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Flying: A Necessary Evil
Old 03-22-2015, 01:12 PM   #1
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Flying: A Necessary Evil

We're in our late 50's, not yet retired, and recently returned from a lovely week in the Caribbean. The trip home was enough to make us consider driving everywhere in the future, so I guess it's a good thing we got the Caribbean off the list, because that would be a tough drive.

The day before we were to return home, we are notified our connecting flight has been cancelled. We can get off the island and fly to the east coast, but the connecting flight home is cancelled. Our only option is to make the trip home in two more plane changes, with a 10 hour layover.

Leaving the island, we are stranded in the plane, in the heat, for ~3 hours, while they tried to figure out why there was an extra 2000 lbs. of weight. About 15 people voluntarily got off for $$$$, and off we go, flying into a snow storm. Rough flight, they lost our luggage, screaming babies, I think you get the picture.

Even though we had a lovely week, the trip home will be the stinky cheese in our memories. I never really loved flying, but it seems my last few times have been riddled with problems that almost make me thing it's just not worth it.

I need to learn to roll with the punches, but the older you get, the less appealing sleeping in an airport, or not getting to use the restroom, or not having regular meals becomes. Anyone else?
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:18 PM   #2
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I think your subject line says it all.

We only fly when we have to. Cross country driving doesn't bother me at all, so it's not a problem.

Very occasionally we need a long flight (over 2,000 miles is what I call long), so we grit our teeth and submit to the experience.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:23 PM   #3
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I never really loved flying
Seconded. The only positive about flying is (generally) getting to your chosen destination quicker than if you'd walked.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:25 PM   #4
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You captured it. The airlines and TSA stupidity have persuaded me that the only airplanes I'll fly in have one or two engines and are not commercial. I don't respond well to being treated like cattle.

Small airports are neat. You can be climbing out 15 minutes after driving onto the airport property.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:34 PM   #5
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I not only hate flying, I'm getting to the point where I despise driving as well.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:57 PM   #6
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We're in our late 50's, not yet retired, and recently returned from a lovely week in the Caribbean. The trip home was enough to make us consider driving everywhere in the future, so I guess it's a good thing we got the Caribbean off the list, because that would be a tough drive.

The day before we were to return home, we are notified our connecting flight has been cancelled. We can get off the island and fly to the east coast, but the connecting flight home is cancelled. Our only option is to make the trip home in two more plane changes, with a 10 hour layover.

Leaving the island, we are stranded in the plane, in the heat, for ~3 hours, while they tried to figure out why there was an extra 2000 lbs. of weight. About 15 people voluntarily got off for $$$$, and off we go, flying into a snow storm. Rough flight, they lost our luggage, screaming babies, I think you get the picture.

Even though we had a lovely week, the trip home will be the stinky cheese in our memories. I never really loved flying, but it seems my last few times have been riddled with problems that almost make me thing it's just not worth it.

I need to learn to roll with the punches, but the older you get, the less appealing sleeping in an airport, or not getting to use the restroom, or not having regular meals becomes. Anyone else?
Assuming you were returning home to a northern state and that flight to your home airport was cancelled as a result of weather? Winter flying is always subject to weather and for a lot of the country this particular winter, especially February, sucked. But we'll put up with flying to get to leave that winter and cabin fever for a week or two of sunshine and seashore. Driving in an ice storm amid trucks returning from a southern destination was much harder stresswise for me than flying is.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:00 PM   #7
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Have always enjoyed flying. Private, commercial, transport... any chance to get into the air. Must agree though that the TSA and some of the domestic carriers are seemingly making a concerted and determined effort to take the joy out of it. I'm sad that I only caught the tail end of the glory days of commercial aviation. Would have loved to have flown on an airship or a Clipper. And just who the heck decided to mothball Concorde!
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:00 PM   #8
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I had to travel a fair amount for the j*b, never on direct flights, and remember those horrendous delays. I was on govt orders, so the likelihood of being bumped was non-existent. I cannot imagine doing that now as a regular citizen.
Post FIRE, I haven't flown since 2010. I went on a weekday on a direct flight from SYR to ORL on JetBlue. It was very enjoyable. The plane was full of kids and adults who were on their way to the Disney complex. Lots of smiles and positive energy all around.
I have to admit I do not want to face the current airline experience, judging from the threads I've read here. I'm glad I got my traveling in when I was younger more patient with air travel related hassles and the flying experience was more positive.
I've been to the Caribbean 4x, I've been to Europe 3x, and assorted places in the domestic US many times. Good enough for me for now.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:02 PM   #9
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Driving in an ice storm amid trucks returning from a southern destination was much harder stresswise for me than flying is.
Only because you didn't know what was going on in the very front two seats of the airplane!
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:13 PM   #10
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Only because you didn't know what was going on in the very front two seats of the airplane!
Those are little planes that should have been de-iced? Really sad stories there--I remember when the plane Dick Ebersol was on crashed and his son died. My last flight out of Chicago on a big plane was delayed so it could be de-iced just before taking off in a snowstorm. Still less stressful than driving in an icestorm with semis sliding off the Interstate.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:21 PM   #11
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During my work career, I logged over 4,000,000 miles on one carrier alone; probably 6,000,000 in all over a 30 year span.

The thing I learned about air travel is that you have to stay flexible, be patient and roll with whatever comes your way.

If you try to maintain a rigid schedule or cut your timing to close, you'll go mad.

One of the benefits of being retired is that the "roll with whatever comes your way" part is even easier, despite now having to pay my own way.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:32 PM   #12
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And just who the heck decided to mothball Concorde!
Economics, sadly. (and that nasty crash on the last flight ever).

