By in Travel

Eight Reasons I Love Flying

In a recent article by Paulie , he shared eight things he dislikes about flying with the airlines . As I read it, and the comments left, I began to dread even thinking about my next flight.

Mentally, I can easily be taken down a path to negativity that robs me of the joy I feel doing the things I love to do. Most of the time, I do not need any help doing it. People and life itself can do it for us, but the reality is that, most of the time, I do it to myself .

So, in an effort to change my dread into action, I present my story, and the reasons I still love to fly.

Some History and Moments to Forget

My first plane ride was on August 23, 1973, when I flew from Los Angeles, California to San Antonio, Texas, on my way to Basic Training for the Air Force. I have flown many times in the 42 years since--commercially, militarily, and privately. It has not all been pleasant, that is for sure.

  • I flew from Anchorage to Adak, Alaska during a storm at 300 feet above the water, sitting on cargo nets in a C-130. I threw up in my cover (Navy-speak for "hat").
  • When the nose-gear on a C-118 (DC-6) would not come down and into its locked position, the pilot was instructed to get into the holding pattern. On the airfield, they were preparing for a crash landing by foaming the runway. We landed on that foam, and then sat for a couple of hours, while the crash crew was checking out the plane before they towed us to the hangar.
  • In 1982 in North Platte, Nebraska (population approx. 24,000), our plane broke down, and we had to wait at this small, regional airport to have the parts flown in from our home station to fix it. Let's just say that there was not a lot to do or see in the terminal. There were no cell phones, laptop computers or WiFi. We were stranded for a couple of days.

Flying civilian airlines, there have also been situations that I would rather forget, including:

  • Being assigned the middle seat in the front of the coach section, where the arm rests do not go up. I weighed 250 pounds (at 5'10"), and they put me between two men who were shorter than me, and each weighing about the same as me or more. They were much wider in the shoulders, mid-section, and chest than I. They knew one another, and constantly conversed around/through me in their native Italian throughout the five-hour flight.
  • At 210 pounds, I was unable to fasten the seat belt as it was short in my seat. In a full plane, the flight attendant shouted to one in the forward cabin, "Could you please get me an extender? This woman cannot get the belt fastened." I was not anywhere as large as many people in that cabin, but I felt that I was 300 pounds, and was embarrassed to tears.

Reasons I Love to Fly

Despite the economy class seats giving me no room for my knees or my size 12 feet, or the insensitive staff, or medical issues that make waiting in line for the toilet difficult for me, or the various other inconveniences suffered during travel situations, I still love to fly.

