Telephones in hotel rooms

To have a telephone in your hotel room was once such a novelty that hotels marketed themselves with this as their main attraction. Nowadays, the cool, modern trend is for your hotel to boast that it doesn’t have a phone in every room. It doesn’t have a phone in any room.

Blue passports

For more than 70 years, a 32-page passport with a dark blue cover, with the lion and unicorn crest in gold was the identification UK citizens needed to leave their island. After Brexit, one of the most urgent and vital questions needs answering: Could the blue passport come back?

Bus conductors

Bus conductors were the people who used to sell you your bus tickets. They printed tickets from portable machines slung over their shoulders, helped passengers on and off, and rang the bell to tell the driver when it was safe to pull away from the bus stop.


You can still see shoe-scrapers at the sides of doors: a little cubby-hole with a bar and a niche for collecting your accumulated dirt. You see them built into steps, in the form of a minimalist but effective piece of iron. You only see them on the steps and by the doorways of old buildings, though. The modern world has decided to do away with them.

Slam-door trains

Train doors used to have a simple mechanical system. You went to the door, pushed down the window, felt outside for the handle, and opened the door. You could do this at any time on the old slam-door trains. EVEN WHEN THE TRAIN WAS MOVING.

Bus tickets

In July 2014, it became impossible to board a bus in London and pay for your journey with the coin of the realm.

You now need to have a pre-paid ticket, an Oyster card, or a contactless bank payment card.

Proper boarding passes

A boarding pass is a document that gives you permission to board an airplane for a particular flight.

You used to get these issued to you (like tickets), printed by the airline — on their printers, at their expense — and now you have to largely print your own.

Paper plane tickets

Since June 2008, member airlines of The International Air Transport Association have not issued paper tickets. We have “e-tickets” instead. But, if you have to print those out, aren’t they just “tickets”?