58. Flying or driving?

Our world always evolves, so do means of transportation. Not so long ago people walked for hundreds of kilometers, rode horses. Nowdays you can get to most locations on Earth in less then 48 hours, with very little effort.

Our most advanced mean of transportation is called aeroplane. Many people love flying on them. As for me, I admire them as engineering marvel, but I cannot say that I really enjoy to travel by air.

Why?

1. You don’t control anything

When you fly, you put your life in hands of total strangers. You have never met those people, how can you trust them with your life?  And when you travel with all your family? Maybe I am paranoid, I am anxious even when I am in a car and someone else drives. But how can you be sure the the person is qualified enough and has not gone insane (I remember that Germanwings flight).

2. I hate airports

First, crazy security checks. Full body searches, taking off your shoes, additional luggage checks are quite common in my own experience. I understand why they do it, and frankly speaking, I feel safer with it. But still it adds a lot of discomfort and frustration.

Second, getting to airport is usually super inconvenient. Usually airports are located far away from city center and it takes a lot of time to get there, along with cost of taxi or crazy expensive airport parking.

And lastly, you need to get to the airport really early, over an hour before departure.

3. Flights are not the best thing for your health

There have been many studies on how air travel influences your health. There are a lot of numbers of how much radiation you get when you fly – some studies show that it is really insignificant, others show that it is considered safe to take just a few flights per year. It is not only a matter of solar radiation, but also X-Rays in the airport, dry air in the aircraft, low pressure,  etc.

Personally I don’t trust any of those studies – they often show what they want you to see. I consider other indicator – flight attendants and pilots usually retire quite early. In capitalist world of big business it would not be possible without a really important reason.

4. No freedom of travel

You cannot choose when to travel, you cannot choose route, you cannot choose to travel light or take a lot of stuff – you need to comply with airline regulations and adapt yourself to their schedule.

4. Bad service

In my opinion, airlines service is far from perfect

I cannot call myself a frequent flyer, but I have flown with over 10 airlines, and mostly, my impressions are similar.

First, ticket prices are too high.It is strange when it is cheaper to drive a car that transports only you then fly an aircraft that carries 200 other people together with you. It is not only a question of fuel, and I know airlines are very low-margin business, but I believe in economy of scale, but something does not work here. (here is a great video about what constitutes ticket price).

Then airlines loose luggage. And they do it often. Yes, most times they find it and deliver it to you. But until they find it you are left without some important stuff that you have in your bags. And what if it gets lost completely? Yes, they reimburse a few hundred bucks. But some things have no money value, how can they be compensated if lost?

Of course some airlines are more passenger-friendly then others, offering flexible flight change conditions, other offer better food, but my impression of industry as whole is not really affected by it.

5. Flights make the pace of our lives even faster

We live in a crazy world, the pace of life is just enormous. And being able to transport yourself over great distances in relatively small period of time really adds to it.

And also it makes our world much smaller. Even 50 years ago a 2,000 km journey was an adventure that lasted several days, now it is a matter of hours.

I agree that it all is good in some cases, but in my opinion, is not when you travel for pleasure.

6. You don’t see anything

When you fly you don’t see anything that you pass on your way, you see just some green/gray/blue areas with no meaning or soul. But in fact there is so many interesting places and people out there!

7. There is no emergency life-saving methods for planes

If you travel by train, it has emergency brakes. Ships have lifeboats. Car have airbags. Planes have absolutely nothing. If plane is in distress, you can only pray that the pilot is skilled enough, there is an airfield nearby and plane’s condition is not really bad.

Jpeg

In contrast, when you travel by car, you are the one who decides everything. You are in total control of the situation – you can drive faster, you can drive slower, you can make sure your car is in good condition. Yes, not everything on the road depends on you, but you can still control your life.

Noone will check what is in your luggage that you put in your car. Noone will loose it if you don’t do it yourself.

When you drive, you improve your mental health. You switch your mind from your routine and problems and just enjoy the road, if you drive through a forest or along coast, at early morning or at cool evening – you can open the window end breath fresh and clean air, feel that there is a big world out there!

You can leave whenever you want, you are free to choose any route you want to take.

You can enjoy the ride at your own pace. You can take a highway and travel at maximum allowed speed or you can take a secondary road and enjoy local scenery, drive for as long as you want.

You can see a country. For me there is no better way to see and understand a country then to cross it, see it from the road. See interesting places along the road, see how local people live – what their houses look like, what do they see around. It allows you to feel the place.

And lastly, your car was engineered to die, break its body, inflate airbags, do whatever it can, but to save your life.

IMG_2757

Of course in modern world it is not possible to avoid flights completely, sometimes there is no choice but to fly. But personally, I have decided for myself that I fly only in situations when I absolutely have to.

For me, car represent freedom, whereas planes are more about playing by someone else’s rules. And I must be one of those old-fashined guys for whom travel is not about making a good time, but about having a good time, having pleasure more from travelling then from reaching a destination.

I prefer to see sun rise in the morning when going where I want to go, how I want to go, when I want to go, at the pace that I choose for myself. And there is very little that can compare to chasing a sun that sets over the horizon in front of you.

 

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