Above: Martin 404 "Silver Falcon;" Below: Douglas Aircraft DC-3
As a small boy, starting at age five or so, I would sometimes go to visit my grandmother, who lived in Lafayette, Louisiana. Though only about sixty miles away from Baton Rouge, that was far enough to crank up short-hop airliners back in the early 1950's, and there were two carriers that made the run: Eastern and Delta.
Me and Wilbur and Orville were contemporaries ...
My mother would put me on the plane with a couple of comic books and by the time I was finished reading them, we'd be landing. Grandma Ruth would pick me up, I'd stay for a couple of weeks, and either fly home, or my folks would drive over and collect me.
The two aircraft I recall flying upon were the Douglas DC-3 and the Martin M404, aka "The Silver Falcon." I liked the second plane better because it was level when it sat on the ground and the DC-3 angled down from the front landing gear to the tail when parked.
Once, the stewardess came to my seat and asked me if I would like to go up front and help the pilot fly the plane. I recall being horrified at such a notion -- "Oh, no," I said, very grave. "I don't know how to fly a plane. We'd crash!"
I didn't understand why she and the other passengers thought that was so hilarious.
No metal detectors. Five-year-olds allowed to travel alone. Okay to go and visit the flight crew.
Not everything in our world has gotten better ...