The Glory Days of Travel

Category: Travel Journal

Today you can log on to and book a trip anywhere in the world within minutes. The possibilities are endless. Departing from any major airport hub in the world, you can journey around the globe in a matter of hours.  Air travel is quick, relatively cost friendly, and efficient. But did we lose something along the way? Although travel throughout the world has increased, today’s travel also holds the largest scale of customer dissatisfaction than ever before. Raise your hand if you like check bag fees or paying $6.00 for a pack of granola? "It's only $5.00 if you use your Continental Mastercard!" Airline passengers and employees alike report displeasure with quality, courtesy and a decrease in the overall enjoyment of travel.

It is possible that the best solution for current dissatisfaction can be rectified by looking to the past instead the future. World travel, from luxury train travel in the 1940s to the jet age of the 1950s, was indeed glorious.

Mention the ‘glory days’ and avid, seasoned travelers will immediately identify the reference to the 1940s train travel.  Luxury train travel was indeed magnificent, upscale and celebrated by both passengers and employees. Train tickets purchases concluded with a handshake from friendly, energetic ticket agents leading to excitement for passengers. That sure beats the impersonal kiosks that are just begging to tack on fees to your trip.

Train operators bellowing the words “all aboard” signaled the beginning of a great adventure, as passengers were excited to explore all the aspects of the train's luxury travel service.  Both men and women traveled in style and elegance as the clothing and luggage choices of passengers reflected the luxuriousness of the train.  A man traveling without a hat or tie was like flying through O'Hare without a delay. It never happened. Quality crafted handbags and luggage were also a  reflection of the elegance of passengers.

"Thanks for the tip.Your purse is beautiful. Is that a Satchel & Page?"

Since journeys were long, train operators actually made customer comfort a priority. Imagine that! Think about eating a well-cooked filet alongside a bottle of Cabernet while being served by a waiter in a tuxedo. That wouldn’t suck, right?  And imagine actually talking to fellow passengers as you enjoyed the ride. Apple hadn’t been created yet, so modern day amenities/distractions like smart phones and iPads were non-existent. 

Perhaps the greatest distinction of luxury train travel of the glory days was the identification of a streamliner by its name. Recognizable names including Southern Belle and Olympian Hiawatha identified a luxury train and its route in a more noble method compared to today’s airline fight number consisting of mere digits. Journey with us as we recall the days of luxury dining cars, five star sleeper cars, and glass domed tops as we take a closer look at the Olympian Hiawatha in our next blog entry!