The eternal question, should we drive or should we fly? As the world continues to evolve politically, economically, and socially, the decision regarding our preferred method of travel evolves as well. When we envision air travel, we think of speed. When we envision a road-trip, we think of traffic. Regarding long distance travel, the decision between these two popular methods used to be a no-brainer, but with the cost of airfare rising sharply, coupled with security concerns and stress in the airport, the long drive is once again becoming an option.
The image of air travel just isn’t what it used to be. We can look back at the televised footage and reminisce. It was once referred to as the golden age of aviation. The 1950’s were exciting when it came to mass transit by air. Things could not be better. Airlines advertised comfort combined with timely arrival at almost any glamorous destination. The economics of the airlines were sound. Passengers were treated with great respect, almost as though they were celebrities. Airlines were growing at a record pace and the flying public benefited most. The glory days have long since passed however. The terrorist attacks on New York forever changed the way we look at aviation. The word hijack always meant that an aircraft was being forced to travel to some unplanned destination. That all changed in 2001 as aircraft full of passengers were used as weapons. The airline industry has never recovered. There were financial struggles in previous decades as some major airline became unable to compete, but this incident was different. The fear of flying had been invoked in many people who otherwise would enjoy commercial air travel.. Airports have evolved into secure fortresses, and passengers can expect scrutiny, enhanced screening, x-ray machines, and very personal pat-downs. Lines at airports have become longer and slower. Airline fees have skyrocketed and in many cases even your baggage needs to settle up with the airline. In many cases, passengers are losing patience with the airlines and taking to the roads instead.
Travel by car is not always the answer either, yet there are more individuals driving long distances today than ever before. This choice is made intentionally to avoid the stress of flying. Although traveling by highway has its own set of problems. There is this thing called traffic. No one wants to be stuck in traffic, but our roadways seem to be more crowded than ever. The highways and byways surrounding larger cities are the hardest hit. Road construction is another issue that plagues our roads. Road construction is an unavoidable delay and detours are never easy or convenient. High gasoline prices are also a factor. The cost of driving long distances has risen substantially in recent years. The biggest advantage to long distance travel by automobile seems to be safety and security. People naturally feel safer on the ground and far away from airport.
Travelers need to take some time before planning their trip. The choice between driving and flying is not always so simple. Compare airfare for each passenger versus overall fuel expense. When calculating travel time by air, it is important to remember not only the flight time, but the cushion of time required prior to your flight’s departure. Travelers must also consider the time it takes to find airport parking. Upon arrival at your destination, the time it takes to secure a rental car and then complete the journey to a hotel or place of business. Travelers must also take into consideration the possibility of delays due to inclement weather as well as airport delays to due crowds passing through security. Use of a pencil and paper to compare driving versus flying can produce some interesting results and every traveler should take the time to explorer their options.