Flying for me started in my late teens. I used to go to Miami to visit friends who moved there from my neighborhood.
They had smoking sections on the plane. You could order a drink. There were pillows, earphones, and aisle seats. Flying was an occasion. People got dressed up to fly. I remember never flying without wearing a suit. You didn’t board in groups or sections, you just got on the damn plane. What went wrong?
Imagine that, you could get a seat in smoking and actually smoke a cigarette while in the air. Remarkable!
As time progressed, flyers started to look different. IT types were not around that much. Mostly because our man Al Gore took his time inventing the internet. There were technical types in the air but I think mostly sales engineers. At that point, the road warriors would take another 10 years to perfect the art of flying.
Did you hang in the airports in the 90’s? Remember seeing the IT guys on the shuttles to the rental car parking lots? They were pretty easy to spot. They were wearing khakis and polo shirts with the company logo. Women wore running shoes with their
business suits then changed to their spectators when they got where they were going. They carried laptop cases and water bottles were making their first appearance. If you were carrying water with you when Reagan was in office, there was something wrong with you. It just wasn’t done. Had Gordon Gecko known you were carrying a water bottle, he would never have taken your calls. Different story in the 90’s. The flying in comfort era was on.
I remember always travelling with the biggest single suitcase I could find. Inside was everything. Power strip, silverware, plastic drinking cup, plenty of room for blue jeans, sweatshirts, you name it. When I was on the go,
everything I liked went with me. People used to ask me, what’s with the bag? I would just reply, “I have to be on the road, I have to have my stuff with me. Why not? I was great. Also remember, I had the limousine picking me up and dropping me off at the house. I usually had the Lincoln Town Car from Budget and I stayed at very nice hotels with great service. What? Me worry?
Besides travelling heavy, I loved flying first class. Nothing better. My favorite was a cross country trip, say Atlanta to San Francisco on an L-1011. The seats were huge. The Friday night return flight was a treat. The wine and food were ample. I had a driver waiting for me. The Joker wanted to know where I got my toys. How I miss those days. Easy on. Big comfy seat. First class accommodations, great hotels, limos picking me up and dropping me off. Expense accounts. Those were the days.
I don’t have to tell you how all of this changed in the next decade. Metal detectors, stripping off your belt, shoes, watch, glasses, opening your laptop, standing in line, having the TSA look you in the eye wondering if you’re the one. What fun. Instead of easy on, it was get in line pal or you’re going nowhere. Imagine my shock the first time they took my man sized bottle of BRUT away from me without explaining the violation. Just poof, there goes the great smell of BRUT into the trash. No longer destined for my grill, the bottle hit the bottom of the trash can and the government just moved on. Next!
I flew a lot and it was more of a chore. I did have one moment that I still relish. I was in Miami. If you have flown out of Miami, you know the Israeli Air Force has nothing on the security procedures there. I found myself in that line. Waiting. I realized that standing next to me was the world famous hoochie – choochie girl herself. Charo! The world loves this woman and still today with gigs in Vegas and around the world, she easily maintains superstar status.
She was beautiful. She was wearing an outfit like no other. It was a custom made pants suit. She was wearing a newsboy hat. Her hair was long and flowing. She was dressed to the nines. In person, she lives up to her billing. What a stunning woman. Her clothes appeared to be handmade. Hand stitching jumps out at you. You know it when you see it.
For the next 30 minutes, Charo and I were in this together. She was very gracious. She had a warm smile and an easy laugh. We congaed the line together. We removed our shoes together, y’all. How cool is that? Charo knows everyone around her knows who she is. She was on her way to Puerto Rico. I was headed to Tampa. Once we got through the screening line we sat together and reassembled our looks. Once done we parted ways. Leave takings were heart-felt, I’m sure. We bade au revior and off we went. It was great. She is a great lady. Just a regular old every day bombshell. I am a fan for life.
Well see what can happen? Over the years, you could smoke if you had them, imbibe from a martini, have your BRUT 86’d or put your shoes and belt on while hanging with Charo. That’s why I loved to fly. L-1011s, Limos, huge suitcases and FF miles to die for.
Flying has changed. It is a pain now. Flying is no longer the fun it used to be. But through this entire change one thing will not. My aftershave…just now I carry it in a 1 oz. bottle sealed in a zip lock. Clearly labeled. If anyone gives me any crap I know what I am going to say…”C’mon man, Brut after shave lotion is extremely refreshing and revitalizing, I splash it on to reduce the burn that comes with the irritation of shaving. I apply it directly after shaving because I want breathability and flexibility. Brut tightens up the grill and it smells great. Where’s my L-1011?”
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