Fortunately, I did have the opportunity to make two separate flights on the Concorde back in the day.

Cool, in it's own noisy, cramped way. Interesting seatmates however!!
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:44 PM   #13
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I find flying bothersome as well, and love road trips. Before I retired, I flew to save time. Now retired, I drive to enjoy the journey. Every day brings new adventures on a road trip. I'm in the middle of a 5000 mile road trip now.


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Old 03-22-2015, 02:59 PM   #14
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We didn't fly anywhere for 10 years. When we took up flying again, we decided it wasn't so bad after all.

After that we started flying once or twice a year again.

It all comes down to timing and convenience. Living not far from a smallish city airport that still has lots of connecting flights/reasonable airline competition helps.

P.S. Fulltime RVing for 5 years may have made us more open to other modes of transportation.
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Old 03-22-2015, 03:00 PM   #15
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Totally agreed. I still like flying when I'm sitting in a window seat in Business Class sipping a glass of wine, with no concern about making a connection. That's about 1% of the time. Over the years, DH and I have chosen more and more to drive rather than fly. This year we drove from the KC area to Austin for a family wedding and will do it again for another wedding in Atlanta. We'll make our annual Christmas road trip to the Carolinas at Christmas and visit multiple family members in different cities.


We're going to Iceland n August- OK, can't drive there, but I've carefully built something that minimizes the headaches and risks of flying.


1. Flying to Boston 2 days early. I think that gives us a good shot at getting there in time for our flight to Reykjavik!


2. 2+ hour layovers on our flights to/from home and BOS. Those, of course, can be cut to as little as 30 minutes if they change schedules but usually if you call right away and a later flight is available you can get it at no charge.


3. Flight from BOS to Reykjavik is a nonstop. It's also Business Class, meaning we can use the Elite TSA line if one is available.


4. Lounge access through or Business Class flights on IcelandAir plus, probably, a $99 30-day pass to the Admiral's Club for our domestic flights- I can buy it and bring DH in as a guest. A quieter space, comfy couches and free booze help a lot.


4. Trip insurance for the really bad stuff. No one can do much about the volcanoes!


It is SO freeing to be out on the open road, to stop and eat/use the bathrooms when we want, to pack whatever is needed and not worry about how many containers or what they weigh or what might get stolen out of them, etc. It's sad. Flying is now something we endure to get to where we're going.
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Old 03-22-2015, 03:52 PM   #16
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I flew enough while working to know that if I never fly again it will be too soon. If it's too far to drive I will take a train.
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Old 03-22-2015, 04:22 PM   #17
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Everyone has good stories to tell about memorable (good or bad) flights.

Here's one of mine.

I made regular flights (as a passenger) in Brazilian Air Force cargo planes (C-130s). On long flights (and there were many very long ones), many of us brought a hammock. You could attach the ends to stanchions in the cargo bay, put in your earplugs nice and tight, and stretch out for a good nap.

The USAF or FAA would have gone ballistic if they had seen such a thing, but the Brazilians were nonchalant about it. Dangerous? You bet! But good for morale? Absolutely!
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Old 03-22-2015, 04:54 PM   #18
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Those are little planes that should have been de-iced? Really sad stories there--I remember when the plane Dick Ebersol was on crashed and his son died. My last flight out of Chicago on a big plane was delayed so it could be de-iced just before taking off in a snowstorm. Still less stressful than driving in an icestorm with semis sliding off the Interstate.
Driving in snow and ice is horrible which is why I don't do it. When I travel I don't have a specific date I need to leave or return. I went down to Florida in late January and planned to come back in early March. I was planning to head back on the 2nd but there was a snow storm in Tennessee and Kentucky so I waited 4 days for it to go thru and clear up. No big deal to wait a few extra days. Now if I was working for someone else and had to be back at a certain time then it could have been a problem. If you're Fired or self employed with leeway in your schedule like me then you can alter your schedule easily to avoid the bad weather.
To me the least stressful way to travel is to drive leisurely with leeway in your schedule.
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Old 03-22-2015, 05:13 PM   #19
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Disagree. Flying commercial carriers may be a necessary evil.

It has been over 15 years since my last commercial flight, that was a disgusting experience, and will never again set foot in a commercial airport unless picking up somebody or dropping folks off.

Most anyplace else I want to get to, can be done by other means. Crossing oceans can be done on freighters for example. If flying is absolutely the only way, like getting to a bush camp, will cough up the cash and charter a two seater. I had many years of flying in chartered airplanes and helicopters in and to an from Alaska, far east, Europa etc.

TSA sucks, all it is, is security theater with a good bit of passanger abuse thrown in.
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Old 03-22-2015, 05:25 PM   #20
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We don't fly anywhere any more. We don't like the intrusive security measures (as necessary as they probably are). We also don't have much desire to travel so it isn't a hardship for us at all. Not traveling by air in retirement was an intentional decision.

But what wasn't intentional, and surprised us both, is that the trips to other states by car that we loved so much prior to retirement no longer have any appeal for us either, now that we are retired. I guess there's really nothing to get away from any more.

Come to think of it, other than our Hurricane Isaac evacuation to MS/AL back in 2012, we haven't even been further away from home than an hour's drive by car since we retired. We like being at home.
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I flew enough while working to know that if I never fly again it will be too soon. If it's too far to drive I will take a train.
+1000 We have casually thought of traveling somewhere by train someday, but for us that's all. Maybe someday.
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