Have You Flown Yet?
I flew on my first flight before I was born. My mom was so pregnant with me that she could not fasten her seat belt for takeoff from Australia on our flight to Bali, Indonesia. I’ve not stopped flying since.
Well, until a global pandemic.
I went from flying over 100,000 miles per year, for decades, to nothing. Not a flight, an airport visit, or even a glance at my frequent flyer miles from May 2020 to July 2021. This was the longest I was grounded since… maybe the late 1980s.
At first, I wasn’t sure I missed all that travel. One of the small blessings of COVID-19 is the time I’ve spent with my family. We’re together every day, every week, without the interruption of dad flying off somewhere for a week or two. No time zones between us, no jet lag to cloud family time.
Then, of course, I started to miss all those I know in lands far away from Chapel Hill. Even Washington, DC seemed beyond the horizon when flights are banned. It was finally time to brave the TSA security theatre and see the world again.
I started small. Two quick trips to DC. And they felt good. The trust of takeoff. The thrill of landing far away. The familiar city buzz. The new changes, faces, and features. Better yet, the familiar faces of friends, smiling wide with happiness that we survived, and some of us thrived.
Yes, I loved flying again. I loved seeing friends. Almost as much as I loved coming home to my family, my wife, my kids. Flying is awesome. Flying home, even better.
And you? Have you flown yet? Was it the same thrill as before-times? Or has the thrill gone a bit for you too?
I flew twice since COVID started and I very much enjoyed it. My first flight was for a 10-day vacation to Greece and it felt great to be back at the airport and board a flight in the knowledge that in 2 short hours I’d be on a Greek island. The second flight was for a short weekend trip to Madrid and again it was great to go from our appartment in Vienna to being in another city for a couple of days. So for me it was definitely the same thrill as before, in fact maybe even better for these trips were personal ones whereas most of my pre-COVID flights were work related.
I have not flown. I do remember how strange it felt to venture away from home during the darkest covid time — 40 mile drive from suburban DC to Harper’s Ferry, WV for a day of hiking. After months of Zoom and Netflix and Instacart, bottles of hand sanitizer, bulk orders of toilet paper — walking around Harper’s Ferry felt dangerous and liberating at the same time. That was in January 2021. Since then, I’ve driven to the beach, New England, and Philadelphia (twice)…still haven’t been on a plane. I honestly can’t remember the last time I flew anywhere, domestic or international. Pre-covid time seems like so long ago.