These behemoths are so familiar that it is hard to imagine how innovative they were when first released in the 1970’s. To reflect that they are now 50-year old technology is equally surprising. These icons of the skies heralded the boom time of flying where “normal people” could now experience intercontinental flight, and led to flights to far flung destinations like the USA and Australia now being possible.
Soon swarms of aircraft were criss-crossing the skies, and low cost flights became the norm, with people spending more on taxis to the airport than for the actual flight. From enchanted spaces of possibilities airports became the new normal, pragmatic and utilitarian. Finally, becoming like bus stations mere hubs of fast moving traffic.
The iconic names of travel, Pan-Am, BOAC, faded away and now the original “jumbo jet” is being removed from the skies, to be replaced with more efficient twin jets rather than the four engine jets of childhood travel. There probably never was a “golden era” of travel. But if there had been, then surely it now has gone.