Learning to Enjoy Airline Travel

How Did We Get Here?

Consumer air travel was once considered an adventure and a luxury. Commercial airlines were able to package the experience from booking to departure on through flight and arrival. Beginning in the 1970’s this started to change in a dramatic way. The no frill airlines with cut rate fares entered the market. The absence of security gave way to more intense check in procedures. Increased traffic volume resulted in delays in the terminals, on the tarmac and in the air. Terrorism has created the need for rigid security measures. Economic realities and Wall Street driven performance pressures have combined to make this once exciting experience to one often accompanied by a sense of fear, dread and concern. With this backdrop, how does on learn or relearn to enjoy airline travel?

Have Fun
Not everything that has happened in this industry and with the experience itself is bad. The online travel sites have opened up new choices for many. The competitiveness of tour companies and travel agencies has created opportunities for all types of travels and throughout the world. One can readily pull together so many options at various levels of luxury and affordability. It does take research. This research in itself can be fun, especially when it pays off in a trip that begins with airline travel that may be in business or first class at a reasonable cost.

When one arrives at the airport, be prepared for the security. Once through the processes of security, modern airports throughout the world today offer a great mix of opportunity for fun. There are indoor play areas for the children. There are beautiful lounges for adults with high definition entertainment. Shopping of all types of goods and services is available. A terrific restaurant of local cuisine, a quick bite or even a retrospective 1950’s diner can make for a nice experience. Also, one can get a massage of various kinds. One can play video games or play slot machines. One can simply find a quiet place to unwind, read, or watch the jets take off and land.

On the plane itself, the entertainment options can be very fanciful even in the most mundane coach sections. Video games, movies, interactive phones are just some of the choices available. On international flights the food is most often of a very high quality especially in the business and first class sections, where one would actually gain weight from those appetizers, main courses and desserts not to mention wine and beer choices. In domestic coach, bring along some healthy snacks to help you enjoy the time.

Relax on the Flight
Make a conscious effort to enjoy this down time. Do some yoga like breathing exercises and if the situation permits, simply take a stroll down the aisle every ninety minutes, or so. Say hello to the person sitting next to you. Do the crossword you never seem to be able to find the time to do. Read that book you have had on your list or reread that novel that you so much enjoyed years ago. Reconnect with your children and grandchildren who may be traveling with you. Play one of those old fashioned travel games that you can buy for a few dollars (at one of those stores at the airport). Whether and how you enjoy your time in the air is up to you. While you should be alert and prepared for the unlikely bad events that could occur, you should take the time that accompanies the airline ticket to enjoy life while up in those clouds.

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