Viv (vivh) wrote,

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Flying rant!!

With Britain' airports in chaos following the "foiled plot" and increase in the UK threat level to critical, I've been reading and thinking a lot about flying.

Firstly I think that all the increased security measures will probably be ineffective in making air travel, or indeed any sort of travel, significantly safer and will certainly make travel less convenient for innocent people trying to go about their business. I think they have the added disadvantage of making people live in fear, and less willing to travel, which is surely what the terrorists want! Having said which my opinions on this matter are not of much consequence and if we want to travel by air we will simply have to play by the rules.

As there are three countries I really love, all islands, far distant from each other, I will continue to fly as long as it is possible to do so, and there are many other places I would love to visit too. But I do wonder how long it will be possible to fly for pleasure, is the great age of the aeroplane already nearly passed? I heard an article on the radio about the new airbus doubledecker plane, bigger than a 747, and wondered about the wisdom of investing time and money in that sort of project, when the whole aviation industry is under such pressure both from the terrorist threat and also from the environmental lobby. I really don't know, certainly with improved telecommunications, teleconferencing, emailing and the internet etc all available so cheaply now, there is far less need or justification for business travel than there was 20 years ago.

Certainly it was much simpler to travel by air in the past. When I first travelled by plane, I used to take cross stitch embroidery with me to do on the plane, including needles and scissors, and I used to carry a Swiss Army knife with me as a matter of course, as the single most useful tool you could have with you for all sorts of contingencies, of course no laptop or mobile phones back then, because those technologies weren't around. Now we can take nothing except absolutely essential items on to the plane, and people are bemoaning the fact, saying if they can't take a book or a pen they simply won't travel by plane any more. I think that that is nearly as ridiculous as the security measures themselves. We do not need to be entertained every moment of every day,(and many modern planes do offer a very extensive range of entertainment options in any case). For shorthaul flights such as those around Europe the journey is only a matter of a couple of hours and the inability to take entertainment with you is largely irrelevant, for the real longhauls like the transpacifics, surely a day of boredom is a small price to pay for travelling half way across the world. I have done those journeys with a restless baby sleeping on my knee and a sick preschooler in the next seat, I survived, and it was still worth the journey, so please would everyone stop moaning! I just hope that I will still have the opportunity to make those journeys in the future!!
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