Join 3,381 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Air travel used to be prestigious and considered quite safe,
December 9, 2001 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Air travel used to be prestigious and considered quite safe, but no more. It seems like it's just one thing after another this past year for the industry. How much of a beating can such a cash-flow intensive business take? What's your feeling about flying these days?
posted by holycola (27 comments total)

 
The USA Today wrote about the blood clot thing back in August.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/healthscience/health/2001-08-20-who-usat.htm

There was a NY Times article around Thanksgiving time that also mentioned it...
posted by jacobw at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2001


Haven't flown in years, don't intend to: I always end up with sinusitis.
More on deep-vein thrombosis: Immigration minister won't revoke deportation order to Aussie woman, daughter.
posted by Carol Anne at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2001


I only fly anymore when I absolutely must fly. Even though it tags an extra day or two on my travel time, I prefer to drive. For the most part my business travel is no more far flung than up and down the East Coast corridor and as far west as Chicago.

My decision not to fly was made long before September 11th when it became apparent to me that you had best have the stature of a Billy Barty to squeeze into even business class accomodations (and I am well over 6 ft tall).
posted by MAYORBOB at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2001


I like the train. It is slow but not much slower than arriving at an airport 2 hours early then waiting for an inevitably delayed flight which then has a delayed landing at an airport that is typically quite far away from whatever city I want to get to.

Plus I can work, read, sleep or daydream with enough leg space to stretch out.
posted by srboisvert at 1:23 PM on December 9, 2001


Economy class syndrome is such a fraud. You could see the glee in people's faces when due to unpredictable health risks you might get extra footspace. Keep your faces straight people, remember to think of the victims, or they might cotton on.

And perhaps it's just me, but I think cruises have been making a comeback.
posted by holloway at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2001


srboisvert,

The only disconcerting thing about the train are the cell phone users who feel they have to speak louder than pain level just so you get the idea that they are so fucking important.
posted by MAYORBOB at 1:31 PM on December 9, 2001


I'm still much happier flying than travelling in a car. In fact I'm much happier doing anything than travelling in a car. Cars kill more people than planes ever could. And anyway, when you live in a small country surrounded by water you don't have much choice.
posted by Summer at 1:34 PM on December 9, 2001


You could see the glee in people's faces when due to unpredictable health risks you might get extra footspace.

Perhaps they are genuinely gleeful that they don't have to worry so much about the health risks involved in long flights. Particularly if they are on one of those interminably long flights between Australia and....wherever.

I was once travelling in a plane that hit a fairly heavy storm. Whilst we were going through some particularly rough turbulence, the plane was hit by lightening. It literally fishtailed in the air. When I got off the plane, there were rescue teams waiting (fortunately not required) and there was a black mark on the side of the place where I guess it was hit.

Despite the statistics, I don't enjoy flying, and only do it when I have to.
posted by lucien at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2001


Perhaps they are genuinely gleeful that they don't have to worry so much about the health risks involved in long flights. Particularly if they are on one of those interminably long flights between Australia and....wherever.
Excellent, keep up the good work lucien!
posted by holloway at 1:53 PM on December 9, 2001


I love flying. In fact, what with the fear presently attached to this wonderful form of travel, it's behome a bit of an extreme sport. It's a bit invigorating to hop on a 767 lately, and everyone stays very keyed-up through the whole flight. At the end of a flight, the people tend to do a bit of subliminal group bonding since there was such a perceived element of danger; a sort of collective thought along the lines of "We made it, what heroes we must be." On the 20th, I'm taking a totally unnecessary flight from LA to Reno (a distance I'd usually drive) due, in part, to the excitement of flying. I encourage everyone to do the same.
posted by phalkin at 3:34 PM on December 9, 2001


I hate to fly. I hated it pre-9/11, and I hate it still.

Our corporate office is some 700 miles from my office, and yet two of the three times I've gone there on business I've preferred to drive rather than fly (the one time I flew it was because I was accompanying my supervisor who has no problem with flying).

