Since starting my own CPA firm, the amount of time I spend out of town has dropped dramatically. Yeah! That lets me see air travel through a new perspective. You road warriors are bored with the wonders of the modern era. Just got back today from a class in Denver. That makes two times in 2010 I’ve been on an airplane trip.
The contrast is sharper since we toured the Molly Brown Museum in Denver, which focused on life in 1912. So consider this in contrast to a week or more crossing the ocean:
This morning my wife and I woke up in Denver. At lunchtime, we were in our home. At the security area, we quickly made it through the rarely-stopping line because there were 8 sets of 3 or 4 security people very quickly made sure the several hundred people in line didn’t take bad stuff onto the planes. For a few hundred dollars, we rented two seats on a $5 or $10 million dollar plane, a few dollars of which paid for the use of a billion dollar or so airport facility in Denver. We had the no-charge use of air traffic control system that allowed several dozen other planes to take off within a few minutes of us. We travelled half-way across the country at an elevation that would suffocate you in a few minutes, but don’t worry about no air because at those temperatures, you’d probably freeze to death first, but none of that is a problem because that multi-million dollar plane (available to anyone for a few hundred bucks) made temperature and air feel like we were still at the airport in Denver. Did I mention that two hours in the air took us 819 miles? Oh, a few more bucks of the ticket price paid for the services of two skilled, well trained flight attendants and two exquisitely skilled pilots, all of whom could have calmly handled any kind of crisis but were probably bored to tears by the highly routine flight.
Oh yeah, there were maybe 2,000 other uneventful, safe flights like that today, the overwhelmingly vast majority of which arrived on-time.
Finally, that huge ballet of big planes, tons of crew members, thousands of ground crew, and billions upon billions of infrastructure? It is in operation every day of the year. Every day. Boringly routine.
Amazing. Astounding when you think about it.