Currently, I’m in a great paradox; my love for flying is conflicting with my growing need to be more sustainable. Across my 102 flights, over 19 years of travel, I’ve ignored my environmental damage. However, It’s been 436 days since my last flight, and the Covid situation has made it easier to Contemplate the thought of quitting flying once and for all (ish). I’m hoping by creating this post and describing and discussing the things I would miss from flying will encourage other travellers to consider making similar sacrifices, all at least fly less.
Scenery from Above
One of the beautiful things about flying is that you get to see the world from above. Whether it’s spotting a far distant train in your local suburb all spotting that iconic landmark, it’s always worth looking outside the window. Some of my most memorable views come from flying above Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, the Alps and the southwest of England.
Looking at Departure Boards
Photo by Jennifer Kramer
Have you ever looked at the departure board at an airport and wondered where else you could go if you had the money? No, well I have, and in my opinion, these no better thing to do while waiting for your departure gate to be announced. Terminal 3 at Heathrow is probably the best place to play. These so many diverse choices, Sydney, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong.
When flying back from Africa, I experienced exceptional luck when Qatar airways gave me a free upgrade to business class. My main memory was the overall comfort and quietness of the experience. I was able to look back at the wing and engine, gliding above the English landscape while drinking a glass of wine; it was so peaceful and made me feel so important and appreciated. However, my bucket list experience has turned out to be a curse as I’m never going to enjoy economy again.
Inflight catering and entertainment
I know most of you hate the inflight food, but I quite enjoy it. Watching the latest movies while eating dinner is a highlight on any long-haul flight. However, as discussed, this highlight is somewhat overshadowed by my business catering experience. Still, I remember KLM making me feel very special on a flight to Rio De Janerio. The catering team served my favourite meal within economy class, Lasagne with my favourite dessert Tiramisu, it was amazing; “thank you, KLM.”
Four Engine Giants
A380, 747 and even the A340 represent the pinnacle of human engineering and design. Since flying on my first jumbo to Orlando, these beast have always made my journey a little bit more special.
I will miss travelling with my favourite airline to my favourite continent Australia. These no better airline synonymous with a country than Qantas. The iconic branding of the kangaroo on the back of a red tail has been going on for 100 years, and I hate to sound like a marketing tool, but the airline offers a world-leading Passenger experience. Onboard the A380 Economy class, passengers can enjoy a unique snack bar and a food menu that’s designed to combat jet lag. Additionally, the quiet environment is ideal for enjoying one of the most extensive entertainment selections in the sky. Quitting flying would mean never travelling on their groundbreaking nonstop service from Heathrow to Perth, all another trip on their A380 to Sydney.
Last Chance to visit disappearing Islands
photo by Dany13 on flickr
Unfortunately, due to climate change, rising seas will see many beautiful islands disappear underneath the waves. Limited flight consumption would mean missing out on the chance of visiting Marshal islands, Maldives, Palau, Fiji, Seychelles, French Polynesia, areas of the Philippines and many more.
Value for Money
Low-cost carriers have allowed airfares that are regularly cheaper than train fares and at times more affordable than coach travel. The extra cost of travel will be annoying; however, avoiding the environmental damage low-cost carriers have inflicted upon the world will be well worth the additional cost. Additionally, unlike train services, I’ve never enjoyed a no-frills flight, so mundane and boring.
No flying would mean limiting your one/two-week holiday options to Europe. Currently, these no-one offering sailing journeys to the Americas and even if they did, it would take 5-10 days. Quitting flying would mean sacrifice the opportunity of visiting Alaska, Canada, Costa Rica, Columbia, Angel Falls and many more countries and sites.
Flybe and Regional flights
From living in Birmingham, I can appreciate living in my hometown of Plymouth. However, as anyone in the southwest can tell you, living in a forgotten UK region can prove slightly annoying when travelling to far away destinations. Travelling to London’s St Pancras all the Dover straight can take anywhere between 4-7 hours of travelling. Therefore the option of flying from Newquay, Exeter, all even Bristol is highly desirable.