Random memories about flying commercial when I was young and small. When I was young and small I traveled a lot with my parents and some of my earliest memories are aviation-related.
The sound of a pop can opening does it for me. I guess the first times I heard it must have been on board an airliner, because it always makes me think of a flight attendant opening a can of Coke for a passenger. The passenger is reading a magazine on a long-haul flight to Europe, the cabin is dimmed and "Heaven Can Wait" is playing on the in-flight movie. The Coke has been poured into a small plastic cup, and there is a maraschino cherry impaled on a little plastic sword also sitting in the cup. A couple of airplane ice cubes and a napkin, maybe a couple of shortbread cookies completes the scene.
The smell of lit jet fuel has also seeped into my brain - it brings back the memory of flying to Dublin on a Wardair 747, listening to David Bowie's "Let's Dance" on my Sony Walkman tape player and reading comic books for 6 hours straight. Those were good times - I was just entering my teens, discovering girls, dyeing my hair blue and wearing combat boots, and my trips with my parents were among the occasions we could relax and enjoy each other's company.
I remember talking to a flight attendant and asking him if he liked airplane food. "I'm sick and tired of it, Sir" was his reply. I remember thinking it was a very curious response, as flying in an airplane was an exceptionally glamorous way to make a living.
Once when I was around 8 or 10, I was flying transcontinental with my dad and when I had to go pee, I forgot to latch the little lock in the airplane's washroom. A fellow passenger opened the door soon afterwards and I nearly peed on his shoes when I spun around. I triple-check the lock on the bathroom door now.
I remember visiting my relatives in British Columbia for a week each Summer and travelling as an unaccompanied minor and having to wear a nametag around my neck. I loved it though - I felt very grown-up and important because I had a customer service rep sitting with me the entire time I waited to make a connection at Vancouver International airport. Even first-class passengers didn't get their own customer service reps, so clearly it meant I was royalty.
And last but not least, the lemony-detergent smell of moist towelettes is the smell of doing 10 miles a minute over the surface of the planet, just finishing our first in-flight meal, chatting amongst ourselves, excited about what we'd do and see when we landed.