Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fly Me Away

I want to know what the hell is up with our commercial aviation system.

I mean, out of four flights I took this weekend, every single one was early.


I mean, isn't it conventional wisdom that planes always land late? They're delayed by mechanical issues (that filter needs changing!) and baggage issues (Jim Bob hurt his back with that overweight suitcase--yeah, the one where the woman insisted she had to have eighteen pairs of shoes) and weather issues (fog, storms, wind). Even after having to taxi for half an hour in Dallas, and wait on the tarmac for our turn approaching the gate, I was still off the plane five minutes early.

So what's up with that?

I love to fly. The funny part is that I don't like the "up" part that much. The changing altitude makes me feel funky, and the cabin air is obviously not fresh enough. The seats are cramped (I considered accepting the offer of an upgrade to first class on the way home, but couldn't justify the $90). No, the part *I* like is the takeoff and landing. I love the G-forces pushing me back or pulling me forward, the speed of the plane, the soaring sensation as we lift off and the (usually) gentle jolt when we land. I also love moving through the clouds, especially the cumulonimbus that tower miles high and look solid enough to eat with a spoon.

I like the solitude, when I can keep my seatmate(s) from talking at me. I like having time to write and to read, especially in the half hour before landing when I can't feel guilty for not writing because all electronic devices have to be turned off. I don't mind long layovers, either. I didn't really pay attention to all my options when I booked the flight, just found the departure and arrival times that suited me best, so there were three flights from Chicago to Dallas before mine that I probably could have taken. But I watched two episodes of Gilmore Girls and ate lunch and listened to the happiness when nearby flights called standby names.

If I'm lucky, the next time I fly will be to San Francisco next summer. That will be longer and much more tiring, so we'll see how I feel about flying then.

But for now, I love it. :)

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