Fun Times and Bargain Prices: Memories of Flying With PSA

Jones got his On California column off to a great start with the PSA story.

As a businessman shuttling between Northern and Southern California my traveling was made enjoyable by the airline that taught Californians to fly. Some memories:

Almost missing a 7 a.m. flight from Burbank, I was waved on to the airplane just before the door was closed without a ticket. "Buy it on the plane," yelled the agent. Aloft, I presented my check. "Have to have the captain OK it," said the attendant. "Suppose he doesn't?" I asked. "You're in big trouble," she said.

Boarding at 7 a.m. in Los Angeles one day, I was greeted with attendants popping champagne corks. We're celebrating! It was PSA's 25th anniversary. A very happy flight to San Francisco.

The captain, before take off on another flight: "PSA is world famous for its beautiful flight attendants." A pause. "Unfortunately, none of them are with us today." Hisses and boos from the girls.

I flew with PSA beginning with the DC-3s. Later, the prop jets and 727s had a last two rows of seats configuration that permitted leg stretching. Boarding at the rear, seasoned PSA travelers settled there. The attendants worked from there. A weary glance on a Friday night flight home got you a drink before takeoff. Drinks--$1.

Coming up this rear ramp on morning flights we were greeted with big smiles--"Did you bring us any doughnuts? Any sweet rolls?" Stewardesses on other airlines serve them to their passengers, they were told. Alarmed glances between them. "Oh! We wouldn't want to work for them!"

Out of Sacramento on a clear wintry day the captain called our attention to the beauty of the Sierra we parallelled. "I've asked permission to change course so we can get a better look," he told us. We got a scenic flight.

There was a second officer who raffled off a horse to benefit his favorite charity. He promised to bring the horse along to show it off. I don't think he ever did, but I'm not sure.

San Francisco to Burbank, gazing out the right side window. A gorgeous face suddenly close to mine, an arm on my shoulder. "Look where I'm pointing," she said. "See that straight line, like a road?" It took me a while, but I finally saw it. "The San Andreas Fault," she said, and was gone.

Governing agencies and competition may not always have approved, but no industry was better served by one of its members.

HENRY SCHARFF

Thousand Oaks

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