By John Moyles – Regina, Sask.
Air travel in the ‘50s was much different than it is today. The aircraft were smaller, passenger numbers were less, and there was still a feeling of adventure and novelty in flying. Passengers seemed more open and friendly.
In 1953, I had to fly from Winnipeg to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a connecting flight. We left in the evening and our first stop was at Grand Forks.
The stewardess informed us there would be a 45-minute stop and passengers could go into the terminal or stay on the aircraft.
Everybody went into the terminal, but I stayed on the aircraft to sleep. The cabin lights went out and I fell into a deep sleep.
I awoke to the roar of the engines as we were taking off. Every seat was filled and there was much jovial chatter. The chap next to me was not the same person as before, but that didn’t trigger any alarm bells.
A few minutes after take off, I looked at my watch and realized I had been sleeping for over 2 hours. Concerned about making my connection, I asked the stewardess when we would be landing in Minneapolis.
She said, “Oh sir, did you not hear the announcement in the terminal ? We had to change planes, this plane is going to Chicago.”
Word spread quickly through the cabin: ‘that chap is on the wrong plane’. Passengers were joking about it and, as they passed my seat, they’d laugh and make some remark like, “Oh, you’ll like Chicago.”
Forty-five minutes into the flight the pilot addressed the passengers: “We have been advised that the Chicago airport is fogged in and we have been diverted to Minneapolis.”
Dead silence, then heads turned to look at me. The chap next on me said, “You must have pull with this airline.”
When we landed at Minneapolis, I was the only one to get off. As I walked down the aisle, passengers started to applaud.
At the door, I turned and bowed, they laughed, and I made my flight connection.