LONG AGO, MAN LOOKED UP AT THE BIRDS in the sky and thought, “Someday, I’ll fly.” He invented wings of wax, then wings of wood, then strange bicycles with flapping canvas tarps affixed to flimsy bamboo frames, and he jumped off cliffs and sand dunes, hoping that his invention would be the one to finally take men into the skies. Usually, he died. But if there’s one thing that’s true about mankind, it’s that mankind can’t take a fucking hint, so man eventually, through sheer trial and error, through pure thick-headed persistence, finally took to the air. And he hasn’t looked back since.
It’s time to look back. Planes should be banned.
Hear me out.
I know this isn’t a popular opinion. I know that the power of flight is one of humanity’s biggest, most spectacular victories over its limitations. But planes are terrible. When was the last time you heard of someone enjoying their flight? Oh, you liked your Lufthansa flight? Great, I’ll remember that the next time I want to spend a weekend in Cologne’s post-industrial hellscape. Flying is terrible. Everyone hates it. So, obviously, we should stop flying altogether.
Reason 1: TSA just wants to look at you naked.
We were all willing to submit to TSA in the post-9/11 era because we deemed what they were doing necessary for our safety. But now, it’s really just a routine humiliation. Taking off shoes is demonstrably ridiculous (there was an underwear bomber too, by the way, why doesn’t the same logic apply for that garment?), the removal of the laptop is pretty silly, giving that virtually every device — even watches — are fully functioning computers these days, and no one is happy with the let-us-look-at-your-dick machine.
But even now, fourteen years after 9/11, we just kinda roll with being pat down by sweaty, dead-eyed, security-guard-school rejects. A recently leaked report showed that the TSA is — this is not a joke — 95% ineffective. Considering the Inverse Law of Government Funding (“The more useless a government bureaucracy is, the harder it is to get its funding cut”), there’s no chance the TSA is going away. So we should just abandon flight altogether.
Reason 2: Airlines execs are getting off on your emotional pain.
Airline policies are straight-up psychotic: not only have they intentionally made planes less comfortable so you’ll pay extra in order to sit like a human body should sit, but they’ve put a system in place where every infraction against human dignity can be blamed on a policy and not on the choices of a specific, confrontable employee.
Have you ever been furious during a flight? Have you ever felt that deep, flaccid impotence that comes with knowing that someone deserves to be shouted at over this incompetence, but the only face made publicly available for your frustration is that of a single-mom flight attendant who just wants to get home to her kid without being physically assaulted by a sleep-deprived lunatic?
Only a sadist would arrange a company this way. You’re giving money to people who — I have no evidence for this, but I’m like, 75% sure it’s true — are using secret camera cabin footage of your slow, 16-hour descent into a ball of weeping of frustration for masturbatory purposes. The black box is for crash reconstruction? My ass. That thing is full of found footage, used socks, and fresh tissues.
Reason 3: Planes are super bad for the environment.
For real: the Union of Concerned Scientists compared the different modes of travel and found that, in virtually all cases, the worst way to get from Point A to Point B in terms of carbon emissions was to take First Class. Economy is slightly better (because you’re taking up less space, which allows you to split the emissions of the flight with more people), but it’s still never the best. Given that flying Economy is about the most degrading thing you can be subjected to that won’t be followed by a trip to the witness stand at the Hague, maybe we should just skip it altogether.
Reason 4: There are much, much better ways to travel.
If you exclude time as a criterion by which to measure which mode of transportation is the best, you’ll find that airplanes lose on every account. Comfort? Last place. Customer service? Last place. Access to cheap booze and/or ability to bring your own booze on board? Last place. Scenic views? I mean, not the worst, but it’s kinda like being given a glimpse into heaven from your seat in hell.
Have you ever ridden on a train? It’s delightful. There are dining cars and viewing cars. Fellow passengers are actually friendly to one another because, at no point in their journey, did the train’s employees treat them the same way they’d treat luggage. And you can recline the chair! In a way that won’t ruin the life of the person behind you! Oh, the joy!
Boats: Awesome. Cars: What’s better than a road trip? Zeppelins: OH MY GOD, HOW HAVE WE FORGOTTEN ABOUT ZEPPELIN’S?
If we’d be willing to slow down, everything would be amazing. Because we’d never have to be on planes.
Seriously. Ban Planes.
Sure, planes were progress a century ago, but the nice thing about progress is that you get to leave the terrible shit behind. The time of the plane is over. Get them out of our skies.