Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photo: Wings From the Jet Age

From Mad Men to Pan Am, it seems like the '60s are becoming cool again. I can understand why; even though it was a highly unpleasant time for vast swathes of society, the age also carried with it a transformative, optimistic culture that is dearly, sorely needed in this overcast twenty-first century. Looking back, it's easy to see the Jet Age as a time that was polished, refined, and poised on the edge of everything: a time when everything was possible.

The Boeing 707 was the jet of the Jet Age. It was on such a jet that my grandfather and immediate family first came to Canada in that long, hot summer of 1969. They flew BOAC, the British Overseas Airways Corporation, one of two airlines that was merged to form British Airways in 1974. We still have the original paper ticket from that flight forty-two years ago, so I can say that as of July 15, 1969, a round-trip flight from Manchester to Toronto - with a stopover in Montreal on both legs - cost $340.00; that works out to $2,092.04 in 2011 dollars. Today, the same round-trip ticket costs $1,113; of course, that's without any taxes, and it's also for one person. I guess the Jet Age may have been a bit cheaper after all.

Photographed is a BOAC 707 on the ground at Toronto International Airport on August 18, 1969.

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