Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The fact that humanity somehow was able to create a metal box that can fly across the country in five hours is astounding.  But even more curious is why many react to the idea of a flight with hostility usually reserved for the DMV or, I dunno, waterboarding.  Whether it be complaints about the airport, or the simple fear of flying, we have collectively equated one of our coolest and most impressive processes to a trip to the dentist. 

Let's start with the first step in the pre-flight process:  The airport.  From listening to some people complain, one may assume the airport is a modern torture chamber instead of what it really is:  a shopping mall that planes fly in and out of, and a hub of activity the includes citizens of the world.  In fact, I'm not sure if there are statistics about this, but I can only assume that international airports are the world's true cultural melting pots. To me, there's something beautiful about people from all over the globe using the airport as a brief resting stop before traveling thousands of miles to a new destination.  People watchers delight!  Obviously, most don't seem to agree.

Sure, security can be a pain, yeah there may be traffic on the way, but I know too many people who like to leave for the airport at the last possible second in an effort to spend as little amount of time there as possible.  I have friends who will gladly sit around their houses for a half an hour with nothing to do instead of getting to the airport a little early where they will, god forbid, have to sit comfortably, go to a restaurant, shop for a new pair of sunglasses, people watch, or if you happen to be at Las Vegas's McCarren, gamble.  Plus, the only thing stressful about the airport is the possibility of actually missing your flight.  Yet these same people gladly throw caution to the wind and invite this possibility, making the traffic filled ride to the airport and subsequent run through security into an unnecessary stressful situation. 

Then there's the irrational fear of actually flying.  There are dozens of activities we do on a daily basis that put us at more risk of injury or death than a simple flight does.  Sure, plans crash, but at such an infrequent rate that their "success" record is unparalleled.  The funny thing is even if I throw out statistics that suggest driving a car puts you at greater risk than a flight; its hardly news to those who fear flying.  They agree and then say, "yeah, but you know, whatever." So why are people terrified?  Is it a lack of control?  Is it because the knowledge that even a slight problem may cause, at most, death, and, at least, a terrifying experience?  Why does the fear of this rare possibility severely outweigh the statistics?

Anyway, food for thought.  Louis CK did have a great bit about this.  Click here for some laughs and rationality.

1 comment:

  1. We just talked about this! I love an airport. And excluding waiting through the customs lines and at baggage claim, I enjoy the whole experience. I load up my Kindle, grab some magazines, and do some duty free shopping. If the flight includes free booze, I will enjoy KLM's finest dry white as I debate which typically terrible option to have for dinner.