Airline travel in the 70s

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Airline travel in the 70s

Johnno McCabe
Col's pictures of the Ariana Afghan and Iraqi airways tickets in the Your Pictures section bought back memories of that other form of travel, airlines. During my days at Capricorn Travel with Mike Russell and Linda Green we used to sell all sorts of dodgy airline tickets. No computers just note books with phone numbers in them.

 The Ariana Afghan tickets we used to buy from a consolidator called Major Travel located in the laneway behind the "real" Ariana Afghan Airlines office in Pall Mall for about half the price as well.  As a "bucket shop" we also sold lots of Aeroflop, Kuwaiti Airlines, Pakistani Airlines, Phillipines and Thai Airlines all bought through shady consolidators.

Most tickets would be collected from small  backstreet sweatshop offices where Asian girls would be frantically handwriting tickets on desks full of paper. It was a time when most countries had their own national airline which didn't make money but were there for national pride. The IATA agreement was that they published standard fares but 80% of tickets were sold discounted under the counter through consolidators.

The other Iraqi airways ticket could have been one of our specialties, which  was a "confirmed" standby ticket LON to JFK on Iraqi aiways. You collected the ticket from a man wearing a yellow carnation standing near the Iraqi  Airlines counter. No one wanted to fly Iraqi airways so there was always plenty of seats. It was a typical Uncle Dick deal always dodgy, always cheap.


I recall Uncle Dick coming back from a function at Ariana Afghan Airlines and had somehow conjured up a free famile ticket which he used for Alan Maher to get to Kabul to pay a visit to poor Michael George who was enjoying a homestay in a far flung Afghani Village.

At Sundowners to obtain cheaper tickets than Qantas and British Aiways exhorbitent fares (probably dearer than todays fares) to and from OZ the deal was you would catch a European Express bus to either Paris, Munich, Rome or Athens and then pickup a Thai flight. I think the cost of those flights then were around 385 pounds. Sundowners sold heaps of these for many years. It as all about price and there was plenty of competition in Earls Court Road offering all sorts deals to.

For all the ridgy didge kosher airlines travel Sundowners also owned Kensington Travel located around the corner in Earls Court Road aimed at the business market. Remember those days Cas?

Wasn't there also a story about The Diplomat boarding an Indian Airlines flight wearing a leather "Biggles' cap and goggles. Not sure if that is fact or folklore?

Anyway here I am still playing with aeroplanes 35 years later, far more regulated today but way less fun.
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Re: Airline travel in the 70s

Vicar
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A top account of the airline trade as it was. We all know that it was this London bucket shop idea carried forward that made Screw Turner quite wealthy. I particularly enjoyed the part about having to meet the man with the yellow carnation to get your ticket.
Vicar
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Re: Airline travel in the 70s

Colin Davidson
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