Thoughts on flying

So I’ve been flying a lot the last few months and I have a few observations. Angie, my sister, warned me that I’d likely grow bored or tired of it after a while, and she was right. It isn’t that I dislike flying…but I dislike flying. I guess it beats the alternative of driving, but I kinda like driving; it’s that rare opportunity for a long period of time to just think and chill, things we don’t get to do much today (as a society, that is). And although it’s downhill to Florida, it’s a 14 hour drive there, but a 12 hour drive back.

I probably wouldn’t have been able to make some of these observations if I didn’t fly about once a week. One of the first things I started to notice is how big of a hurry people are to get on the plane. If the seats were unassigned and it was just seat as you board, that would make more sense to me. But on every single flight I’ve had, I’m assigned a seat. I get a seat. There’s no question whether I’ll get on or not. That’s why I don’t understand the rush, except of course, the case of those who sit in First Class as my sister often does. They get pampered from the minute they step foot on the plane. The rest of us (she calls us “losers”) have to sit and sweat until the plane pulls away. Additionally, the seats are often small and squish my knees.

So, I’m not really in a hurry to get on.

Takeoff has always been my favorite part of flying. I enjoy feeling the sheer power of the engines as they propel the plane along the runway. Once we’re in the air, I enjoy looking at the ground for a while, trying to pick out landmarks and highways and such. I mean, if the plane goes down, I need to know which way it is to walk back home.

The other observation I have, I wish I didn’t. I’ve become keenly aware of the sound of the plane engines. I’ve gotten to the point where I can generally tell when they’re giving it gas and when they’re laying off. What’s eerie is when they lay off for a few minutes and then suddenly rev it back up. I find myself quickly looking out the window to make sure we’re not headed down in a nosedive.

For a long while I kept hearing what I thought was the landing gear. Recently, though, I noticed the sound was actually the flaps on the wings. It makes a terrific winding noise as the flaps are put up or down.

The worst times, though, come in storms. I DO NOT like flying then. It gets bumpy (isn’t that an odd way to put it? Bumpy? In the AIR? How can air be bumpy?). You know it’s bad, however, when the flight attendant is telling you to fasten your seat belt and then screams “Oh God!” into the mic after a nasty bump.

I keep waiting for them to tell us “assume crash positions.” (cue Airplane movie clip)


Filed under General

3 responses to “Thoughts on flying

  1. dave

    W. F. Buckley wrote that commercial flight is A LOT like being in a catlle car. I love small planes, but the airlines are just another bus ride, except with far more restrictive rules.

  2. Jerri Mann

    Imagine that. Actually admitting that your sister is right about something.

  3. I agree with you on every point Roland. I love the comment about walking home! But Dave, if I’m gonna fly, I’ve gotta have at least a 727 – HATE those airbus things and won’t go on the corp. jet. For years I refused to fly, then got the opportunity to go on a great trip overseas, and figured if I was gonna go, I’d better suck it up and fly. I don’t fly to destinations where it only saves me a few hours over the getting to the airport, flight time,out of the airport, etc. or if the drive is actually part of the trip – but if the destination’s the thing, I’ll fly. I think my real problem is giving ove the control – you know, on a plane, you’ve let somebody else have total control over your life for those few hours.

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