OSCAR-winning actor TOM HANKS still has fond memories of his first ever ride on an airplane - because he was 18 years old when it happened.

The CAST AWAY star, a native of northern California, admits that while his first sky-high trip was low-budget and relatively short, he was still hugely impressed with what was on offer.

He says, "I hadn't flown for the first 18 years of my life. I didn't go anywhere. I lived a bus and truck life.

"We flew down to Los Angeles for, like, 29 bucks and I was astounded that they gave you a choice of your beverage. I thought that was a great gig."

But while Hanks was impressed with his inaugural flight, it was another six years before he tried it out again.

He adds, "I didn't fly (again) for years and years, and the next time it was on somebody's dime. The network was flying me out to audition for BOSOM BUDDIES. It was kinda nice 'cause I jumped literally from a glass of ORANGE CRUSH to CHATEAU BRION in first class."

15/06/2004 17:14