When It Was Fun to Fly

Salon’s weekly “Ask the Pilot” column recalls the days when lots of people actually looked forward to getting on an airliner (me–I still like flying, even though the whole experience around it has become creepy and unpleasant):

“… [T]ry to imagine the following: You wake up early for the 45-minute subway ride to Logan International Airport in Boston. The shuttle bus brings you to Terminal C, where you stand in line to be frisked and X-rayed before reaching an overcrowded departure lounge. Half an hour later your flight pushes back, languishes in a taxiway queue for several minutes, then finally takes off. So far this is nothing exceptional, but here’s the twist: The plane’s scheduled destination is, well, Boston. The jet never climbs to more than 10,000 feet. It makes a lazy circuit above the North Shore coastline, swings eastward toward Cape Cod, then circles west in the direction of Logan. Fifteen minutes later, the landing gear clunks into place, and just like that you’re back where you started. You disembark, with smiles and handshakes all around, head for the shuttle bus, and take the subway home again.”

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