Do you miss the ‘Good Ol Days’ of the airlines? Well, pay up!

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I am sick & tired of hearing people lament the passing of the “good ol’ days” of flying on airliners, when people would dress up and service was fantastic and the seats were roomier.

Sadly they must be having selective amnesia as not once do I hear any of them remember how expensive the tickets were back then!

The last Ansett logo (Source: Wikimedia)

The last Ansett logo
(Source: Wikimedia)

Back in the mid-90’s when Australians had a choice of Ansett or Qantas to fly with between Sydney & Melbourne (after Compass Airlines had collapsed), the cheapest fare between the two cities was $239 return. In today’s money, that’s about $450.

Today you’d only expect to pay that for a last-minute purchase where you had to pay for one of the top economy saver fares to get there & back. More typical fares are around $100 per person each way, or less if you book well in advance.

It was even worse in the 70’s & 80’s with people paying multiple hundreds of dollars each way per person if they wanted to fly. No wonder everyone was doing road trips, taking the bus or getting on trains for those interstate journeys.

Luxury Interior

Empire Flying Boat Luxury
(Photo from Australian Government Archives)

If you go back far enough, prices were even higher still. When the flying boats were travelling from London to Sydney in 10 days (instead of 40 days by steam ship), the fare was about 200 UK pounds. That was on par with the average annual wage of the time! Any surprise that it was first class all the way with plenty of room.

These days, the average annual wage in Australia is about $70,000. Imagine paying that for a trip to London?

Yes, the days of luxury, respect & romance are gone from the airlines and it’s largely our fault. We have chased the cheapest fare and the airlines have responded by cutting services & squeezing more people in, helping to keep some form of profit whilst offering super low prices.

Business class on a Virgin Australia 737 (Source: Virgin Australia web site)

Business class on a Virgin Australia 737
(Source: Virgin Australia web site)

If you want to return to the “good ol’ days” of airlines, how about you cough up the money and go business or first class? You’ll be paying about the same in today’s dollars as people used to pay for full economy back in the 70’s & 80’s but in return you’ll get space, comfort, service and quality.

What’s that? You have better uses for your money? Well then, go pay $60 each way for Melbourne to Sydney but don’t let me catch you bemoaning the super-tight seating, lack of amenities and the hygiene of the person sitting next to you.

Sardine class in the economy section of Jetstar's 787

Sardine class in the economy section of Jetstar’s 787

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