Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bon Voyage

No more dreams of flying in space with those oval windows that reflected the blue skies and passing grey clouds in the rarefied air where even eagles dare not zoom. No more sexy uber cool flight attendants who flash their cleavage to fuel your fantasies as they bend to carry your jackets into the galley.
It wasn’t such a long time ago when flying was restricted to the privileged few who used to make strategic trips all over the globe and country. There was an air of casual luxury that pervaded airports like Bombay, London, Paris, New York and Belgium, where businessmen, senior executives, sportsmen, bureaucrats and wealthy aristocrats used to coast around lazily before boarding the flights. Of course some of them from the elite class had an air of permanent disdain on their faces when rubbing shoulders with some non entities flying on company accounts. Self intoxicated with their own sense of self importance who looked down disdainfully on the passengers in economy class scrambling when no assigned seating was available. However this did not damp the spirits of the old economy aristocrats, businessmen or professionals who within their stratum managed to develop genuine relationships forged during a flight. As a new entrant to this elite club I used to be nervous in those early days and many a time misplaced my baggage tags in the process. The petite stewardesses would go through the rituals of pleasing all the passengers before offering them aperitifs. The big cheese balls would discuss stocks, vacations in exotic locales, golf handicaps and exchange visiting cards as part of the simulated cabin gossip during the flight.

With the advent of the new millennium and introduction of low cost no frills carriers, all this has become an emblem of the past the big fat boom and cattle class has relegated these to the recesses as a sad and shriveled memory. Now the airlines turns down the cabin lights to enhance the appearance of the air-hostesses, the Airport resembles a bus station and security has turned the flights of fantasy into a nightmare.

Passengers about to embark/disembark at the Airports have to go through various drills and checks; surrender of suitcases/valises, coats, wallets, credit cards, rings cell phones pens,: confiscation of scissors, knives nail cutters matchboxes, toothpicks pickles, gels/ shaving lotions, perfumes any sort of fluids (thank god they don’t strain your body fluids), milk, (lactating mammary glands) are permitted then comes the scans, body scans, retina scans, anal scans etc.Sometimes I wonder whether we are entering an aircraft or prison. Happy landings.