I Like to Fly
As my friends and readers know I absolutely love air travel, airports and flying. That makes me somewhat of a bizarre specimen seeing as how the rest of the populace makes complaining about all of those things a water cooler sport. Inquire about anyone’s recent trip and you’re sure to get an earful about seat pitch, food, bad food, no food, fees, prices, the TSA (I concede that one), delays, no bin space, their seatmates, their luggage, their flight attendants, turbulence and everything else between the tarmac and the sky.
Read any message board and someone always chimes in with “I don’t fly – it’s better just to drive everywhere.” I surmise these people have unlimited free time, don’t live out west where cities are 600 miles apart, have no interest in foreign travel, and have no worries about falling asleep midpoint into their 16 hour drive and smashing themselves into a bridge abutment.
I love a good road trip. But I also enjoy hanging out at airports, especially my home in Denver, a well designed facility where open space abound, power outlets and internet are free and and easy to find. With technology today I can accomplish the same tasks as I’d be doing at home. I can VNC into work, edit my photos, read, watch a movie, post inane updates on Facebook – all while sitting at the airport. It’s the same thing I’d do Saturday morning at a coffee shop – while watching jumbo jets rumble around the ramps.
And I get to fly. On almost every flight there’s a least one moment where I’ve been thrilled and amazed at the view, at the fact I’m floating through the air, and at the technology that makes it all happen. I can still recall a flight in the late 90s on a Northwest DC-10 into LAX doing some holding patterns through the most incredible cloud canyons I’ve ever seen. It was like an Imax movie. Or recently witnessing an amazing left seat view of the New York City skyline during a nighttime glide into LaGuardia.
This recent flight wasn’t a special flight to somewhere exotic, rather just another Southern California weekend I’ve made dozens of times to see friends and family. In addition to finally making an upgrade (thanks due to my 2010 mileage total) this was an exceptionally beautiful trip. Certain westbound departures out of Denver climb straight up along I-70 over the Rockies, and the morning flights are spectacular. In 25 minutes you go from the eastern plains, over the downtown skyline on the left, then see the rolling foothills morph in the an endless sea of jagged snow covered peaks. For an infrequent flyer out west it’s an amazing sight. For myself who calls Colorado home it’s simply neat to spot regular landmarks like I-70, the switchbacks of US-40 to Winter Park, a completely out of place casino highrise in a canyon that looks like a train set model, and the ski resorts of Copper Mountain and Vail. Someone watching me peer out the window and taking pictures might have thought it was my first time in an airplane.
I wonder why it’s lost on so many people how amazing it is one can wake up in in the Rockies and be laying on the beach by noon, taking in the Pacific ocean. Or cross an ocean in one night. I suppose I’m easy to impress. Or equally I’m appreciate of the marvel of mankind that makes it happen – even while crammed in coach.
If you set out expecting a negative experience, you’ll more than likely find one. But if take a moment to actually breath in what you’re doing and you might find yourself feeling like you did the first time you flew.
If the below photos don’t make you want to pick a window seat on your next trip then take a read from Captain Dave’s blog - who puts the beauty of air travel into eloquent words. It’s a favorite of mine..