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Planete d'avion - Photos et graphiques - Images libres de droits
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How it really was to soar in the golden age of travel.
Thinking of the golden age of flying - the glorious years of Pan Am and Concorde in the 1950' and 1960', before flying became cheaper with the advent of the jump plane - we envision a colourful, lush age in which every convenience and every demand is met. Could have taken you a month's pay to take a quick plane ride.
Guillaume de Syon, Pennsylvania Albright College lecturer and aerospace historian. Though there were many advantages to flight in the fifties and sixties, says de Syon, de Syon, realities were far different than one might have expected. Once you know what it was like to fly in the so-called Golden Age, you may want to take a trip with easeJet.
But the first big difference between the Golden Age of Aviation and today's aviation was that it was much more costly. Air traffic is relatively inexpensive in the twenty-first-century but in the fifties you could have expected to be paying 40% or more for the same ticket you buy today. For example, a ticket with TWA in 1955 from Chicago to Phoenix costs $138 return.
However, that doesn't tell the whole tale, because the mean wage in the United States is higher than in the fifties. This return ticket between Chicago and Phoenix would today costs the ordinary citizen slightly more than 1% of his annual revenue. By comparison, the avarage man in the fifties would be paying up to 5% of his annual wage for a flight opportunity.
So, what did you get for buying five tickets for your plane ticket? Five-fold greater chances of being shot than jumped in a plane today. "From a statistical point of view, there were many more plane and air accident fatalities in the Golden Age of flying," says de Syon.
Let's think of a case of a typical air accident in which an aircraft hit a spot full of turbulences and fell 500 hundred ft deep. Today it would be uncommon for such an event to do more than frighten humans, but 60 years ago, due to lower cab ceiling and lower quality safety belts, it could wring your throat.
During the Golden Age of Flying there were glazed partitions separating the first grade from the second. Those partitions were good looking but could break and sprinkle the passenger in case of an accident or turbulences. Going to the toilet in a 1950s plane could even be deadly, as the interior of the plane was not conceived with security in view.
"Humans were frightened to flee in the 50s for good reason," says de Syon. When you' re sick of looking out the windows, it' naturally tedious to fly: you' re locked in a booming metallic pipe for hour s-and you' re supposed to just be sitting there and stare at the back of the chair in front of you forever.
Those diversions were not available in the Golden Age of Flying. In-vehicle films did not become widespread until the mid-1960s, and at a point when all mobile audio came over the air, it was not even possible to connect a couple of earphones and hear live airplay until 1985.
So, what did they do instead? "In the 1950', when you got on a plane, you were given a postcard with a photo of the plane or the food that was to be served," says de Syon. It was a custom at that point to use your flying hours to describe your flying to those you know on the floor.
If you are a chained cigarette user, and the notion of being capped in a passive fume tank seems to be a great way to stay eight consecutive hour, you would probably find the Golden Age of Flight aviation quite crude. Indeed, aircraft passengers were only permitted to breathe cigarettes on the floor because airline companies feared that cigarette consumption could cause fuel vapours to go off.
Folks only had drinks to talk to each other. That' terrible enough, but there was also a great deal of alcoholics at 30,000 foot in the fifties and sixties. Flying back then was to have as much free alcohol as possible, and folks were inclined to just enjoy drinking to entertain themselves.
"Memories that have been made during the Golden Age of Flying are full of vivid reports of drunk passengers," says de Syon. "You know, folks just water themselves a little bit of shot for shot. "Getting drunk was just one way to get through it. However, this does not mean that humans have not pulled out all the other registers of drunk behaviour, such as tripping into the hallway, harassing flight attendants, loud chanting and, of course, the usual sickness.
There is another disagreeable side to flying in the fifties and sixties that tends to be neglected. "It is important, I think, to point out that only whites really flown in the Golden Age of Flying," says de Syon. Nearly twice as much was given to the ordinary whiteman, and since airfare was such a luxurious option, few minority could affordable it.
"When you saw a dark man at an airfield during the Golden Age of flying, he was almost definitely a carrier and not a passenger," says de Syon. If you could buy a ticket as a minor, there was a good possibility that you would not be able to board the same aircraft as those of your fellow travellers.
Nothing can be said about it, that in the Golden Age of Aviation air travel was a completely bad thing. Today there were many genuine pleasures and conveniences of aviation that we have beaten. On the one hand, the safety of air carriers during the Golden Age of Aviation did not just fail to survive. In comparison to today, when carriers suggest arriving at the airports three hour in advance to make sure you get your plane, most Golden Age carriers suggest that you should have made your trip even if you arrived 30min before.
A golden age of flight was an age of magnificent designs. Indeed, today in terms of space it is very similar to industry, says de Syon. The Golden Age of Flight was also an age of precious designs, a period in which the flight adventure - from the look of the cabins to your stewardess's uniforms to cutlery - was presented by some of the world's best female fashion designer.