Confessions of a Pilot: Debunking the Biggest Air Travel Myths
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Patrick Smith is an airline pilot and the host of Askthepilot.com. His book Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel pulls back the curtain (literally) on the air travel industry.
Commercial air travel has long been a breeding ground for myths, urban legends, and plain old misunderstandings. Most of what people think they know about flying is wrong, and certain notions just never seem to die. Below are just a few of the most stubborn fallacies:
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1. Flying is expensive
Actually, when adjusted for inflation, the average cost of an airline ticket has declined about 50 percent over the past three decades. Fares have risen slightly over the past year or so, but they are still far below what they were 30 years ago. And yes, this is after factoring in all of those add-on “unbundling” fees that airlines love and passengers so despise.
This is lost on many Americans, younger people especially, who don’t seem to realize that in years past only a fraction of Americans could afford to fly at all. In my parents’ generation it cost several thousand dollars in today’s money to travel to Europe. Even coast-to-coast trips were something relatively few people could afford. Today the idea of flying as a form of mass transit, with college kids jetting home for a long weekend or to Mexico for spring break, is very new.
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