up pretty well, and I use them for one or two domestic flights a year. Even on a year like this where I have only flown a couple of times for work, I still have about 4 round trip tickets worth of miles in my bank. Is United my favorite airline? Well, no. When they merged with Continental I damn near cried. I would go out of my way to avoid United before that. A side story about airline miles. . .when I was sailing, we flew Eastern most of the time for crew change (yeah, it was a few years ago). I came ashore and didn’t fly that much for work at ABS, and they or the shipping companies did all of the booking for the few flights I took for classes or ship riding jobs. When I left and started on my current career that can involve a lot of travel, I was on a Continental flight back from Mexico, so I filled out the Frequent Flier application. I got a call a few days later and they STILL were honoring my 10 + year old Eastern miles. . . .sweet. . .
Had to work it cmakin while it was out there for the taking. Left a few miles on the table, but made the most of it. I have not flown since retirement, but bride has. Glad you got those miles grandfathered in. Eastern actually gave me extra miles for putting out a trash can fire in Atlanta near the ticket desk. My present primary card with Chase is quite liberal with the miles, (I don’t carry a balance)If I do decide to fly. Great for gift cards or cash, just hate to fly anymore. One trip with Eastern on New Years Eve they were overbooked, crazy as it sounds, they waited until the last moment to board the last three passengers, Me, my mate, and crazy as fuck chief engineer/ex submariner. We went first class, and the engineer sat in front with the pilots. I “demonstrated” to the well waxed passengers the proper seat belt procedures. Many moons ago but a no shit story. Had to chat with his wife because she didn’t believe it why we were late. Always Eastern treated me well. If you bought day trip fares, they were good for night first class. Just going home was great, having a decent ride back home then was awesome.
Great stories. . . and I also have fond memories of flying Eastern, and having a cocktail or two (or a double double, if the need arose). I still fly when needed for the day job, and while I will drive some distance for my side hustle, especially if it is less that 1,200 miles, I will fly for those longer west coast trips or for a short one night event where driving doesn’t make sense.
The secret to airline food is being so tired/sauced-up that you never knew if they served it or not when you wake up before landing. I don’t know when “The Good 'Ol Days” of airline food ended because I was asleep/passed-out right through them.
When airlines were more amenable I was able to exchange my first class ticket [which was company paid ] for an economy class ticket and get cash credit on a flight at a later date. Those credits added up quickly and enabled me to take family to places we would not normally be able to afford.
You were lucky, don’t recall ever getting 1st class tickets from the company. Just hoped they bought day fare tickets on Eastern and flew later in the day.