Nobody likes air travel. Unless you can afford to fly in business or first class, of course, but since the price of a business-class ticket is more or less the same as our family’s annual food budget, that’s not really within our reach. Flying economy class seems to be universally scorned: the seats are cramped, the food is bad, you generally spend eight hours with the kid in the row behind kicking your seat and screaming when the change in pressure makes his ears hurt.
Not much fun, you might think.
But when I stop to think about it, even cattle-class air travel is pretty remarkable. Think about it: you pay £500 or so to fly from London to Toronto, a journey of eight hours. During those eight hours you sit in a cushioned seat, are brought a choice of meals which are served in front of you, are able to choose from an entire trolleyful of beverages, and are entertained with pretty much any film, TV programme, or music that you care to play, through your own personal headphones. And as if that wasn’t enough you even have a button which you can press to have someone dash over and respond to your every whim. And as if THAT wasn’t enough, at the end of the trip you emerge from the plane to discover that you have arrived on the other side of the world, in the beautiful and pleasant country known as Canada.
I know I may be swimming against the tide here – I’ve had a few unpleasant flights myself, including one from Cyprus to London which featured a fist-fight in the check-in queue and one from Toronto to London during which my beloved son screamed for six hours straight – but can you think of any other form of transport which takes you across the world for what is still a relatively modest cost and waits on you hand and foot all the way?
Air travel still seems pretty miraculous to me. Then again I have two children, so the thought of spending eight hours watching films and drinking ginger ale seems like paradise at the moment…