In the past three days, I’ve traveled across the country and back on four different flights. There a lot of things I could complain about. These include:
Not enough leg room – this is dehydrating – too hot – what sort of asshole reclines his seat? – too cold – delays – crying babies – sitting with strangers – wish there was more than peanuts – why do I have to drink wine from a little plastic cup? – someone touched my stuff – airplane bathrooms feel like coffins with toilets – are we there yet?
When I feel these words swirling in my head, I take a deep breath and try to view the situation with perspective. Here are some facts about flying to keep your ego grounded and your gratitude soaring.
- Having the opportunity and means to fly makes you both privileged and lucky. Most of the people on this planet will never get on a plane. Smithsonian’s Air & Space ventures that 6% of the world’s population flies in a single year.
- It’s amazing. “You’re inside a pressurized tube traveling at hundreds of miles per hour though air that’s too thin to breathe and so cold it would freeze you in seconds if you were exposed to it.” –Trip Savvy
- It’s safe. “In spite of high-profile incidents like the Malaysia Airlines disappearance, only .24 of every one million departures (about 0.000024%) of airline departures resulted in a fatal crash, for a total of 761 deaths. By contrast, approximately 1.3 million people die in road crashes every year.” –Also from Trip Savvy
- It’s good for you and your kids. Broadening your cultural perspective fosters adaptability, perspective, compassion, and a sense of wonder. –From 6 Reasons to Take Your Kids Out of the Country and 6 Ways to Make It Happen.
It’s up to us as travelers to decide how we approach our trip. And in making that decision, it’s good to look ahead to the outcome.
Are we served by fear, annoyance, and disgust?
Can we instead focus on appreciation and the wonder of global mobility?
Maybe not all of the time. But when it comes to the two different outlooks, I know who I’d rather be seated next to.