I am fortunate enough to get to fly several times each year. I have a few work trips each year and a few personal trips - mostly to see family - repeat trips to the same places. I know the Orlando airport as well as my home airport, and the American Airlines gate agent in Orlando recognized me this trip. It is easy to become complacent about yet another trip.
I can remember when a trip to Florida was something people planned for months, saved up for and got excited about. Not so for me anymore. And yet there is an adventure in each trip. On the most recent trip I saw a bald eagle, a feral pig, a stork, and enough tropical birds to stock a small zoo. I visited dear friends and family - some maybe for the last time (my boss asked about my trip and then asked if I visited anyone who was well on the trip - I did, Blitz the Wonder dog has lost a little weight and is doing very well.) I enjoyed the change in winter weather. When I dropped off the rental car I had driven 710 miles in four days, I don't drive that much in my car in four months.
I sometimes wonder where the plane has been. I have been a lot of places, but there are still places for me to explore. I wonder if the plane has been to the two states I have not been to. What islands in the Caribbean has it been to that I have yet to explore? I wonder who has sat in this seat, first time flyers excited about going to Florida, someone on the way to meet a new love, someone going home for a funeral, or traveling for the last time - as their personal adventure is coming to an end. Filling those seats is what keeps the airlines flying.
Sometimes the person sitting next to me has a story to tell and is eager for a willing ear, sometimes not. I always ask, if they are headed out or headed home. Everyone has an answer for that. One time the guy sitting next to me on a cross country flight, grunted, took a pill and sent a text message that read "I took the second Xanax, I will wake up over California" and promptly went to sleep for five hours. One person spent the next half hour telling me that she was headed to her childhood home to clean it out for the last time - another explained that she was returning to have her furniture packed and shipped to her new home in the middle east. I sat next to a guy one time who was a consultant who fired people for a living - he joked you never want to see me coming into your office unless you have hired me.
I feel very secure flying. Airliners are masterpieces of engineering, even after an emergency landing a few years ago, I eagerly took my seat on the next flight. Rough weather can make it difficult to hold my Coke Zero, but really is no danger to the plane. The guys and gals up front, are planning to make it home safe, I am just along for the ride.
What do you think about when you fly?