Travel by Flight – Personal Column

Aidan Brookes, Staff Writer

It’s easy preoccupy yourself with worries of being packed between two strangers on either side of you while you endure hours of pain and claustrophobia during your flight — crammed into a middle seat of coach by the stingiest of airlines. Flying commercially has become a utilitarian ordeal, far from the days when dressing up was typical. Regardless, when you get past these discomforts, flying is still a visceral experience that everyone should appreciate.

Flying faster than man was ever intended to results in a delightful confusion that we pretend is normal. Frequent business flyers casually dismiss the concept of moving from one side of the Earth to the other in less than a day when explaining that they flew home from a meeting in whatever foreign country they were just in. In reality, this statement comes from only two well understood facts: that he was in a foreign country in the morning and that he was able to make it home before dark. Sure he remembers waiting in an airplane cabin for hours and he may even have glimpsed at the grassy fields creeping along underneath the clouds if granted a window seat, but fully comprehending the journey that took place is impossible.

Unlike transportation on the ground, flying is graceful. Driving in a car is loud and inefficient. The trees whirring by, the sound of tires on the ground, and engine noise are chaotic, and above all you have to stay within the lines of a highway. The jets of a 747 may guzzle a gallon of fuel every second, but they give of an unmistakable roar that lets you know you’re enjoying the most perfect machine of transportation created by man.