Oh, the aeroplane.
Fast, convenient, anxiety inducing, metal tubes that whisk passengers through the sky to their destinations like uncomfortable magic carpets.
Airplane travel forces us to sacrifice comfort in the name of convenience, it imposes a seemingly arbitrary set of rules upon passengers in the name of safety, it creates a depressing theme-parkesque world where we jump from one major city to another, it forces us to put up with airports, and worst of all, it requires that we be in close proximity to strangers for extended periods of time.
Whether you are still bewitched by the fact that you and hundreds of other people are capable of cramming into an aluminum can and arriving on the other side of the Earth in a measure of hours, or you have already become enlightened to the fact that airplanes aren’t as wonderful as the world would have you think, the following reasons should provide ample evidence to the latter.
WHERE’S THE SCENERY?
Now, if you have never been up in an airplane before, then the sight of soaring above the clouds is quite a spectacular (or terrifying) thing to behold.
Knowing you are miles above the Earth’s surface, traveling faster than you could ever dream of via another mode of transportation (except magic carpet), inspires amazement in human engineering (hooray, humans!).
But once is all you need.
Staring across a sea of clouds, gazing down into the ocean’s infinite blue, or futilely attempting to decode the Earth’s geological formations beneath you – a plane ride offers little harvestable utility.
Alternatively, crossing a country over land allows travelers to see beyond the national landmarks and tourist attractions (and to see those sights that “aren’t worth going to” unless you’re driving), and provides a better look at what really distinguishes countries (or even continents) from one another (or, perhaps a look at what makes us all not so different (wow, so profound)).
Trains, buses, cars, bicycles, or even on foot – get outside the population centers into the world, the real world, and see what planes make us all take for granted (but usually not buses, because I’ve been on buses more vile than adult movie theater bathrooms, and I’ve been to a lot of adult movie theaters (I’m so lonely)).
I feel silly even addressing this due to it being so blatantly obvious, but who out there can honestly say that they love going to the airport?
Sure, going to the airport thrills travelers anxious to get vacations underway, but the airport alone does not evoke emotions of excitement – it’s the destination.
If shopping at already overpriced stores and paying Disneyland prices for drinks excites you, then perhaps you enjoy time spent wandering about the terminal.
If you like being treated like a criminal, and made to think that everyone else around you is suspect, then maybe you enjoy the atmosphere at your local airport.
Stripping away the vacation excitement factor, airports are just heavily regulated train stations. Where else do you endure the same level of security and harassment as an airport?
AIRPLANES ARE UNCOMFORTABLE
Yes, we all know that something called first class exists, and yes, we all know that you get nothing short of a ball-tickling in the first class cabin, but if I wanted to pay an outrageous amount for something completely unnecessary and ultimately worthless, then I would buy Beats headphones or stay at the ICEHOTEL.
God forbid you find yourself in a middle seat (does anyone understand airplane seat etiquette? Middle seat gets the armrests, people – and if your fat is pouring over the armrests into the seat next to you, then you’ve got bigger (hah, bigger) problems).
Airplanes use “more leg room” as a selling point. What does this mean? It means that airlines know their planes are uncomfortable, and that they are happy to charge you $40 for a “preferred seat” with six inches more space.
Fuck you, airplanes.
CHECKING YOUR BAGS
I have already detailed my thoughts on this subject in “Why You Should NEVER Check a Bag“, now is a good time to revisit the question of checked baggage.
Airplane travel forces you to part with your bags (to pay to part with your bags) and to place them into the care of the airlines (how much confidence does this inspire, really?).
Maybe your bags will be lost, perhaps your valuables will be stolen, or maybe, and this is worst case scenario, maybe you will forget your snacks in your checked baggage (but don’t worry, there’s a McDonald’s in the terminal).
Layers of mystery veil the science behind airfare prices.
Voices across the internets claim to have the correct system for decoding the least expensive airfare, but ultimately we are all subject to the whims and speculations of the airlines.
The reality is, that no matter what you do, 99% of the time, someone sitting in a seat just as terrible as yours, paid less than you did for it.
And during your flight, should you want to purchase anything on-board, expect to pay a measurable percentage of your airfare for any food or drink beyond five peanuts and a glass of water (soda or juice if you’re lucky – maybe even the entire can).