In recent 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, there are still many advantages of air transport over other means of transport. While flying can be the only means of transportation to get to specific destinations because of physical barriers like the ocean, it’s still important to weigh your options based on where you’re going and how long you’re willing to travel for. Here are a few pros and cons to get you started.
Flying is usually the fastest mode of transport for long distances. Planes travel at high speeds, and the time savings become more significant the farther you travel. However, if you're only flying to the next state, you won't shave much time off of the trip when you factor in everything that comes with flying. A longer trip, such as traveling across the country, shrinks from multiple days in the car to just one day of travel on a plane.
Plane crashes are spectacular, tragic events that can result in hundreds of deaths. Fortunately, they are extremely rare, which is another air transport advantage. 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.
Convenience and Comfort
One of the main advantages of air travel versus other modes of transport is its ease. Air travel shifts the work from you to the airline. The airline loads your luggage and gets you from your departure city to your destination. You sit back in your seat instead of worrying about traffic, directions and pit stops. During inclement weather, you don't have to worry about driving a car on slippery roads or through heavy rain. Air travel allows you to relax more than driving because you don't have to constantly stay alert to avoid an accident.
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 airport itself causes headaches for some air travelers, and is usually one of the top disadvantages of air transport. Natural calamities can cause a chain of cancellations and make travelers miss their future plans. During layovers in large airports, travelers often need to get from one gate to another in a different part of the airport in a short amount of time. Not everyone has such easy access to an airport as well; some people may have to drive at least an hour to get to the closest one to them.
Cost and Environmental Impacts
High costs are another con of air travel, but the impact depends largely on how many people are traveling and how far you are traveling. The cost to travel by other means of transport, such as cars or buses, doesn't increase significantly with more people because gas is often the largest expense. Each extra traveler for air flight increases the cost significantly because you're paying for another ticket. For long distances that take multiple days to drive, the cost of flying may not be too much more. The long haul drive would include a large fuel cost, hotel fees and meals on the road. If you're traveling alone, the cost of one airline ticket for the long distance is likely less than the car travel expenses. Even if the flight costs more than driving, the convenience and time savings is worth it to some travelers.
As a general disclaimer, all forms of transport will produce gas emissions. However, if you’re trying to be more eco friendly, it’s worth considering the impacts of air service versus road transport. According to Reader’s Digest, one long haul flight releases 14 percent of your car’s annual carbon emissions. While a quick flight might be the fastest way to get to your destination, the cost and the environmental impacts of it might outweigh the speedy trip for some travelers. Consider taking a transport service or carpooling with friends to reduce your carbon footprint.