I haven’t been travelling long enough to have fond memories of things in the old days (whenever that was). But in summer 2000, for our first transatlantic flight in 2001 we bought our tickets the old-fashioned way. From my very first web site:
After weeks of monitoring the prices on delta.com, we finally headed down to the airport to the point of no return. We purchased our nonrefundable nonreturnable tickets. $1800 poorer and clutching our tickets madly, I hopped across the parking lot chanting “We got our tickets – we’re really going!” (Later that night I woke up in a frenzy at the realization that I am going to actually put my body on an airplane and fly across the ocean).
(OK, so I guess there is a bit of “good old days” there — buying two high season tickets to Europe for $900 each.)
For the months leading up to the trip I frequently pulled the tickets out of safekeeping jsut to admire them and daydream. Once on the trip our return ticket hid safely in my Rick Steves moneybelt for 25 days, wilting only a bit in the heat.
Since then of course, we’ve bought our e-tickets online, or snagged our free miles tickets on the phone. There’s still a celebratory aspect and we usually mark the occasion of *officially* going on a trip with a glass of wine, but nothing will ever compare to the euphoria I experienced taking those first Cincinnati-London, Rome-Cincinnati tickets from the agent at the airport.