By all rights this should have been the year that a lot of Americans would make long road trips to avoid being in an airport and dealing with the smells of dirty socks, and things far worse, in addition to other modern indignities tied to air travel that we've learned to live with. Not to mention the virus.
And even in The Before Times there were plenty of reasons to avoid airports on one of the heaviest travel weeks of the year.
For one thing, planes never get fully aired out anymore, with crews not opening the rear hatches while the plane sits on the ground just to let some airflow into the cabin. Just about the only real connection the cabin has is via the jetway to the interior of the airport. The smell isn't any better but at least there's air conditioning, which does more than recirculate the smells of farts combined with jet fuel exhaust from the engines. Another reason is that even in The Before Times there were scarcely any flights that would not be described as "completely full" by the gate agents via the too-loud PA system, and this goes for flights departing during such popular times as 5:40AM.
But the overall volume of domestic air travel in the U.S. doesn't seem particularly unhealthy until you visit a country where people aren't being crammed into planes built during the Reagan administration, on their way across the country to some sales meeting that lasts 30 minutes. One would think the pandemic would have put an end to increasingly pointless business travel. But even before it's over, the airlines are anxious to cram their flying Greyhound buses with travelers to keep the stockholders happy.
Additionally, this could have been the year that those with cars would elect to drive to avoid flying or simply stay home, especially during a pandemic wave that is set to eclipse the first one in March. But this Thanksgiving travel season still saw two of the busiest air travel days of the pandemic last Saturday and Friday, with Friday alone seeing just over 1 million air travelers.
Even decoupled from the dangers of the pandemic, what has been the distance that you would elect to drive to avoid flying in the past?
Is it as short as just 300 miles, or would you elect to drive ten hours or more if you could, just to not have to deal with the horrors of airline travel?
Let us know in the comments below.