“The Safest Way to Travel”


Picture Rebecca took flying over the Alps on Monday.

Picture Rebecca took flying over the Alps on Monday.

They shut down Tower Bridge earlier this week after finding unexploded ordinance in the area. Almost exactly a week ago, I was right by Tower Bridge, although, to be fair, on the other side from this. Kinda weird. (And, also to be fair, where I work, finding unexploded ordinance is just something that happens every so often.)

In a similar vein, and much more sobering, is that three days ago, we were admiring the beauty of the Alps as we flew over them. We landed in Huntsville a few hours before Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in those mountains.

The process of flying requires being reminded of the danger of doing so. You take off your belt and your shoes and take your laptop out and present your bottled fluids as testament to the fact that you can being killed doing what you’re about to do. You do it because you convince yourself that it won’t be you.

And, to be sure, to quote Superman, “Statistically speaking, of course, it’s still the safest way to travel.” Odds are, you’re right; it won’t be you. I fly a fair bit, and I do so without reservation. Sure, there’s danger. There’s danger driving to Target.

But it’s easy to convince yourself that there’s a REASON it won’t be you, why your flight is safer than the ones that make the news. From everything I’ve read so far about 9525, there’s no reason it was them. No reason it wasn’t us.

We put down unexpectedly at Dulles between Boston and Atlanta because we had a medical emergency on our flight. There but for the grace of God. It was inconvenient, but you can’t weigh that against the reason we were doing it. The situation was handled competently, calmly and professionally.

I was patted down at multiple airports on our honeymoon, and, afterwards, I always said thank you. The closest thing there is to “a reason” is that every time you fly, there are folks who work hard to make sure you also land.

To them, thank you.

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