there was a brief moment in time, just as air travel became available to the masses when it was the whole concept of comfort seemed lost.
you can get your choice of meals in economy on most transatlantic flights but there was a point when travelling economy was very reminiscent of travelling charter or these days any flight of four hours or less on a domestic carrier – pretty much, many hours in a cramped seat with no food.
my flight to jamaica was relatively painless. just over 5 hours including two stops to get here from trinidad. there was a time when that flight used to be the milk run of the caribbean.
the flight always left at 7am for as long as i could remember, but we would stop in barbados, antigua, st. martin and puerto rico arriving in jamaica close to 2 or 3pm. and in those days BWIA stood for But When It Arrives. so you could expect all manner of delays, this would be much of problem seeing that jamaica was our final destination except we were travelling to the other side of the island and because my mother has never know the concept of travelling light we would have enough luggage for six months.
arriving in kingston on time usually meant, collecting our luggage and racing to another airline counter and checking in to catch our connecting flight. when bwee was spectacularly late and we`d missed the last connecting flight, we`d trek out to tinson pen airport [a term i use loosely, more like air strip] and charter a light air craft to fly us to montego bay.
there was always an edge of hysteria in taking these flights, if memory serves we did it twice. i would be put on the plane, then the luggage, then my mother, then we`d get off so they could reorganise the luggage and then we`d get back on. this would continue for a while until the pilot was satisfied with the weight balance and off we would go tearing down to the runway, using every inch to get this tiny little plane into the air.
this is where the fun begun, we would have to fly over the cockpit country of jamaica and the plane wasn`t big enough to go over the blue mountains we would have to go through pretty much. every little gust coming off the mountain would buffet the plane, every brush looked close enough to touch. i can`t remember how long the flight took, i think the excitement wore off the 10 foot plus drop the plane took. eventually, most of the time close to night fall we would land in mobay and then continue our trek by car to our eventual destination, falmouth.
like my children or my children like me, if you`re detailed oriented, once i got in a car for more than 10 minutes, i was asleep. i supposed it was deserved rest particularly since i`d been up since 4am anyway.