Tuesday, 26 January 2016
In fact I've done it for 40 years. The journey between Stornoway and Glasgow used to be quite a pleasant affair. Air travel was back 'in those days'. Now it's a trial beset by security checks and long periods hanging around because of the time needed to ensure that one is at the departure gate in good time having negotiated all the obstacles to ensure secure travel.
When I first came to Stornoway in the '70s it was a case of turning up at the airport with your ticket some time before the plane's door had been closed (and for some people after it had been closed), having a chat to the British Airways staff and enjoying the trip with it's appropriate refreshments on the hour-long journey. On one occasion I was even driven out onto the taxiway in a police car as the plane (a Loganair Twin Otter) delayed its take-off.
Stornoway airport was little more than a few portacabins in those heady days. I've tried to find some photographs on the internet of the airport in the '70s but so far without success. I wonder if I ever took any. Since I wrote that I have found this on the internet but I cannot find the copyright holder so if I'm infringing a copyright please let me know and I'll either acknowledge it or remove the photo. The picture is older than the '70s but the building is the same as it was when I came to the Island. The buildings behind the terminal building were Meteorological Office buildings. Stornoway Airport was also home to an RAF station.
The planes used were Vickers Viscounts and they were really good to fly in.
On one occasion the Captain (I can even remember his name) decided that it was such a beautiful summer day he would show us Fingal's Cave and took the plane right down to give us all a good look. He did issue the safety warning though for "those on the starboard side - that is the right hand side - not to all rush over to the port side to have a look or we'd tip the plane over." I suspect that was 'unacceptable' behaviour 35 years ago but I hate to think what the consequences would be these days. Anyway we all enjoyed it.
I can recall when 'security' was first introduced and bags were searched for the first time. Usually for those who were regular travellers well known to the staff the security went something like "Good morning Mr Edwards. Off to Glasgow again? On you go." The idea of peering into one's briefcase just didn't enter into it. We knew many of the pilots and the cabin staff too.
Ah those were the days my friend. We thought they'd never end. But they did. Oh how they did.
Now Stornoway has a superb airport with security greater than I've encountered anywhere else in the world (including LA!) and the flying experience is just something to be endured.
I found this on the internet too but I'm assuming my brother will allow me to use it!