Magical Misery Tour

JpegIn the past six weeks, I’ve flown 12 times across 7 countries. Some flights were on double-decker jumbo jets, while others were on small commuter planes. The carriers came from three different continents.

On greeting family members, the stories about those flights come out …and they’re invariably of frustrations. Lost bags. Cancelled flights. Flustered air stewards, surly ground staff and threatening security agents. Cramped seats and inedible meals. “The glamour of flying is long gone,” I find myself saying, recalling the days when passengers dressed up for flights and enjoyed luxurious surroundings and amenities on board.

And so it is. Flying is a drudgery. The process is at best tedious. Security, budget cut-backs, and the mass-marketing of flying has rubbed the sheen off international air travel.

And yet.

When the captain tells the cabin crew to take their seats for take-off, and the engines push you back into your seat, take a look out of the window. When your stomach gives a lurch and the angle of the land tilts just so, think about what has been accomplished.

An enormous piece of metal has broken the bonds of gravity and has hoisted hundreds of human beings into the air. Terrestrial beings take flight, and the distance between remote corners of the globe is reduced.

What a species we are: we have accomplished something miraculous. We have severed the chains that kept us earth-bound and allowed ourselves to cross unimaginable distances in hours. And we have turned this process into a boring, unpleasant ordeal.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: