My First Airplane Flight

By Larry Teren

If you were born in the 1970’s or later, there is a chance you don’t remember much about your first airplane ride. You were a kid or maybe even a baby. I, who ¬†was born when Truman still had a couple of months left in his presidency, didn’t go higher than the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper until after I graduated college.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, flying was relatively expensive. It was mostly for business travelers or those who had money to burn and needed to get somewhere quickly. The rest of us either took a train or went by car. If you don’t count taking a commuter train or the Chicago Rapid Transit (yah, sure) , I’ve never, ever been on a train to go from one city to another.

My first flight was in 1978 to go to a resort in the Catskill Mountains in upper state NY. In those days, the FAA did not prevent air traffic over the downtown areas of major cities. I requested and got a window seat. I remember as we were still rising, floating maybe ten thousand feet in the air, that I looked down over the Merchandise Mart along the Chicago River marking the northwestern edge of the Loop.
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