There was a time in the not so far history of commercial flying when an opportunity to take to the skies meant dressing up for the occasion.
Everything about taking a flight was geared towards an occasion, from the exquisite dress code observed by passengers, the flawlessly groomed crew, to the properly laid out dining experience — which was several courses, by the way.
Caviar, lobster, champagne and cigars formed part of the inflight menu, and there was proper cutlery, glassware and chinaware for onboard service.
My weekly Frequent Flyer column was done and dusted until the incident with United Airlines happened on Sunday April 9, and my editor requested a comment.
There was global outrage over the video of a United Airlines customer being dragged out of his seat screaming and being left injured and bloody at the Philadelphia International Airport.
The actions of the airline’s security were described as “unfathomable,” “barbaric,” “inhumane,” “inexplicable,” and some other unprintable words.
My invitation for the St Patrick’s Day celebration came with a concise instruction — wear something green.
It didn’t say anything about being prepared for green food, green beer and pot-still Irish whiskey. The invite revealed very little about the evening ahead, which I found was filled with insights into Irish culture and lifestyles.
The thing about having everything Irish in one room is that sooner rather than later aviation talk will come up. The Irish consider themselves the godfathers of aviation. And who can hold that against them?
Whether by coincidence or suitable geo-location, Shannon Airport in Ireland was the key entry and exit point for all transatlantic flights back in the day.
The world’s first duty free shop was established at the same airport in 1947, and Ireland boasts of some of the oldest, largest and most successful airlines in Europe, like Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Norwegian Air International (yes, Norwegian Air is Irish).