I know that statistically flying is far safer than driving, and yet I can't quite wrap my mind around it intellectually. After all, if the engine in my car stalls, I simply coast to the side of the road instead of falling 35,000 feet.

Anything under about a thousand miles, and I'll see the U.S.A. in my Chevrolet.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:48 PM on December 9, 2001


Oh, BTW, the first front-page link is munged.

Correction here.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:51 PM on December 9, 2001


generally speaking, i've never minded flying, but i always imagine the worst-case scenario when i get on a plane. prior to sept 11th, it was engine failure or some sort of mechanical issue with the plane that would lead to a crash. i don't dwell on it, and i wouldn't refrain from flying because of it, but let's just say my heart races when the plane jerks and the crew hasn't said anything about turbulence.

i've flown twice since sept 11th and will fly again in a couple of weeks. oddly enough, the possibility of a hijacking really doesn't scare me and focusing on it has helped me not think about potential mechanical failures, (as absurd as it seems.) the rationale: a hijacking seems remotely in the realm of my control. even if the hijacker has a weapon i can fantasize about attacking the hijacker and maybe stopping it, however unrealistic that may be. my increased comfort with flying is still totally irrational, as hijacking certainly doesn't preclude engine failure, but the change of focus has made my immediate fears seem more controllable and it really is a *control* issue. this is why a lot of people would rather drive than fly, despite the fact that driving is statistically far more dangerous. people think that as long as they're in the driver's seat, they're in control.
posted by lizs at 5:56 PM on December 9, 2001


Cars kill more people than planes ever could.That is a useless statistic to me; What I think about is car wrecks have more survivors than deaths, plane crashes have few if any survivors, plus the hassle and stress at airports is ugly. Next summers vacation will be in a cadillac.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2001


I love flying. I also love driving. But I'm much more frightened of driving my car than flying in a plane. When my front right tire blew on the highway yesterday it was far scarier than anything I've ever experienced in a plane.
posted by Bones423 at 8:05 PM on December 9, 2001


I know that statistically flying is far safer than driving, and yet I can't quite wrap my mind around it intellectually. After all, if the engine in my car stalls, I simply coast to the side of the road instead of falling 35,000 feet.

Cars kill more people than planes ever could.That is a useless statistic to me; What I think about is car wrecks have more survivors than deaths, plane crashes have few if any survivors...


Sad. Sad. Sad. C'mon people! Don't let the vividness of the evidence outweight its true signficance. You drive 1000 miles in a car vs. 1000 miles in a plane. You are almost 100 times as likely to have a fatal accident in the car. I would bet a leading cause of death is human error in both planes and car accidents. With cars, we let just about everyone drive with virtually no training. There's also a lot more drivers to make stupid mistakes. I hope your driving is better than your risk analysis. Here's some reading material.
posted by hitsman at 8:16 PM on December 9, 2001


...reading material (odd, that link worked when I tested it in the preview).
posted by hitsman at 8:17 PM on December 9, 2001


A formerly happy flyer, my daughter made reservations for a flight home for Thanksgiving break from Santa Barbara (UCSB) to SFO way before 9/11. After I read in the SF Chronicle that United (the only carrier that flies direct between SBA and SFO) was cutting 40% of its flights post 9/11, and told her about it, she called her travel agency to see if either of her flights had been cancelled, and was asked by the travel agent, "How did you know about that?" They hadn't bothered to inform her. Making new arrangements, which included a rush hour drive from West Marin to pick her up at SFO, demonstrated just how much flying sucks now. At least 1/3 of SFO's parking garage is now closed off, & you can only meet incoming passengers in the ugly, cold, all-gray, downstairs baggage area. On her return trip home, after verifying via Internet & phone that her flight was on time, she was told 5 minutes before takeoff that it was cancelled. She managed to grab a seat on a flight to LAX and then to SBA, after waiting at SFO all alone for 3 hours and bursting into tears when the gate person said she couldn't take that flight. She waited another 1-1/2 hrs. at LAX for her connecting flight and was 4 hrs. late for work that day. She complained to United & asked them to reimburse her for her lost wages but they said they couldn't do that & instead, they sent her a $50 voucher good for any United flight. Now who would want to fly with United, or anyone else again, after that? (Sorry about the length, but I've needed to vent about this for a long time.)
posted by Lynsey at 9:58 PM on December 9, 2001


Flying feels more dangerous because plane crashes still make the news and we see their awful carnage on television. These images affect us the next time we climb aboard a cramped vehicle we can't control (or really even see outside of).

