Fed-up in the air

The dramatic exit by a fed-up US airline attendant reminds us just how miserable travel has become since corporate raiders began buying up airlines, slashing salaries and fares, and cutting amenities.

The men came in dark suits, striped ties, white shirts. The women wore suits too – with floppy ties and high-collared blouses, or wide-legged pants and tunic tops. Even the children dressed up. Little girls in party clothes, boys in sherbet-coloured polo shirts and khaki pants. This was 1978, when flying was still an occasion, a special grand event that took planning and care. I worked as a TWA flight attendant then. I stood in my Ralph Lauren uniform at the boarding door and smiled at the passengers through lips coated with lipstick that perfectly matched the stripe on my jacket. Mostly, the passengers smiled back.

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