Bucket List Worthy
Let’s face it, it has been a rough year for air travel. Early on, poor winter weather conditions delayed thousands of flights, and left millions of travelers stranded across the globe. In the spring, an entire aircraft went missing somewhere over the Indian Ocean, and we still don’t have a clue as to its whereabouts. More recently, a commercial airliner was shot down over an international war zone, prompting flights to be diverted from similar hotspots in order to maintain safety. That was followed by a series of high profile crashes that left many of us questioning the wisdom of ever getting on a plane again. But, I’m here to tell you that we should push those thoughts aside, and continue using air travel whenever necessary. Here are 10 reasons why flying is still the best way to travel.
It’s Safe! The old adage that flying is the safest way to travel still holds true today – the recent track record of the airline industry not withstanding. On a daily basis, there are more than 93,000 scheduled commercial aircraft flights across the world, and yet we can go weeks or months without a fatal crash. When you crunch the numbers, the chances of you being onboard an aircraft that crashes is infinitesimally small. In fact, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be in an airplane crash. But should your flight actually go down, you’re also likely to still survive. A study of all the air crashes that took place in the U.S. between 1993 and 200o showed that more than 90% of passengers and crew survived.
Flight Costs Are Surprisingly Affordable It may not seem like it but when adjusted for inflation, airline ticket prices are actually near an all time low. In fact, they have been declining steadily for 30 years, allowing more of us to fly then ever before. Increased competition, more efficient aircraft, and the ability to bargain shop for flights online have all played a role in this trend. And while we may still bulk at the price of airfare when it is time to book, we are fortunate to live in an era when the cost of flying is still affordable – relatively speaking.
It Is Still The Fastest Way To Get Anywhere If you only have a limited number of days to travel, and you truly want to spend quality time at your destination, then flying is still your best choice. If you’re flying domestically, chances are you can find a flight that will deliver you to your destination early in the day, allowing you to start your vacation as soon as you arrive. If you elect to drive, you could spend days in the car before you even get to that place, drastically cutting down on the amount of time that you can spend there. And at the end of your trip, when you’re ready to go home, a flight can get you there in a matter of a few hours, while facing a return trip by car can seem painful.
It Is The Only Way To Get To Some Places Want to visit Paris? Have dreams of lounging on a beach in Tahiti? Then flying really is the only option you have. The days of taking a slow boat to Europe – or anywhere else in the world for that matter – are long gone. For international travelers, flying opens up nearly an unlimited number of possibilities, allowing us to visit distant lands, experience unique destinations, and explore our planet to the fullest. Many of those places simply would not be an option for most of us without modern air travel, and if you love immersing yourself in foreign cultures, then the airplane is literally and figuratively your vehicle to the world.
Inflight Entertainment Modern aircraft are often equipped with state-of-the-art entertainment systems that put a selection of movies, television shows, music, and games right at our fingertips. This can help time to pass more quickly while on a flight, and allow us to relax more in the process. But even if your aircraft doesn’t have a built-in entertainment system, chances are you brought one with you. Most travelers now come equipped with smartphones and tablets, which can fill the entertainment void nicely.
You Can Be Productive Carrying a laptop with you when traveling, plus having some free time aboard the aircraft while in flight, can give you the opportunity to be more productive than if you were driving to your destination. If you have a long flight, it can be the perfect time to pull out the computer and get some work done, or even just back-up photos from your trip. Many planes on domestic routes now offer inflight Internet as well, allowing you to catch-up on emails or check-in with friends and family back home. Those same Internet services are coming soon to International flights as well, truly opening up the opportunities to be productive while in the air.
The Sense of Community Flying, particularly in economy class, can create a sense of community amongst passengers. There is often a sense that everyone on the aircraft is traveling together, even if just for a brief time. This can in turn knock down barriers and create good conversations between passengers. I’ve found that people are generally very excited about the journey they are about to undertake, and they often want to share that excitement with others. On more than one occasion, I have had an interesting and fun conversation with someone that I was seated next to, which helped the flight to pass quickly. Sure, you’ll occasionally get someone who doesn’t feel like talking – or worse yet, is a complete odd ball – but more often than not, the sense of camaraderie that is felt between passengers can create a brief in-air friendship that makes the flight more enjoyable.
You Can Sleep! If you’re one of those lucky passengers who can doze off on an airplane, than flying gives you an opportunity to catch up on your sleep, and arrive at your destination rested, and ready to go. A quick nap can help shorten the flight-time as well, and leave you refreshed for whatever adventures await. As someone who isn’t able to easily sleep on a plane, I am always envious of those who can.
Great Views If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, you are often treated to some great views just out the window. There is nothing quite like soaring over the countryside, while lakes, rivers, mountains, and other beautiful landscapes pass beneath. Even at night, when darkness shrouds the sky, it is fun to look out and see the islands of light that spread across the world below. Sure, you can get good views from other forms of transportation as well, but there is nothing that compares to the bird’s eye view you get from an airplane.
Did We Mention It’s Safe? Yes, we already addressed this, but it is an important enough topic that I thought it was worth mentioning again. It has been said many times, that flying is statistically the safest way to travel. Just how safe is it? How’s this for a statistic? The chance of you boarding a flight that will be in a fatal accident is one in seven million. That translates to meaning that even if you flew every day of your life, you would have to fly for nineteen thousand years before you would experience a fatal crash. That’s a lot of frequent flyer miles.