The Jet Age (1958 - Today)

Activity

How Does Air Travel Affect You?

Air travel affects your life, even if you don't fly. Can you imagine a world without airplanes? How does it affect you? Try the Baggage Claim activity to find out some of the many ways.

The Flying Experience Today

The wide-open competition among airlines made possible by deregulation, along with the computer revolution and stricter security measures, have transformed the flying experience.

Since deregulation, travelers have benefited from low fares and more frequent service on heavily traveled routes; on other routes, fares have risen. But in exchange for low fares, passengers have had to sacrifice convenience and amenities.

Computer technology, in particular the Internet, has revolutionized how people plan trips, buy tickets, and obtain boarding passes. Heightened security, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has made the airport experience more restrictive and time-consuming.

 

To offer low air fares, airlines have had to cut costs in other ways, often by reducing, eliminating, or charging for amenities that air travelers once took for granted.

E-ticket
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Home access to airline reservation systems via the Internet and the shift to electronic ticketing have increasingly made booking flights and checking in a do-it-yourself experience.

 

Hundreds of millions of passengers now fly each year in the United States. But that popularity has also brought crowded airplanes and congested airports and has dulled the luster air travel once had.

Security
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

A rash of airliner hijackings in the 1960s began the trend toward increasingly tight security measures at airports. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, raised security to levels never before seen in America. Access to boarding areas, once open to anyone carrying virtually anything, is now tightly restricted, and every passenger is carefully screened.

 

What Will You Sacrifice?

Airlines must compete for business. They do it by offering travelers a range of options. When buying plane tickets, passengers must decide which things are important to them. What's important to you?

 

Hundreds of millions of passengers now fly each year in the United States. But that popularity has also brought crowded airplanes and congested airports and has dulled the luster air travel once had.