I got to fly to Colorado for Thanksgiving and now I’m back in good ol’ Spokane. It was my first time back since last February, and it was wonderful spending time with my family.
It may seem strange to say, but for the most part I actually really enjoy the airport experience. I love observing people so much that I could probably just spend an entire day sitting in a chair watching them roll their luggage up and down those walkalators. Even the actual flight is something I look forward to experiencing. I’ve developed a pretty consistent airplane routine that consists of snagging a window seat, staring out the window during takeoff until we’re high above the clouds, taking a half hour nap, drinking gingerail, reading a book for an hour, staring out the window until we land. Mentally, my flying experience is something like this:
Even though the truth about the golden age of travel is that it was ridiculously expensive and dangerous (there was also the fact that people smoked in the cabin and were basically all alcoholics), I still think that modern travel is a sad reflection of our culture. Most people see flying as a necessary inconvenient annoyance. It’s astonishing how easy it is for us to overlook the incredible feat it is to soar through the sky at 500 mph in a plane weighing hundreds of thousand of pounds with less of a chance of dying than you would have driving on the ground. Airplanes and airports are extraordinary.
Rather than viewing airlines as a frustrating waste of a day, I would encourage you to be mindful about the experience. When you’re waiting around for your flight to board, think about the people around you and where they might have come from and where they might be going. When you’re sitting on the plane, have a short conversation with the person next to you before putting on your headphones. When you’re taking off, think about the incredible power of the aircraft and the historical collaboration necessary to make such efficient travel possible. After you land, help the person behind you take their luggage down instead of sitting their in annoyance wondering how the people in front of you could be so slow.
I guess I’m just trying to say that flying is a meaningful and significant experience. The only reason you might find it frustrating is because you have chosen to view it in that light.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!