Were you a travel agent in the 1980s? Oh, how the times have changed! Some things were simpler, but many things required a lot more time and patience. How many of these do you remember?

1. You gave your clients brochures to help guide their vacation planning.

Bonus points if you had an entire wall display for your brochures.

2. You remember looking up airfare rates on a fare sheet.

Columns and columns of numbers…

3. You’re familiar with the OAG

Does anyone remember this?

4. You’ve ever booked flights on Northwest, Braniff, Pan Am, or TWA.

Pan Am was the airline of choice for James Bond in four of his films (though he only made it onto three of the flights).

5. You remember when travelers dressed for a flight.

Sweatpants or flip flops would have been unheard of.

6. You’ve ever received a call from a client who lost a paper ticket.

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to buy a new one. I will file a lost ticket claim.”

7. You can tell stories about handwriting tickets with 6+ flight segments.

Be sure to write in all your city codes!

8. You’ve had the red carbon stains on your hands.

All in a hard day’s work.

9. You didn’t need a ticket to get through TSA.

Cue scene from just about any 80’s rom-com: frantic male lead is tearing through the airport, leaping over suitcases and luggage carts to reveal his true feelings to his lady friend. If you find yourself in this predicament today, you’ll have to send a text.

10. Family members waited at the gate.

Because of those lax security rules, family members often met your client right as they walked off a flight with a big “Welcome Home!” sign.

11. Meeting up with your ride required planning.

If your ride did not meet you at the gate, carefully planning was needed. Why? You couldn’t simply shoot a quick text when you landed!

12. You remember being fed actual meals on flights.

Sure, it might have been a soggy ham and cheese sandwich with a spotty banana, but it was better than pretzels!

13. You remember when you could bring almost anything through security.

Knives with blades up to 4 inches, scissors, box cutters, drinks… the giant can of Aussie hairspray you needed to perfect your voluminous perm. 

14. Your in-flight entertainment was a book, a deck of cards, or your walkman.

…or maybe knitting yourself a new pair of legwarmers.

15. You miss the days when you didn’t have to fight other passengers for space in the overhead bin.

Checked bags were free!

16. You remember when seats were a little roomier.

Seats have gotten smaller and planes have gotten a bit more crowded.

17. There was a time you never dreamed of charging your client a service fee for anything.

Airline commissions were normal and substantial.

18. You’ve called an airline to check your client’s flight status and reconfirm.

No Google, no flight status apps, no text alerts.

19. You once encouraged your client to arrive at the airport at least 30 minutes before a flight, just to be safe.

Those were the days.

20. Your office space was decorated with postcards from happy clients.

To be honest, we kind of miss the days when the mail brought us something other than bills.

21. Security was quick, but checking in took forever.

You waited as the airline rep searched for your info in a massive, IBM computer.

22. You’ve ever done a ticket transfer.

Yes, there was a time you could actually transfer your ticket to someone else if you weren’t going to use it…

23. You’ve shown your vacation photos on a slide projector.

If your friends and family wanted to see pictures from your trip they would actually come over to your house and watch your slides on a projector. The original “social media” actually had a social aspect.

24. You wouldn’t have dreamed of taking a flat lay picture of your hotel breakfast.

This is because the number of pictures of your camera roll was limited and expensive to print. Every shot you took had to be worth it!

25. You’ve ever owned a Lonely Planet travel guidebook.

At $20-30 per country, we sure are thankful for the Internet!

26. An airplane seat armrest embedded with an ashtray wouldn’t throw you off.

Smoking was not completely prohibited on all US flights until 2000.

27. Taxes and fees for international flights were much, much lower.

We’re talking $40, not $500!

28. You know what a Rolodex is.

You held on to this system for at least 3 years after the Y2K scare.

29. You still own a set of luggage without wheels.

Thank goodness these were free to check and you didn’t have to carry it far.

30. You sent your clients a physical, paper map for their trip.

If you were really good, you probably circled their hotel, restaurants, and some important stops.

31. You know what travelers’ cheques are.

A fairly awkward currency, really. It was nice to put this one behind us.

32. You’ve ever rushed to the airport to bring your clients their paper tickets.

Obviously, this only ever happened if their flight departed at 4 am.

33. You remember when people would actually look out the window and be amazed by the fact that they were FLYING.

Today’s travelers are not even impressed with the ability to check their emails, update Twitter, and watch a movie 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. 

34. You’ve felt the pain of dealing with more than one airline merger.

Lost luggage, flight delays, lost reservation…

35. You remember when GDS interfaces were super easy to understand and user-friendly.

Oh wait, that was never! 

Leave a Reply