Some people go through life looking, but not really seeing. There are some really interesting things out there, if you slow down and look around. Here's an example:
The next time you're boarding a United Airlines airplane at the San Francisco Airport, take a moment to look at the jetway control panel:
I wonder how many people have passed this console and not seen the square buttons along the left side of the panel? These buttons are pre-set positions for the jetway -- buttons that could be pushed to move the jetway to match up with the entry doors on certain types of airplanes. The jetways controls at SFO were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- in the heady days of commercial aviation when everyone thought we'd be flying hypersonic space-airliners by 2007. At the time, United Airlines held six delivery positions for Boeing's upcoming Model 2707 SuperSonic Transport, or SST. In 1969, it was natural to assume that we'd all be zipping around the world in SSTs very shortly.
And there, on the jetway panel, is a remnant of those days:
Besides the "SST" button, the panel is also a showcase of some of the long-gone aircraft that United Airlines has flown over the years: L-1011, DC-10, A300, B-707, DC-8, B-727, DC-9, BAC-111. It's aviation history, right there in front of you.
Interesting sidenote: Most of the Customer Service agents who operate these jetways have never even noticed the buttons, and have no idea what the letters and numbers mean. Man, am I getting old...