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Fear of flying

I have a return flight that leaves tonight. But I can't get through to the airline.

For the jetsetter, Tuesday's events have a direct impact on future air travel. Flying, for me, has become as common as taking mass transit. It's a mindless activity. The difference now is that I'm suddenly conscious of my vulnerability.

In Europe, the check-in time for any European destination is one hour. I have come as close as half-hour with check-in luggage. A two hour check-in would greatly inconvenience me. However, a three-hour check-in for international departures from the US seems unnecessary.

Convenience is one thing. Safety is another. What more can airlines do to alleviate safety concerns among its passengers? I have clocked millions of miles without incident. How could the horrors of Black Tuesday make any difference?

My sister begged me to make fewer trips. Each time I fly, I subject myself to risks. This is why my brother prefers to drive. But how can I reduce my trips abroad when my work requires it? Furthermore, it's good to see friends and family face to face.

Flying is not my favourite mode of transportation. I prefer cycling and travelling by train. But switching to my mountain bike would mean a drastic change in my lifestyle. Besides, what should I do with all those airmiles I collected?

15 September 2001 Saturday