Gadabout in Style
Is it still possible to travel with a modicum of glamour?
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind us, we’ve been thinking a lot about travel. Traveling today is a colossal hassle: from the exorbitant fees for everything from in-flight meals or restroom access to the shrinking leg space. And that’s not to mention the hoops you have to jump through at security before you even get to board. It’s enough to make anyone yearn for the days when traveling was not just comfortable, it was glamorous.
Travel wasn’t always a means to an end; it used to be an important part of the experience. Transatlantic ocean liners took a week to get passengers from Europe to New York, and then Pullman sleeping cars took them another week to the West Coast. It’s hard to imagine that today we manage in one day what took people two weeks to do just sixty years ago… and months or even years before that. Because getting from Point A to Point B took so long, it was possible to actually relax and enjoy the journey.
People weren’t expected to be in so many places at once, so travel wasn’t that common. As a result, it was elevated to something really special. Passengers dressed up for the journey – even for the Greyhound bus – and the experience was designed to be elegant and refined. Heck, even the Gadabout came with two pairs of kid leather gloves in the glove compartment. Granted, it was more expensive to travel in the past, making it a lot less crowded I suppose, but service certainly seems to have been better back then. Fewer passengers meant stiff competition between carriers, so customer loyalty was crucial.
At the end of the day – especially one with a long lay-over or several gate changes before a cancelled flight – I think what we all want is a travel experience where we feel more human and less like cattle. The golden age of trouble-free, glamorous travel might have only existed in advertisements, but at least the cattle can dream, right?