  1. It takes less time for me to fly than to drive the same distance. -- Time is money. The 2000 miles from my home to my sister's in Tulsa would have taken me 3 to 4 days (one-way) to drive. The actual flight time was 3 hours 40 minutes. I was able to spend most of my 10 days off with my sister, rather than 2 days.
  2. The cost of the flight is less, compared to years ago. -- The same flight from Seattle, WA to Tulsa, OK that costs approximately $400 round-trip today is less expensive than what I paid for a one-way ticket in 1974 from Austin, TX to Los Angeles, CA. Deregulation has made that possible for us all to do so.
  3. Flying is cheaper than driving. -- According to AAA.com, the average national price per gallon was $3.51 for regular gas when I made the trip to Tulsa last year. I have an economical car, which gets more than 30 miles per gallon on the open road. For a 4000-mile round trip, travel alone would have taken 134 gallons, costing more than $470. This does not account for wear-and-tear, and the cost of motels and food along the way.
  4. I love to meet new people. -- Over the years, there are people with whom I have had conversations on a plane that have become my friends. If not friends, they have shared stories that have changed my life. Others have offered smiles and, when I was feeling down and depressed over the death of a loved one. There are so many more things I could say here, but it would be a book.
  5. Flight attendants are the consummate customer service representatives. -- I do not think there is a tougher customer service job out there. They are some of the most positive, diplomatic people I have met, especially in a thankless job. They do their best in a plane full of people who are living out their frustrations of life and what they expect from their $400 round-trip tickets. Flight attendants are as tough, if not tougher, than some I have seen in the medical field, and police force. I have found them to be understanding and helpful, when I politely share my needs with them, privately. The few bad ones are usually those who have had to recently deal with bad customer experiences. After all, they are human, too.
  6. Impatient, rude, unhappy people remind me how lucky I am to be me. -- Rather than jumping into a pool of irritation, as I used to do frequently, I have learned to look at others' behaviors and be thankful that I am learning to release myself of the stress and angst. It is not always easy, but I am far less annoyed by others than I used to be. I feel fortunate to look at others and smile, maybe offering them "Good morning" and chance where they have a respite-moment.
  7. Unexpected delays give me a chance to breathe . -- Because I am one who works mostly under stress to get my way on a trip, a delay at the airport gives me a chance to decompress, or take a moment to stop fretting. I have learned to take care of myself and be kinder to self, realizing that whatever I have forgotten, I can purchase. That is after I have gone through my OCD-style check and recheck of having my boarding documents! The chance to sit and wait is a nice break from the craziness of something I cannot control anyway.
  8. Emergencies, turbulence, and other such things give me stories to tell . -- In a world that seems to be full of people who are trying to isolate from others based on fear, upbringing, and other experiences in life, all of the unpleasant things that we must endure gives me opportunity to relate to others and make connection in all my walks of life. It also allows me to tell the same stories from a different perspective often told very differently.

My Final Thoughts

It is very easy for me to be angry, depressed, negative, and cynical about life and all its workings. I am no different than others who live in the same mindset. I often need to remind myself that I get to choose how I look at any situation.

Does this mean that I wear a yellow smiley face mask every where I go? Hardly. Anyone who has met me knows better. Anyone who has read by going back through the countless things I have written can come up with evidence to the contrary.

I declared back in 2009 that my mission in life was "to help others by inspiring them to see beyond (the challenges they think they face)." I recognize that anyone who wants to be seen as a leader of people must live by the same standards. This is the reason why I challenge myself to see beyond my own negativity and tough things I face in every aspect of life.

Before I can offer my help or advice to my workshop students, family and friends, or my private coaching (career, life, and communication) clients, I have to continually challenge myself. It starts by my looking in the mirror.

Whether I need to look beyond the situations of health, annoying people, life's troubles, or flying on over-packed, over-rated airplanes with few amenities, my reality is such that I need to do it for me. The mirror I look toward is simply my own. Believe me, when I tell you, it ain't always pretty.

But even then, I could come up with eight things I DO like about looking in that mirror.

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1100 PDT 13,858 20.79 110.99 avg

23 hr-- +65//$.10

1142 coins left to 15K Coin Challenge (click for info)--On target

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© Copyright 2015 - Coral Levang. All Rights Reserved

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Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/airline-aircraft-start-travel-417540/ by Bluesnap

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Comments

lexiconlover wrote on July 30, 2015, 2:31 PM

I love flying, I'm not crazy about landings but otherwise I love it.

alexdg1 wrote on July 30, 2015, 2:35 PM

Although flying commercially has not always been been the most pleasant way to get from point A to point B, especially after 9/11, it's still enjoyable if you have a positive outlook. I've always been an aviation freak anyway; my dad was a civilian pilot and my mom was once a flight attendant for Avianca.

SyddyHud wrote on July 30, 2015, 3:38 PM

I too enjoy flying. My only problems with flying is getting an isle or middle seat around people you don't know and when there are delays or cancellations and it has you fearing over catching your layover. Even scarier when it's your first time flying alone and you have events planned for when you land back home!

