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Frequent Flyer

Updated on June 9, 2010

I am, without a doubt, a very seasoned traveler, and I love traveling, but it is certainly not for the impatient, nor the faint of heart. I can spot someone new to traveling a mile away. Everything to the travel novice is a raging catastrophe, but those of us who do this often enough aren't phased even by true catastrophes. I sat on a plane once where the turbulence was so bad that the pilot sounded nervous making announcements about what was going on. I half expected one of his announcements to begin, "Let us pray..." Maybe he was a pilot in training, and new to the air, but I really wanted to assure him that turbulence is just part of flying sometimes, and that panicing was not going to help anything. Instead, I turned up my ipod. Traveling is not for the squeamish. If you walk into it afraid, one mishap that leaves you overnight in a country where they're speaking the language of, I don't know, static on a radio, and you're completely done for. You'll be curled in the fetal position, sucking your thumb with an American flag in your hand.

Even the most patient, and long-suffering of travelers still have their moments when they've just had too many delays, or too many travel glitches and they lose the best part of their ever-loving minds. Those are the times when you're completely fine with a man with a ticking suitcase and no other luggage to get a pass on a thorough security check if it keeps the line moving. Those are the times when you'd get on a plane with a giant yellow sash that says, "student flyer," if it meant leaving on time. Those are the times that not only are you not concerned about the airline losing your luggage, but you literally hate everything you own and would happily watch it go up in flames if it meant getting the heck home. In South America, where I believe it might be illegal for a plane to leave on time, parasites, and humidity had perfomed an unauthorized lobotomy on me. Therefore, when the announcement for one of the delays explained the reason as, "blah, blah, blah...mechanical trouble with the aircraft," I still wanted to take our chances. It seemed completely reasonable to me to handle airplane trouble the same way I handle all trouble with electronics---by cutting it off, and then on, to recover the plane. Was it the wheels? Because who says we need all of them--I believed the wheel thing has been exaggerated for years. Overkill. Was it one of the wings? Because maybe it was time to make history by taking a chance flying the plane without one. Why didn't they want to be pioneers? Fortunately, I was with people who were making far more sense than I, and we never presented my sound arguments to the engineers.

I've noticed in traveling that there are some pilots who take a great deal of pride in their landing. Some land as if there will be score cards at the end of the runway. I just got off one of those planes last night, and it couldn't have been smoother. However, some pilots land as if they're on a strike that starts at "we are now beginning our descent." I swore one of the planes I was on once was being flown by a terrorist, and the landing was so horrible it begged the question,'did we just land in animation?' I do believe we were upside down at one point on the runway.

I find it almost hysterical now, but when I first began to travel I was so very interested in where people were going, and where they were from, and I would stay in conversation with strangers for nearly the entire flight. These days, if I'm not flying with loved ones, I do everything in my power to sit next to a disinterested businessman. Nothing makes me happier on a plane, then seeing some dude in a suit, wearing a watch the size of an actual clock, looking annoyed, busy, and guilty. This guy certainly won't ask me what I'm reading. We will sit by each other almost completely unaware of each other's existence--and better people for it.

Glitches aside, once you've seen a little in the world, you realize you've missed a lot, and I certainly wouldn't change a thing about what I chose in travel. Happy Travels to all!

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    • ahostagesituation profile imageAUTHOR

      SJ 

      8 years ago

      Hugh and Karen right on, man, so glad you appreciate it. Lorie6 thanks for reading, and PLEASE remember these tips! sorry for this delay in response i haven't had internet access

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      You're hysterical, SJ! Thank God my fear of flying keeps me earthbound, but if I ever choose to fly again, your tips will be remembered!

    • karenmc419 profile image

      karenmc419 

      8 years ago

      YUP. I feel so much the same!!! Once I flew to Hawaii and there was a loud thump on the plane just as we were speeding up on the runway. We had to stop because of "mechanical issues". All I could think of was "Dude, take a chance."

      Last week flying to Dallas there were horrible turbulence that only annoyed me because they made me spill my drink. AND I used to make "lifelong" friendships on flights but on my last leg home from Big D I was thanking God I had gotten the plauge that made me loose my voice and made my isle mate scrunch up against the window as far away from me as possible without falling out onto the wing. I love this story. I can totally relate.

    • profile image

      Hugh 

      8 years ago

      I have no cool name except for my own ;-). I loved your article, you are so right. As a frequent traveler I have found that I do hope for an empty seat next to me, a disinterested person, or someone who speaks no English. You covered some excellent points.....I love it. Enjoy your trip.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      YOU ARE A BLAST, YOU MADE ME LAUGH AND THAT,S GOOD TOO.

      I,M TERRIFIED OF FLYING, IV,E FLOWN THREE TIMES, AND LIKE ELVIS, I WAS ALL SHOOK UP.

    • ahostagesituation profile imageAUTHOR

      SJ 

      8 years ago

      loveofnight, i'm excited for ya! Here's a secret, those of us that travel a lot love new travelers. It's all part of the fun. Have a wonderful time!

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      being someone who has never had the luxury of travel, although i am making plans to do so this summer;i will keep your advice in mind....thx 4 share

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