Paul has been passionate about travelling for over 35 years. He has been on many flights, rail, and road journeys in the US and Europe.
While it's true that there are many negatives associated with plane travel, this article lists and looks at the positives. I've been flying regularly for many years, and while I hate the experience of cramped seating, long lines, security checks, and soulless airports, I do overall still appreciate the joy of flying, as well as the benefits of being able to reach other parts of the planet within a matter of hours, often for a relatively affordable price.
Top 10 Positives of Plane Travel
Here are my 10 benefits of travelling by plane.
- Can Use Travel Time Constructively
- The Joy of Flying
- Organized and Professional
- Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Jobs and Economic Benefits
- Cultural Exchange
I explore each advantage in more detail below.
Air travel is by far the quickest mode of travel when travelling long distances, cars, buses, even high speed trains can't really compete. Add to that the fact that traveling through the sky means that planes don't have to deal with geographical obstacles like oceans, rivers, or mountains, or man-made issues like traffic jams. Planes can also avoid many weather challenges that slow or stop other types of transport.
Flying was considered to be an expensive luxury up until the latter part of the 20th Century. Nowadays, it's a relatively affordable mode of travel and prices still continue to drop in some places, thanks in part to larger passenger aircraft and technological advances. In many parts of the world, flying between cities can often be cheaper than travel by rail.
Air travel is widely considered to be one of the safest forms of transport, especially when compared to road journeys. According to USA Today, when one compares the road statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with the aviation data from the National Transportation Safety Board, the average odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident over the course of a lifetime is 1 in 98, for air transport, the equivalent odds were 1 in 7,178.
Yes, I know that conditions can often be cramped, but air travel is still relatively comfortable when compared with the alternatives. There have been many disagreeable occasions when I've had to stand on crowded trains or subways and been unable to find a rack for my luggage. Driving can be physically difficult over long journeys and there is additional mental stress for the driver, who can never fully relax. At least on a plane, you don't have to really do anything other than read, watch movies, and snooze.
5. Can Use Travel Time Constructively
Unlike with car journeys, when the driver has to focus almost entirely on the road, plane travel enables travelers to do other things. For instance, business passengers can read through and prepare reports. College students can do some background reading and studying. While the conditions may not be ideal, plane travel does often facilitate certain positive, practical, and constructive actions.
6. The Joy of Flying
Flying is an exciting and fun experience. Even though I've taken many flights in my time, I can honestly say that the thrill of taking off into the air, travelling above the clouds, and looking down on the landscapes below has never fully gone away. No other mode of transport can really offer that. There is also something amazing about taking a long flight, when you board at a familiar airport, then get off in a place where there is radically different weather, buildings, culture, and languages.
7. Organized and Professional
For sure, there are times when mistakes are made and problems occur, but generally speaking, flying is a very organized and efficient business. Modern booking processes are easy, accessible, and reliable. Planes are subjected to a high level of safety checks and maintenance. Onboard services are professional and you are looked after, with food and drinks offered regularly. Passengers and their baggage are flown around the world in an organized fashion.
8. Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
I don't think that there's anything quite like flying for getting you out of your comfort zone. There is the potential to visit virtually any country in the world. You can arrive in a new place with very different weather, terrain, and culture within a matter of hours. Your mindset can be altered almost instantly by the new opportunities, fun challenges and learning experiences.
9. Jobs and Economic Benefits
As well as providing positives for passengers, aviation can also bring wider economic benefits. Big airports require thousands of of people to operate. For example, according to Heathrow.com, London's Heathrow directly provides 76,000 people with jobs. Add to that all the employment that's supported in other parts of the tourist and travel industry, and all the money that's spent by travelers, and you can see the huge benefits for airport cities and the surrounding areas. Other economic benefits of aviation include business relationships being built through travel.
10. Cultural Exchange
Plane travel enables direct contact between people from different cultures. This might take the form of a learning experience for young people, providing them with the opportunity to develop skills and traits such as tolerance, adaptability, and confidence. It might also take the form of employment-based exchanges, where people learn different approaches to creative projects, business or work-orientated challenges.
© 2021 Paul Goodman
Liz Westwood from UK on March 16, 2021:
You make a good case for air travel. I spent days in a car as a child travelling from the UK to the south coast of France. It still blows my mind when I can take an early flight and be in Nice shortly after breakfast.