When passengers had to wait half an hour before boarding National Airlines Flight 51 from Miami to Los Angeles, their disposition was hardly sunny. And once they were, aboard, there were more delays, most of them maddeningly unexplained. Worse, the stewardesses insisted, dinner couldn’t be served until the plane was airborne—but how about some pre-meal cocktails?
Two and a half hours and many tiny bottles later, the plane was still parked on the runway. By now the passengers were abuzz with good humor but still curious about the much-postponed takeoff. Taking matters into her own hands, a buxom young woman named Gloria went up to inquire of the pilot. That was against federal regulations, of course, but Gloria, mindful of the attention streakers have achieved lately, was not unresourceful. Whipping off her blouse, she was readily admitted by the startled flight crew. Another passenger, photographer Lynn Goldsmith, recovered from her surprise and began taking pictures. When Gloria returned to her seat she decided to peel down entirely—for reasons which her fellow passengers are still wondering about. No one, however, seemed to mind, and the partying went on with unfettered vigor. Eventually Gloria wrapped herself in a blanket and then got back into her clothes. Suddenly, onto the plane burst a covey of National officials and a policewoman, bent on arrest. But to a man—and a woman—the passengers defended their new uninhibited friend. If Gloria got busted, they vowed, they would deplane and demand refunds at once. The National brass withdrew diplomatically, and the plane took off a few minutes later. Gloria, having already redressed the passengers’ grievances, kept her agreement not to streak coast to coast.