In the past several years, air travel has become more hectic and less appealing for some travelers. Tighter security regulations mean longer waits. Rising fuel prices can lead to more expensive tickets. Yet despite the inconveniences, air travel still holds a number of advantages over car, train and bus travel.


For long hauls such as transoceanic flights, air travel is unquestionably the fastest way to get to your destination, but even on shorter trips planes are often quicker. On, author Michael Bluejay notes that on a medium-length trip from New York City to Detroit, a flight will take about 4½ hours (including an hour driving to and from the airport and an hour waiting in the terminal) while a car ride will take 9½ hours, a bus ride almost 15 hours and a train ride about 16½ hours. Buses, cars and trains only begin to become competitive on extremely short trips such as from NYC to Philadelphia.


Plane crashes are spectacular, tragic events that can result in hundreds of deaths. Fortunately, they are extremely rare. According to Chance News, the odds of dying on a 1,000-mile flight is significantly less than that from dying on a 100-mile car ride. Rail, bus and train travel are also more dangerous than flying on a plane.


Although many airline seats are cramped and crowded, airlines are often more comfortable than some of the alternatives. They offer a controlled climate at a comfortable temperature and reclining seats, both of which are absent from many buses. Airplanes also generally give passengers the chance to stretch their legs during the trip and often provide free beverages. First-class and business-class accommodations include large, premium seating, high-quality complimentary meals and other amenities.


The cost of tickets for airplane, bus and train travel can vary dramatically, as can the cost of gasoline which, along with the price of maintenance, determines the cost of car travel. In many cases, however, airplane travel is the cheapest way to get there. According to Michael Bluejay, as of October 2008 a trip from New York City to Detroit cost $86 dollars by plane; this was comparable to slightly cheaper train ($75) and bus tickets ($80) tickets and significantly cheaper than car travel ($115). On the longer New York to Los Angeles trip, the advantages of air travel really shined: airplane tickets were more than $30 dollars less than train tickets, the cheapest alternative.