The Guideposts executive editor reflects on why air travel is a blessing.
I’ve often felt that if Dante were alive today he’d put airline travel somewhere in the seven circles of hell. The agony of waiting, going through security, having your flight canceled, coping with bad weather, coping with rude passengers, getting knee-whacked by the flight attendant’s cart, finding that the one place you want to travel can only be reached with a five-hour layover in O’Hare…in short, the experience can be infernal. And yet, flying often puts us in touch with the people we love.
The other day I had to fly back from Portland, Oregon to New York City. There was one direct flight, but it would get me in pretty late. The other options had me changing flights all over the map.
The only thing that looked possible had a two-and-a-half-hour layover in Long Beach, California—not exactly the shortest route between two points. At least I wouldn’t be too far from where my boys both go to college. Maybe I’d give them a call from the airport.
A few emails passed through cyberspace and then a phone call from Portland. “We’ll meet you for breakfast,” my older son, William, said. “But what about your classes?” I asked. “Neither Tim nor I have anything until noon,” he said.
The plane dipped over the Pacific and dropped into a tropical-looking paradise. Will and Tim pulled up at the curb in their borrowed-from-a-cousin, held-together-by-prayers old station wagon, and we drove off to a coffee shop at the surf’s edge. The hour and a half we spent together was worth every minute of flying. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the miracle of flight—how easy it is to forget what a miracle it is—we wouldn’t have been together.
Let me change that suggestion for Dante. Put modern air travel up in the heavens. It’s a blessing and worth remembering that’s so.
Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.