The glamour days of flying are over. It is more like preparing for a trip to hades.
First, you must present your papers. Then all personal belongings are all taken away from you – purse, laptop, shoes, jacket, billfold, cell phone, magazine, change, teddy bear, keys, cap – and placed in an institutional bin and conveyed to inspection via x-ray. Depending on the airport, you will be directed to go through a metal detector or advanced imaging technology which means that someone will see an image of your body that reveals every bulge, sag and curve of your naked image. It is all very anonymous, we are told. If you set off the metal detector, you will have to undergo a pat down or you may be randomly chosen for a pat down. You pray that you are spared the humiliation of setting off the metal detector and slowing down the line. Once you are cleared, you and the other refugees scramble to collect your stuff, put your shoes and jacket back on and regain your dignity. All of this is carefully choreographed by the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
Maybe I’ve watched too many classic black and white movies from the 1940s, but it seems that flying was more civilized back then. In the airport scenes the men wore a coat and tie; the women chose to travel in tailored dresses or smartly cut suits and hats and sexy high-heeled pumps. (Think Joan Crawford style.) Passengers walked openly from the terminal to the waiting plane with its propellers revving up in anticipation of the long flight. Yes, it was Hollywood’s version of flying, but it is still a nice illusion in black and white.
Who can forget that final scene in Casablanca at the airport? It’s dark. Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is dressed for travel in a skirt, jacket, white blouse and hat that reflect the uncertainty and tension of the departure. Her eyes are brimmed with tears. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) is noble in his overcoat and fedora as he puts principle above love and makes sure she boards the plane with her husband, Victor (Paul Henreid). When the plane is safely airborne, he and Captain Renault(Claude Rains ) walk away into the night. Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris – in black and white, of course.I realize the TSA and the government only want to keep us safe, and I appreciate that. For my next trip I think I WILL fly…well, maybe another time.