How Things Have Changed

I received this email today from Continental Airlines congratulating me on my 19 years as a One-Pass member.


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been flying around the world for that long.  And actually, Continental was not the first airline I flew.  I started with United about 22 years ago when I lived a few miles from O’Hare in Chicago.  Just a few things have changed in the past 22 years 🙂

  • The Transportation Security Administration did not exist.
  • I carried on full-size containers of shampoo, hairspray and toothpaste.
  • I wore my shoes and jacket through security.
  • I did not have to remove my laptop from my bag.  Laptops didn’t exist yet! 
  • Cell phones did not have to be turned off in-flight, as they did not exist yet either!
  • I never left home without my AT&T calling card. 
  • I traveled with my own hair dryer as it was common for hotels to not provide them.  I even had (actually still have) a portable iron for hotels that didn’t have these either. 
  • I brought rollers for my hair (long gone are the days of daily one-hour hair routines!)
  • I packed enough clothes and shoes for twice as many days as I needed (and my bag usually got labeled with a ‘Heavy’ tag).
  • I could arrive at the airport 15 minutes before my flight and get my bag checked in time.
  • I could buy an airline ticket with just my first initial, last name so the ticket looked genderless.  If I couldn’t make the trip, a co-worker would use my ticket.
  • Paper tickets were used for all flights and came from a travel agent or an airline ticket office. 
  • Bags were checked for free and airline change fees were very low. 
  • Back-to-back tickets were commonly used to get lower fares and meet the Saturday-overnight stay requirement.

While the new rules are a lot more restrictive than my early travel years, I’ve gotten a whole lot smarter in the areas that I can control.  See for articles on today’s pack-and-go lifestyle.  Even with all of the new travel rules, most things have changed for the better.   

And speaking of things getting better, I’m going to pour a glass of California Red and sit and wonder how the years have flown by so fast . . .


  1. I used to travel with a boss whose plan was to arrive at the airport about the time the flight was scheduled to leave. Before they started tracking on-time performance, that generally worked out OK, since the flights were always late, and gate agents had no policy that you had to be there xx time before the flight. And of course the security lines were a lot faster then, too!
    Now I try to get there 1.5 to 2 hours in advance at big airports, just in case I find one of those line-ups that goes on forever!

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