Somewhere in Massachusetts, a mid-’90s family photo album possesses the first photo I ever took of a Boeing 747. It was a Virgin Atlantic bird at Orlando International.
I couldnâ€™t tell you the last time I saw the photo, but I can still recall it clearly twenty-five years later: poorly framed through the window of a Delta 737-200 that I definitely did not appreciate enough at the time; the distinctive Virgin red tail towered over everything else, glowing in the humid, golden-hour Florida air.
While Disney World itself might have been the highlight of going to Disney World for most kids, the airport and the airplanes were the far and away winner for me. I loved every detail that I didnâ€™t hate (turns out younger me found flying absolutely petrifying, but thatâ€™s another story).
The curbside chaos at Boston Logan, with barking state troopers and bustling skycaps. The busyness of the terminal, filled with people and the promise of going to new places. Â All the different airlines and airplanes, many of whom are no longer with us. The smell of the forced air on boarding (gosh I love that smell). Riding that skytrain thing, I donâ€™t know what itâ€™s called, at the airport in Orlando.
It was thrilling to ten year old me.
Yet craning my neck out the window, trying to steal a glimpse of the Virgin 747s after landing â€“ that was always the highlight. Every time.