We know cars are more statistically dangerous but we don't hesitate to take the risk because we're in control of the vehicle.

This reminds me of my Mother, who, in the 70s, would not wear a seatbelt when she drove, even though she made us wear them. Her logic? That she had the steering wheel to hold onto in the event of an accident.

So tell me? What's so scary about flying? The perceived danger? Or the lack of control? Seems to me it's always the uptight pervs who can't stand flying. Put them in a nice, big SUV please.

That said, plane crashes are awful, and I think I'd rather die in a car crash than a plane crash if I had to pick one.
posted by scarabic at 12:15 AM on December 10, 2001


to be blunt, i just do not understand why anyone is scared of flying after sept 11. bunch of wimps
posted by quarsan at 12:48 AM on December 10, 2001


I have been flying much more since 9/11. The fares are cheaper, standbys on earlier flights are available much more often, the flights seems to be much more on time, and fewer passengers equates to putting up the armrest and enjoying the extra space. The extra time eaten by security is not really all that more than what I experienced before 9/11.

...and although I was right in the middle of the Atlanta fiasco, my total travel time was still less than half than what driving to DC would have taken, and much less stressful than driving as well.

I am enjoying it while it lasts, which probably will be no more than a couple more months once other frequent fliers notice.
posted by mischief at 5:29 AM on December 10, 2001


I love flying. It's crashing I hate.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2001


I like flying and I don't find is stressful at all.

I think it's because of my easy-going personality. As other passangers are fuming over flight delays or bitching their ass off because they feel like they should be treated like kings cause they bought their economy class ticket, I stay positive and do something enjoyable to pass the time.

On another note, anyone who fell for the "get to the airport 2 hours before your flight" bit is a sucker. I don't even do that for international flights. Never had a problem.
posted by Witold at 9:46 AM on December 10, 2001


I am flying to Maui this Friday (honeymoon...whoopee!!!) and am admittedly scared shitless...but then again, i always have been, during take-off and landing...but my buddy pointed out so assuringly to me that if I don't fly out of Newark....
posted by adampsyche at 10:55 AM on December 10, 2001


On another note, anyone who fell for the "get to the airport 2 hours before your flight" bit is a sucker.

It depends entirely on the airport and their security checkpoint "flow" rate. It can even depend on the specific terminal you use in a given airport. I have been to O'Hare twice since 9/11. The United terminal (Terminal 1) had lines of at least one hour just to get to the magnetometers. The other terminals were significantly better.

"Non-suckers" trying to board a United flight with less than 1.5 hrs. advance time would have been spending the night at O'Hare.
posted by Mid at 11:02 AM on December 10, 2001


At Atlanta Hartsfield, "get to the airport 2 hours before your flight" was the rule of thumb on Monday and Friday mornings BEFORE 9/11, otherwise you risked missing your flight due to traffic on the interstates.
posted by mischief at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2001


Since 9/11 I have gone through SFO four times, Minneapolis, LAX, Atlanta, Orlando, and DFW. Not once has it taken me more than 15 minutes to get from the cab to my gate.

The true suckers are those who check bags and have to wait in those lines. Even the times I've been pulled aside at the security check for a full cavity search it has been quick and painless.

Actually had a whole row to myself on a flight yesterday. Very nice.

The way I see it, the odds of anything happening, even in the current climate are so small that it is silly to focus on the risk. I have felt no reservations about flying since 9/11.
posted by obfusciatrist at 12:42 PM on December 10, 2001


« Older (some) British Muslims...  |  One idea a day... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments