This story from my father's journals shows that air travel technology may have changed a lot in the past 50 years, but travel delays are much the same. What I find most interesting was the complete lack of airport security, not even checking the passengers' tickets for boarding, and thus not realizing that they were trying to board more passengers than there were seats on the plane. Also that there was another plane, with crew, available to accommodate the supererogatory passengers.

June 30, 1967, complete with foreshadowing. He was travelling from Philadelphia to Albany, New York.

This morning as I left for work it was raining hard, and at the time looked as though I could have trouble flying home tonight, if there were no change in the weather. The rain stopped sometime during the morning, however, and by the time I caught a taxi to the airport about 6:30 this evening, the weather posed no problem. I walked to the 30th Street station to get the cab because it was not obvious I would get one in front of the GE building. Traffic was quite heavy as we started out toward the airport, but was not really bad as we neared the airport. Apparently most of the traffic was made up of people heading for the beach.

The airport terminal was crowded, however, and I had a 5 or 10 minute wait before I could get a seat in the coffee shop and a much longer wait before I got my dinner. The coffee shop at the Philadelphia Airport is not the place to go for a quick meal. I had plenty of time, however, as my plane did not leave until 8:20.

My flight to Kennedy Airport was on National Airlines, and was uneventful, although the plane was full. But at Kennedy I saw the biggest crowd I have ever seen around an airport. I chose to walk to the Mohawk counter, which is in the building diametrically opposite the National terminal, and I found the roads, and many of the parking lots, filled to overflowing. The traffic was bumper to bumper and crawling on most of the roads, and the parking lots near the National terminal were not only jammed, but overflowing, with cars parked on sidewalks, and double-parked in ways that blocked other cars from getting out. Things were not quite so bad near the Mohawk-Eastern building, but were still quite crowded. A good percentage of the crowd were servicemen—showing without a doubt the influence of the Vietnam war.

At the Mohawk counter I was informed that because of a radar failure at Kennedy, my Mohawk flight would leave from LaGuardia and I should go to Gate 1 or 2 at 10:15 where a bus would take me to LaGuardia. So I called Lynn and told her the story and suggested that she call Mohawk before she went to the airport to meet me. It was obvious that we would be quite late.

The bus for LaGuardia was boarded, not at 10:15, but at 10:45, and after wending its way by devious routes, it arrived at LaGuardia and we were deposited at the Mohawk terminal with no indication of what to do next. Before long, however, an announcement said that our flight was boarding at Gate 25. What it meant was that it would eventually board at Gate 25.

After some delay, we boarded the plane with absolutely no checking of our tickets. As the plane became more and more crowded, the stewardess asked people to move forward and sit down, and she was greeted with the news that there were no more seats. Eventually, the plane was emptied, and all the passengers were loaded in a more orderly fashion on two planes. I gather that the problem was that an earlier flight from LaGuardia had been cancelled, and its passengers put on my flight on a standby basis, but somewhere along the line, the stand-by status got lost. Fortunately, there were two planes and crews available.

The upshot of all this activity (or, at times, inactivity) was that I arrived at the Albany Airport at 1:30 a.m.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 6, 2024 at 10:30 am | Edit
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