And at the Opposite End of the Great Airplane Spectrum …
Continuing from yesterday’s post, I was thinking today about my very first plane ride. I was probably 7 or 8 at the time. It was an American Airlines flight and I was with my father. I don’t think there was any specific purpose … my dad just wanted to take me on a plane ride.
We took off from what is now Bradley International, serving both Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. And we landed at Brainard Field, which was the Hartford airport back then and is, I think, limited to private aircraft now. I don’t think the flight lasted any longer that 15 minutes, but it was long enough for me to be airsick. And I remember the plane as being a DC-3.
My only other experience with that venerable airplane was back around 1970. I was waiting in the Kingston, Jamaica, airport for a Cayman Airways flight to Georgetown on Grand Cayman island. The flight was supposed to be a BAC-111 jet, but it was a DC-3 that came taxiing up to the gate. That change of aircraft meant the flight was going to be something like an hour and a half instead of 30 minutes and I guess I groaned aloud. An elderly Jamaican gentleman sitting next to me laughed and said, “Don’ worry, mon! Dey may be old, but dey never fall down.”
I was traveling into the Caribbean with some frequency in those days and the airline I most often used was BWIA. That stood for British West Indian Airways, but it was affectionately referred to as BeeWee by the locals. Every airline has its detractors, of course, and there were those who claimed that the initials really stood for But Will It Arrive?
Nevermind. The fact is the Cayman Islands are one of the great spots anywhere in the world for SCUBA and snorkeling, with water so clear you get the sensation you might fall when you paddle over a reef and move out over deep water. Absolutely worth a visit.