Feisty56 wrote on July 30, 2015, 3:43 PM

You're so right in that it can be easy to be affected by other people's perspectives at times, particularly when they are so close to thoughts we have ourselves. My five-year-old granddaughter will start school this year. Despite all the prior years when she couldn't go to school but wanted to, now that the big day is approaching, she's no longer certain she wants to go. As the younger sister of several older siblings, she is affected by their stories and opinions. For this reason, I have taken the older kids aside and stressed the importance of keeping any conversations with her about school positive.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:01 PM

I do not travel well in general, but I like the train if I do have to travel. It's gotten terribly expensive though, which makes me really sad. It used to be more economical than either flying or driving.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:14 PM

Feisty56 Thank you for your part in doing this for others. Even in writing this post comment. I need to limit what I read and how I comment back. This encourages me here.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:15 PM

I could certainly match and raise you, but I won't. emoticon :winking: It sounds like you have figured out what works for you.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:18 PM

Having been in the aviation industry as an air traffic controller, I know that take offs and landings are the most crucial of times. I simply close my eyes and do some meditation in those few minutes on either end. The same in extreme turbulence.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:18 PM

How we choose to view life is so key to happiness, I believe.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:20 PM

Very true, and I can appreciate the fears. I have learned to limit my being unhappy, though. I first ask myself what I can do at this moment to control it or influence it. Then I go from there.

CoralLevang wrote on July 30, 2015, 4:21 PM

I love the train for different reasons. You are right about the expense.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 30, 2015, 6:09 PM

It's really maddening, because I used to travel comfortably on the train - often with a full meal included - for less than the cost of a bus ticket. Last time I thought to travel by train, the prices had skyrocketed! And you couldn't even book tickets unless it was 6 months or more in advance! It used to be if I tried to book a ticket, I'd be told not to bother. I'd just show up, and get my ticket minutes before I boarded.

cheri wrote on July 30, 2015, 9:21 PM

Good thing that I do not have to go flying when I travel. It just scares me most of the times

Paulie wrote on July 30, 2015, 11:59 PM

This is really a great article which I am sharing with my followers on Facebook. I also could say a lot of things I like about flying otherwise I would drive or take a ship wherever I wanted to go. Yes, even in Thailand, it is cheaper to fly on discount airlines than to drive.

inertia4 wrote on July 31, 2015, 1:29 PM

I am definitely no fan of flying. Never was. I was in a plane once and I don't really way to do it again. Unless I was to move from the east coast to the west coast. I would want to get there as soon as possible. I would probably take a pill to put me to sleep until I get there.

DWDavisRSL wrote on July 31, 2015, 11:08 PM

I have flown on many different aircraft, military and civilian, and I enjoyed all of them, from the UH-1 Huey to the Boeing 747.

CoralLevang wrote on August 1, 2015, 12:44 PM

There are times that I am scared about a lot in my life, and can easily choose fear. I just cannot do that any more. It's not healthy.

CoralLevang wrote on August 1, 2015, 12:44 PM

Thank you so much Paulie !!

MegL wrote on August 2, 2015, 1:55 PM

Certainly, flying is the fastest way to get to most places, it's a pity that the airport takes so much time with waiting and security!

BarbRad wrote on August 2, 2015, 4:02 PM

This is really well-written. You haven't convinced me to go back to flying yet, but you've reminded me of some of the reasons I don't like flying. I'd still rather drive.

valmnz wrote on August 22, 2015, 3:30 PM

I too love flying and these days am thankful I live in a safe part of the world.

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:07 AM

It has its moments, most definitely.

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:08 AM

I know that it's been crazy where trains are concerned.

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:10 AM

oh, I have had moments that I did not enjoy. I can get scared when I think about how absolutely crazy that it is that these "vehicles" can stay up in the air. LOL I don't think about it.

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:10 AM

that is, most certainly, the downfall today!

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:11 AM

Thank you, BarbRad . I, too, prefer to drive, but time is of the essence for me nowadays.

CoralLevang wrote on August 23, 2015, 5:12 AM

I agree, valmnz . Enjoy your holiday!

inertia4 wrote on August 23, 2015, 2:06 PM

I know it does. Well, I don't fly. But like I said, if i had to, I would need to be medicated. or something.