At my work, we operate three airplanes of the ‘business jet’ size.  They probably fly at about the same speed as an airliner although they fly a bit higher.  We frequently go to the west coast and to get there takes about 2.5 hours (based on the last flight).  I’ve flown on our planes several times but usually fly commercially. 

Let’s compare that with how long it takes to go that far on an airliner.  The last time I had to go to LAX, I had to show up at the local airport at the crack of dawn (to get through security in time) and by the time we got our baggage at LA, it was after lunch.  What with the time zone corrections, it effectively took me six hours.  But we weren’t actually going to LA; we were meeting up with our own aircraft someplace else which took another two hours to drive to so while our plane made the trip in a little less than three hours, it took me about eight hours on commercial airliners and cars.  Our plane flew from Tulsa directly to its final destination in central California.  I flew from Tulsa to Dallas/Fort Worth to Los Angeles and drove from there.

And that is why I don’t consider air travel if I can drive it in a day.

I have enough frequent flyer miles to get Melissa and me a round trip to anywhere in the lower 48 but these have restrictions.  The best I could come up with was a trip that will involve three legs (two plane changes) and traveling at the ass-crack of dawn both times. 

During my last visit to an aerospace museum they had a display of airline travel from the early ‘60s which featured young attractive stewardesses, actual glassware, actual metal eating utensils, good food, plenty of leg room, and well dressed passengers.  During my last flight I had none of the aforementioned things plus I had to endure a naked scanner (optional testicle-grope for those who don’t like scanners).  I never saw the cockpit because the pilots were locked into it behind a reinforced door.  They’ve gotten rid of in-flight snacks, blankets, and pillows. That’s when it hit me:

Air travel has become exactly like traveling on a prison bus.

So I guess I’ll still fly if I have to go to DC or New York where having a car would be a real pain; otherwise, I will drive. Flying your own plane would sure be nice.  They go directly to wherever they want whenever they want and the fuel stations treat you like a king.  (I must admit that the reason they treat us like kings is that we are buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of fuel.  If you were flying a little puddle jumper you’d probably be treated like you are at any old gas station.) Plus, if there are any inspections by government officials such as if you cross over into Canada, they are always really nice and it’s much less hassle than when there is a line of hundreds of people. 

If you can afford it, I highly recommend buying or chartering your own plane.  Unfortunately, I cannot do that.

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