Remember Student Standby?

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I ran across an old TWA ticket stub from March 19, 1967. I was flying from St. Louis to Cleveland on what the airlines called “Youth Fare,” but most of us dubbed “student standby.”

St. Louis to Cleveland for $16.54

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I was able to fly from Missouri to Ohio for $16.54. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why I was going to Cleveland, then I figured out what was going on.

In March of 1967, I flew to Cleveland and probably got a ride down to Athens with one of Jim Stone’s friends so I could visit him at Ohio University to check out the school. It was a good thing I did. I had applied to OU, but I hadn’t gotten a rejection letter or an acceptance letter. Jim suggested we go by the admissions office to see what was going on.

“Your grades aren’t high enough to meet our standards,” I was told.

“Not good enough?” I countered. “I have a 3.85 average on a scale of 4.0. How smart do I have to be to get into this place?”

She pulled out my file, shuffled through the paperwork, then said, “Somebody made a mistake. You’re in.”

You were good unless you got bumped

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967The airlines were clear that your seat was safe only so long as the seat wasn’t sold to a full-fare passenger. Planes flew with lots of empty seats in those days (which is why they calculated that a half was better than a nothing), so the odds were pretty good that you were OK.

I never got bumped, but I saw others having to leave the plane. That always made me nervous because I had seen enough of those crash stories where some kid was interviewed, “Yes, I was going to be on that flight, but, at the last second, I was bumped. If that hadn’t happened, I’d have been on that smashed tin can still smoking in a cornfield in Iowa.”

I was doubly nervous when I finally became a paying customer that bumped the last standby. That was REALLY tempting fate.

When did it end?

KLS TWA Student Standby ticket 03-19-1967I tried to find a little of the history of student standby, but didn’t run across much. The Daily Pennsylvanian had a story in 1968 that said that several airlines were phasing out the half-price standby fare, going for one charging two-thirds of the tourist class price. The trade-off was that it would be considered a reserved seat not subject to bumping.

TWA, interestingly enough, was NOT one of the airlines eliminating standby at that time.

In addition to bringing in revenue from what would otherwise be empty seats, the youth fares hooked a whole generation on flying, and airline execs were quoted as saying they hoped to build brand loyalty for future sales. “With a student fare, the student’s taste is catered to a particular airline. When he is 22, he is more likely to use that airline.”

Charter or AT&T for Internet?

Pep rally c 1965You’re going to get this shot of Jim Stone (Central T-shirt all excited about something on the paper he’s holding) at what looks like a pep rally because I was too busy today to come up with something better. Jim never had a lot of pep and I don’t recognize many people in the background, so I have no clue what the event was.

The main reason I’m behind is that I spent the afternoon talking to Internet service providers.

Internet dilemma

Mother has had AT&T DSL for some time now. When I started spending more time in Cape, I told her I’d pay the difference between a promotional price for AT&T’s “Elite” level and the basic service she had before. “Elite” allegedly gives you 6 MBS down and about 512K up. After the promotion expired, the price went to $46 a month and is slated to go to $52. They offered me another promo plan, but it will expire in six months, so I don’t want to consider it.

I’m used to Comcast Business in West Palm Beach where I get 100 down and 20 up, so AT&T “Elite” feels like dial-up.

How about Charter?

Charter is offering a 12-month promotional price comparable for what we’re paying for AT&T, but they claim to deliver 60 MBS down. The extra speed sure would be nice. I’m still going to be dealing with an expiring promotion in a year, but a lot can happen in that time.

A lot of you folks like in the Cape area. Talk me out of Charter. Thanks in advance for the advice.

Bundling, by the way, is not an option. I want to keep her AT&T landline for redundancy and reliability. We dropped cable for an antenna in the attic and streaming video. All I’m looking for is a straight Internet package.