I grew up with a Mother who used to plan her “travelling outfit” anytime she was going abroad, on an airplane. Watching her carefully construct her, always stylish, ensemble caused the rest of the family much amusement.
I thought of my Mum and her travelling outfits earlier this week when flying to San Diego in advance of Pow Wow (the International Travel Conference that Adrian and I are attending). As I boarded my flight, I realised that I was surrounded by a plane full of passengers who, unlike my old Mum, clearly hadn’t given a minutes thought as to what to wear. Ill fitting jeans, hoodies and trainers seemed to be the uniform of everyone – bar the stewards and stewardesses – on my BA flight. They looked, if I may so, a sight.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not suggesting that modern travellers follow in my Mother’s footsteps. Who has the time? Plus getting on a plane was for Mum -like Christmas, champagne, and using the good China – a rare occasion and thus a special one, worth dressing up for. And, of course, back in her day, flying was synonymous with Pan Am glam.
Fast forward 20 years and plane travel – from the nightmare that is airport security queues and proceedures (ladies refrain from wearing necklaces, earrings et al) to the cramped flying conditions – is no longer an experience to be cherished.
Nonetheless just because flying abroad in 2012 is not quite the glamorous dream of international travel we had in our childhood, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and channel Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor. Tracksuit bottoms and hoodies do have their place. In a gym, not on a plane.