Ed Driscoll

And You Thought Flying Today was a Grim Slog


Click on screen cap to watch video at the Star-Tribune’s Website.

At the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, James Lileks has a 10-minute video interview with author Jack El-Hai regarding his new book, Non-Stop, A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines, which I’m highlighting, if only for the striking image early on in the video, and captured above. You thought taking off your shoes at the TSA line sucks? Well yeah, it does. But how would you like to be a harried businessman, who needed to get somewhere fast enough in the 1930s that you’re willing to eschew the nice, safe, reliable train, and hop onto a DC-3-sized aircraft…and don an oxygen mask for a large portion of the flight? As the grim faces of the men in the above illustrate, that had to be one long, nervous white-knuckle flight, knowing that blackouts and potential death are just a slip of the oxygen mask away.

On the other hand, I hope no modern cost-conscious airline CEO sees the above photo and says at the next board meeting, “Pressurized cabins…do our passengers really need them, gentlemen?”

Watch the whole thing; it’s a fun video for anyone interested in American aviation from the 1920s through the 1970s.