Give Flying a Break

On my first random topic for my “Fly Over” section I thought it only appropriate to talk about flying, which has become a dreaded pastime by many.

Travel is part of my life. I spend more time in the air some weeks versus my own bed. From coast-to-coast I average 60K miles (97K km) a year, which equates to traveling around the Earth’s circumference about 2.5 times. It’s true that you learn a lot about people in an airport setting, I’m a fortunate spectator watching various scenes – frantic parents looking through bags (invariably they forgot to pack something), business teams reviewing slides before presentations, the foreign travelers huddling together reviewing their maps/guides, the retired couple remembering the good ole days when getting on a plane was “fun”.

I actually love flying. I love every aspect (and no I’m not drinking). Flying has taught me about patience and flexibility … I really need to emphasize PATIENCE! And it’s not without emotion, I’ll never forget being at the LaGuardia gate when a soldier came home to the arms of his parents, or being the last plane out of Chicago during a snowstorm when folks actually cheered when the plane took off.

Going through an airport you feel a frenzy of energy, an excitement about going somewhere, anywhere, other than the daily routine. People will tell you all about their trip, you don’t even have to ask. Maybe it’s partly to do with all the restaurants/coffee bars they visit two hours before their flight, pent up excitement and nowhere to vent all that caffeinated oomph.

In recent months, I have tried to time my airport arrival to line-up with flight boarding. It’s not an exact science but I feel like an Airport Olympian trying to out smart the system (do not attempt unless you have nerves of steel). I have a very structured routine. Plus I carry every security clearance – Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check, Clear and airline status – so I can usually get through lines quickly (but still not a guarantee).

As I wait to board planes I can’t help but be overwhelmed that I live in an age where travel is so accessible to so many people. Yes, there are some very dumb rules, and yes I dread middle seats. But truthfully in hours (not days or even weeks) you can be at the beach or visiting friends at your favorite vineyard or sitting in your parent’s backyard. It’s a pretty amazing feat; all you really have to do is step inside a metal tube with wings and you are charging through the sky to your destination.

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