5. The views.
Landscapes look completely different when you're waaaaay up in the air! You can trace the flow of rivers, gaze from mountaintop to mountaintop, identify city lights at night from a hundred miles away... But even if you're stuck sitting above the wing of the plane with minimal ground vision, you still get breathtaking views of the clouds (when they're in season) and a firsthand view of the beauty of sunbeams hitting those puffy white sky-marshmallows. Yup, sky-marshmallows.
4. Hilarious flight crews.
This is mostly specific to Southwest Airlines, where apparently flight crews are encouraged to show their personality. It's a great change to the stereotype of flying! Pilots making jokes about the destination, ticket agents bantering like it's a comedy club... I even had a flight attendant SING to us as we landed at La Guardia! The whole plane (except the grumpy old man next to me) clapped and sang along, taking the edge off a long day in the air. Keep it up Southwest, we love it. Almost as much as we love your old flight attendant uniforms.
3. Sleeeeeeeeeping the whole way home.
A lot of my travel this year has been for race events, which means my days are 12-20 hours long and packed with dancing, bouncing, yelling, cheering, and just generally being awesome - which is flat out exhausting! While driving to your destination gives you more control over route, departure times, bathroom breaks, and who sits next to you, being behind the wheel means you have to be both awake and alert. That doesn't happen sometimes (see above re: 20 hour event days) and with flying, it's not a problem. Heck, I fell asleep on a red-eye once and was so far gone I didn't wake up until I accidentally rolled onto the floor while the attendants were trying to wake me! Driving home from the airport can still be tricky but at least I get my nap time in while we're in the air!
2. Visiting different airports around the country.
Even if you're not staying in that city, the local airport almost always carries the character of its home city and gives you a taste of what you're missing! Some airports are nicer than others, certainly, but each has at least some sense of charm. Even La Guardia had charm, though I'm not sure I remember what it was, exactly... But others I remember! Nashville was cozy but upscale. Minneapolis/St Paul was posh and pretty. Houston had lots of places to eat. Atlanta was more of a mall than an airport. Every city has a memory, and I'm excited to add more memories with every trip!
1. Stepping off the plane into a NEW PLACE!
And isn't that really the best part of travel in general? I'm fortunate that I've never had to take an airline trip that was for something sad or negative, so every disembarkation is taking me on a new adventure! This year I've gone coast to coast and many points in between, and I'm working on ways to constantly keep adding to my list of places I've been. Even if the destination isn't a flashy vacationer's paradise, there's always something new and interesting at the other end of the flight pattern!
What's your favorite way to travel? Why do you find it so enjoyable? Anyone out there HATE travel? Why?